Only the Cannelonely!
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Only The Lonely: The Roy Orbison Story, a hit West End juke-box musical of the 1990s, traces the career of one of the sixties’ biggest rock stars, “The Big O” himself, and features 32 hit songs by Orbison and some of his contemporaries. It was nominated for Best Musical in the 1995 Olivier Awards (losing out to Once on This Island) and a touring production is remains a regular feature in UK provincial theatres.
Only The Lonely is also featured in the musical Return to the Forbidden Planet!
Only The Cannelonely was too good a pun to pass up on, so thank goodness it has featured in a stage production and we can use it! This is a tweak on an Italian classic, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, with the twist being that only a single lonely cannelloni can be served and so needs to be super-sized!
First, make a tomato sauce by simmering some passata or tinned tomatoes with a little sugar and garlic for about a quarter of an hour. While the sauce is cooking, wilt a packet of spinach (or cook some frozen spinach), cool rapidly in a bowl of ice water, drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Chop the spinach and mix with a tub or ricotta, grated Parmesan and season well with nutmeg, salt and pepper (I like it quite nutmeggy, but adjust to your tastes).
Make a bechamel sauce (or a cheese sauce if you prefer) by melting butter in a non-stick saucepan. Add flour and stir well, cooking for a couple of minutes. Gradually add in some milk, stirring well until the sauce has thickened and just starting to gently bubble around the edges. Add the grated cheddar (if using) and stir until melted, adding any additional seasoning. Take off the heat.
N.B. No-one will judge you if you buy ready-made tomato and bechamel sauces, least of all Roy Orbison.
Take a sheet of fresh lasagne (not the dried kind) and then, about an inch in from the edge of the sheet, lay out half the filling in a sausage shape along the length of the rectangle (most – if not all – recipes will tell you to make shorter cannelloni using the width of the sheet). Carefully roll up the cannelloni. Your pasta sheet will, most likely, be wider than you need and so, once your filling in encased in pasta, trim off the excess leaving no more than 1 cm in overlap.
Pour some of the tomato sauce into a baking dish (you will undoubtedly have some left over which can either be served alongside the cannelloni or frozen for future use). Add your two giant cannelloni to the dish and cover with the bechamel sauce, making sure that all of the pasta is covered by one of the sauces. Sprinkle on some grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes until brown and bubbling. (Adjust your times depending on the cooking instructions on your packet of lasagne sheets). Serve one cannelonely per person – it’s more than enough!