If you are looking for a wonderful, homely, baked dish – this is a sure hit. The pancakes bring a lighter touch than pasta and all the flavours melt together beautifully in a hearty, classic white-cheese sauce. It is best served with a hot, freshly baked garlic baguette and a simple, fresh garden salad.
First prepare the pancakes. Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter. Heat a 10” non stick pan and melt a small knob of butter over a low heat. Make the pancakes by pouring in ¾ of a large soup ladle into the pan, spreading the batter thinly across the pan . Flip the pancake when you see bubbles appearing on the surface and cook until lightly golden.
Next make the filling. In a large wok, heat 3 tbs of good quality olive oil. Lightly fry the garlic, then toss in the finely chopped leeks. Cook until starting to soften. Next add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until also beginning to soften.
Next add the chopped spinach and stir fry until beginning to wilt. Add the salt and pepper and the ras –el- hanout spice. Combine well. Remove the mixture from the pan and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Once cooled, add the crumbled ricotta and fold in gently. Check for seasoning and set aside.For the white sauce, melt the butter in a wide frying pan. Once bubbling, add the plain flour and quickly whisk and cook this mixture for 2-3 minutes or until it is just beginning to take on a deep golden hue.
Now carefully add the hot milk, whisking vigorously in between until you have added all the milk and water. Add all the seasonings and let this cook for 5-7 minutes until you have a thick sauce. Lastly add the grated cheese and set aside.
Now start to assemble your dish. Lightly butter an ovenproof baking dish. Take one pancake and spread 3 heaped tbs of filling onto one side of the pancake. Carefully roll this up and place in the dish. You should try and achieve at least nine pancakes in the dish.Now pour over the white sauce, covering the pancake rolls entirely.
Time the baking for the dish forty minutes before you want to serve it. Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade . Spread the cheese over the top of the pancake dish and cover with foil. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, uncovering the dish and turning it up to grill for the last 10 minutes.Serve piping hot with a crusty garlic bread and a fresh, simple garden salad.