Recipe of the Month for July, with Ann Murray

June 25 2019
Recipe of the Month for July, with Ann Murray

THE great British summer can certainly be very changeable. Last summer we were sweltering and the farmers and gardeners were crying out for rain. This summer has been a very mixed bag. But whatever the temperature, I’ve got an Italian favourite which is sure to please.

There’s a bit more prep than some of my go-to recipes but, believe me, it’s worth the effort. And of course you can prep this earlier in the day, ready to pop in the oven whilst you enjoy an aperitif. The roasted red peppers look attractive and the combination of those with the chicken and spinach(or leeks if you prefer) make this a great crowd pleaser. Perfect for a summer lunch or supper, come hail or shine.

Cannelloni filled with chicken in a red pepper sauce

Serves four, with four cannelloni each.

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • Boneless chicken breast fillet – 6oz/175g

  • Smoked streaky bacon or pancetta – 2oz/50g roughly chopped

  • Large onion, roughly chopped – 1

  • Cloves of garlic, crushed – 2

  • Fresh spinach – 6oz/175g

  • Parmesan cheese – 2oz/50g

  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

  • Grating of nutmeg for the spinach

  • Small egg- 1, lightly beaten to seal the tubes

 

Ingredients for the Sauce:

  • Red Peppers – 4 deseeded and halved

  • Large onion, finely chopped – 1

  • Cloves of garlic, crushed – 3

  • Tinned tomatoes – 14oz/400g

  • Bay leaf – 1

  • Fresh thyme – 1 tbsp

  • Fresh oregano – 1 tbsp

  • Lasagne sheets – 8

  • Parmesan Cheese – 1oz/25g

  • Taleggio Cheese – 2oz/50g

 

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6, 200C

 

Here’s what you do:

  1. Lightly chop the  spinach and put to one side.

  2. Finely chop the chicken, bacon, garlic and onion.

  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the mixture for about 10 minutes until cooked, but not browned. Turn off the heat.

  4. Stir in the Parmesan and lemon juice season well. Add the spinach, put the lid on the pan to let the spinach wilt. Leave to cool.

  5. For the sauce: Place the red peppers cut side down on a grill rack and grill until the skin begins to char, cool for 10 minutes the peel off the skin. Roughly chop. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the peppers, tomatoes and bay leaf.  Cover and cook gently for about 20 minutes until thickened and the vegetables are soft. Add the herbs at the end of the cooking time.

  6. Meanwhile, cook the lasagne sheets one at a time in boiling salted water for 10 secs until pliable. Drain on a tea towel and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut in half,  vertically (long end and cut down.) Lay out on non-stick paper. If you prefer you can use preformed cannelloni tubes instead. See Cooks Tips

 

  1. Butter a large rectangular baking dish. Place a tablespoon of the filling at the bottom of the long side of each lasagne sheet and roll up tightly. Brush the end of the sheet with a little beaten egg, press down to seal.

  2. Place a thin layer of the sauce in the dish and lay the tubes on top.

  3. Spoon over the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and cubed Taleggio or substitute cheese.

  4. Cook for 25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

  5. Cover with foil and allow to stand for 5 mins to make it easier to serve.

 

Cook’s tip

  • Taleggio cheese isn’t always easy to find. Good substitutes are Brie, Gorgonzola dolce or Fontina.

  • Preformed cannelloni tubes are quicker to use, but I find you can’t easily get as much filling in them as you can if you use the cut, rolled lasagne sheets.