Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 40–50 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
500 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, finely chopped or minced
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and diced
500 ml (17 fl oz) passata
6 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, chives, sage, marjoram
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
250 g (8 oz) ricotta cheese
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
100 g (3½ oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
75 g (3 oz) sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil), chopped (optional)
250 g (8 oz) cannelloni tubes
2–3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan over a medium-high
heat, add the chicken and fry for 3–4 minutes or until browned, stirring
frequently. Reduce the heat slightly, add the leeks and cook for a further 3–4
minutes or until the leeks are translucent.
Meanwhile, heat the passata in a saucepan and stir in one-third of the chopped
herbs, the fennel seeds and the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then simmer gently for 2–3 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the heat and stir in the ricotta, the remaining chopped
herbs, the lemon rind, nutmeg, paprika, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, if using.
Season to taste. Stand the cannelloni tubes upright and use a narrow spoon to fill them with the ricotta mixture.
Spoon half of the passata over the base of a large, shallow ovenproof dish.
Arrange the filled pasta tubes, side by side over the tomato sauce, so that they all
fit in one closely fitting layer. Pour the remaining passata over the top of the
cannelloni, then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Place in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 35–40 minutes or
until cooked through and bubbling. Serve hot with a crisp green salad.
For chicken & ricotta lasagne, replace the chicken thighs with 250 g (8 oz)
chopped cooked chicken and omit the leeks. Stir the chicken and fennel seeds
into the ricotta mixture as above. Layer lasagne sheets with the chicken mixture
and the passata. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook as above.