Chicken & Spinach Cannelloni
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and finely chop the onion and put it into a large saucepan on a medium heat with a lug of olive oil. Cook for 8 minutes, or until soft, stirring regularly and adding a splash of water, if needed, then stir in the spinach. Cook with a lid on for another 8 minutes to defrost, then stir in the flour and mustard. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes, or until you have a nice creamy green sauce. Remove from the heat and season to perfection. Finely chop and add the chicken and basil leaves (reserving the stalks), then grate in half the Cheddar and mix well. A nice trick to get the filling into the cannelloni tubes easily is to transfer the mixture to a sandwich bag, snip off the corner and pipe the mixture into the tubes, or you can use a teaspoon, if you prefer. Once filled, place the tubes in one layer in a baking dish (roughly 10 x 12 inches). Wipe the saucepan out and return it to a medium heat.
Peel and finely chop the garlic and tender basil stalks, and put into the pan with a lug of olive oil to get lightly golden. Add the chili flakes, tip in the tomatoes and half a can’s worth of water, bring to a boil for a couple of minutes, then season to perfection and pour over the pasta. Give the dish a loving shake to distribute the sauce evenly, grate over the remaining Cheddar, and bake at the bottom of the oven for around 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve.