Pumpkin, Nutmeg and Ricotta Cannelloni

I made this for seven people on Sunday night to watch the final episode of series two of Downton Abbey, which has gone a bit downtown and downhill, ho ho. I am still eating it with salad for my packed lunch on Thursday. 

Obviously you need sheets of fresh pasta for this. I actually couldn’t get any on a Sunday night, so had to par-boil lots of dried sheets of pasta which was very time-consuming..but worked fine.

This served 7 people (with enough left for several packed-lunches!)

Cannelloni filling:

Cut up and de-seeded large pumpkin roasted in the oven for ½ hour or till soft.(I roasted the seeds with salt the next day for use in salads)

4 egg yolks

2 standard pack of ricotta

2 heaped teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg

5 shallots finely chopped and sautéed with 2 crushed garlic cloves till soft in olive oil.

How I made it:

Scoop out the roasted pumpkin, put in a big bowl with all other ingredients and lots and lots of salt. Blend up.

Sage-infused Béchamel:

3 pints of whole milk

1/3 pack of unsalted butter

3 heaped tablespoons plain flour

three finely chopped sage leaves

salt and pepper


50g shaved parmesan – but shave a whole block of about 150g – use the rest on top once you’ve assembled the cannelloni.

How I made it:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, add the flour and stir for a minute, taking care it does not burn. Gradually add the milk, stirring vigorously – use a whisk if you need to. Part way through add the sage. When all the milk is added, keep stirring over a medium heat until thickened so it is still runny, but not watery (i.e. the consistency of double cream, rather than single cream). Stir in parmesan shavings. Add salt and pepper and more grated nutmeg until seasoning is correct. 

NB. with a white sauce (béchamel), if it is lumpy you can always whisk out the lumps – unlike when a mixture curdles, this problem is always resolvable! 


This requires about three medium-sized ceramic, glass, terracotta or metal roasting dishes. I used two medium oval-shaped ceramic ones and one metal one. 

Using fresh sheets of pasta, spoon mixture into the middle, roll up and lay into baking dish with the edges of where the rolled-up cannelloni meets underneath it. Repeat until all of the mixture is finished. Pour over the béchamel until covered, sprinkle lots more parmesan over the top. Cook in the oven at 180 celsius for 40 minutes, until the parmesan is bubbling and going brown. 

Eaten with:

I served this with fresh walnuts on top and steamed chard.


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