"A beautiful dish and gloriously messy to make," says Gregg Wallace, who lays claim to this recipe in the couple's first cookbook together, Gregg's Italian Family Cookbook.

This veggie dish is perfect for a family feast, when everyone is craving something hearty.


(Serves 4)

12 cannelloni tubes

150g mozzarella cheese, grated

4tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For the sauce:

1tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

700g passata

Small handful of basil leaves

For the filling:

300g spinach

500g ricotta cheese

4tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Start by making the sauce. Put the oil into a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until softened. Pour in the passata, add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, then set aside.

2. To make the filling, put the spinach into a saucepan with a splash of water and place over a medium heat for five minutes, stirring from time to time, until wilted. Drain in a sieve, then transfer to a tea towel and squeeze really well to remove any excess water. Place the spinach on a board and chop very finely.

3. Place the ricotta in a bowl, add the Parmesan, egg, nutmeg and spinach, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, Gas mark 4. Set out an ovenproof baking dish about 23 x 30cm. Add a ladleful of the tomato sauce and spread it out evenly. This will prevent the pasta from sticking.

5. Using a spoon or your fingers, push the filling into the cannelloni tubes, then transfer them to the baking dish.

6. Cover the tubes with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan over the top, then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

7. Remove the foil, turn the oven to its highest setting and bake the dish for a further five to 10 minutes, until the surface is crisp and golden brown. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.