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Silver Chard and Ricotta Cannelloni (with a hint of Garam Masala)

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Silver Chard, my overwinter plants are now coming to an end, I had thought of letting them go to seed, but I need the space for my tomato plants. And besides, I have also noticed leaf miner marks, on my perpetual spinach plant, which has bolted and setting seed. So before the chard plants are attacked, I thought I would harvest and see what recipe I could come up with, as it is a lot of leaf to consume at once! I will freeze what I do not use for this recipe.


My next Chard for this summer, are seeds from The Real Seed Catalogue called ‘Fordhook Giant’, for which seedlings have been hardening off and with the weather warming up, ready to be planted out, over the next week or two. 

So in order to save time, I simply dug up the whole plants and cut of the leaves, afterwards in a very leisurely manner, whilst sipping a cup of tea and watching the birds, mainly crows, pecking at the freshly dug soil.

As for the recipe I hear you ask “An classic Italian dish with an Indian spice!!”  Yes, that is correct, but that is only spice I will be using instead of nutmeg. 

My close relatives would tell you, I do not reach for, and use Garam Masala at all, in any my dishes. But when I do use it, then I make it a point that non of the other spices are added. I believe you should be able to taste all elements of a dish and when Garam Masala is used with all the other spices, then those ‘other’ spices get masked by this warming but dominant spice, making it pointless (in my opinion) even using those other spices.

Using Garam Masala in this dish, complements the thicker chard leaf. Compared to spinach which is slightly delicate, in structure and flavour; making nutmeg a perfect spice to complement spinach.

*I have steamed the chard first and squeezed out excess water.

*Also made tomato sauce base, using onion, a tin can of tomatoes, couple of cloves of crushed garlic, 1tbsp of tomato puree, torn fresh basil and oregano leaves and cooked for approx. 20 minutes or until liquid in the sauce has reduced and sauce has slightly thickened in consistency.

Ingredients:
200g Chard (weight after it has been steamed and wilted)
400g Ricotta cheese
     *  Tomato sauce (see above notes)
  15  (approx) Tubes of Cannelloni
200g Mozzarella 
1tsp  Garam Masala
     *  Salt to taste
     *  Parmesan Reggiano

Method:

  • Roughly Chop the cooled chard and add to a bowl. 
  • Add Cheese, 1 tsp of Garam Masala. Stir altogether and add salt to taste.
  • At this stage you can either spoon the mixture into the tubes or ‘pipe’ the mixture into the tubes (I find piping easier, quicker and less messy).
  • Assemble the tubes in an oven proof dish with the tomato sauce as a base topped with slices of mozzarella and freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180˙C for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool slightly before serving with freshly cut and come again salad leaves.
Enjoy x

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