Pumpkin cannelloni

Bill Granger showcases autumns top squash in a creamy pasta dish spiked with thyme and chilli
By Bill Granger
Pumpkin cannelloni
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh lasagne sheets, halved to make two long strips
  • butter, for greasing
  • olive oil, for drizzing
  • green salad, to serve

For the filling

  • 1.25 kg peeled, deseeded pumpkin
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large knobs butter
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 240 g ricotta cheese

For the cheese sauce

  • 40 g butter
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 750 ml milk
  • 35 g freshly grated parmesan

Tips and Suggestions

You can make this dish well in advance of serving. Cover and freeze the assembled cannelloni without baking. To cook from frozen, place in a preheated oven at 170C/150C fan/Gas 3 for about 45 minutes or until golden and heated through.

If you have any leftover pumpkin, use it to make spiced pumpkin pasties.

Method

1. For the filling: preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the pumpkin into 3cm cubes and scatter on a large baking tray with the onion. Drizzle over the olive oil, add the butter and sprinkle with thyme, dried chilli, some sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown, giving an occasional stir.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Place them in a large bowl and mash with a fork, retaining some texture.

3. For the cheese sauce: while the pumpkin is baking, heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until bubbling. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, add two thirds of the parmesan and whisk until combined. Season to taste with salt.

4. Lightly butter a baking dish or foil dish that will hold 12 cannelloni snugly in a single layer. Dip the lasagna sheets into cold water, to moisten slightly, then spoon a large tablespoons of the pumpkin filling into the centre of each sheet. Add a heaped teaspoon of ricotta and roll the sheets, starting from the narrow end of the pasta to make a fat tube. Spread a third of the cheese sauce into the prepared dish and place the cannelloni on top. Pour the remaining sauce over the top. Scatter with the rest of the grated parmesan cheese and drizzle with a little olive oil.

5. Set the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4 and bake the cannelloni for 35-40 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with a green salad.

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