This creamy, irresistible dish, is packed full of rich flavours and textures. The butternut squash adds slight sweetness to this savoury winter concoction. Once the cream starts bubbling around the molten cheese, flecks of sage and walnuts studding the top of the pasta, you won’t be able to resist sinking your spoon deep down and taking a big oozing, gooey bite. Buon apetito!
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and largely cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and largely cut into rounds
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ricotta
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup butter
1 box spinach cannelloni shells
Sage Bacon Cream Sauce
6 strips bacon, chopped
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 yellow onion, minced
4 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 cups 35% cooking cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground mustard
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 cup parmesan, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, grease a large baking sheet and baking dish.
Roast carrots and butternut squash together, tossed in a drizzle of olive oil, for 20 mins, or until very tender. Drain and pour into the bowl of a food processor.
Heat 1/4 cup of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté onions until golden brown and pour into squash mixture with butter. Pulse squash, carrot and onion mix with the egg until smooth.
Pulse in ricotta and parmesan until well mixed, season with salt and pepper.
Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water with a few drops of oil. Blanch the cannelloni shells until just softened. Drain and reserve in a big bowl of cold water to prevent sticking.
With the help of a plastic bag, corner cut off, fill the shells with the squash mixture and line up in the prepared baking dish.
Brown bacon bits in a large saucepan, when browned, remove bacon from pan reserving grease. Melt butter into grease, sweat onion until translucent. While stirring continuously, dump flour into pan and cook into butter until flour turns golden brown. Using a whisk, over medium to low heat, add white wine and chicken stock and sage. Whisk continuously to remove any lumps. Cook sauce until thickened, about 7 minutes. Whisk in heavy cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and ground mustard. Let sauce reduce over low heat for another 5 minutes.
Off the heat, stir in reserved bacon bits.
Pour sauce over prepared cannelloni evenly. Sprinkle with parmesan and walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 mins or until sauce is bubbling and top is golden brown.