Daring Cooks June / Cannelloni Challenge

Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!

Now you might think that this dish is actually manicotti-they get confused a lot! So here is your definition courtesy of wiki as it was the easiest to understand:
Cannelloni (Italian: large reeds) are a cylindrical type of pasta generally served baked with a filling and covered by a sauce. Some types of cannelloni need to be boiled beforehand, for others it is enough to use runnier sauces/filling. If one cannot find ready made cannelloni, rolling lasagne around a filling is an alternative. The stuffing may include ricotta cheese, spinach and various kinds of meat. The sauces typically used are tomato or béchamel sauce.
Cannelloni is often erroneously referred to as manicotti which is actually a filled Italian dinner crepe, as opposed to pre-rolled pasta.[1] While manicotti and cannelloni are sometimes used interchangeably in preparing non-traditional versions of some dishes, in traditional Italian cooking cannelloni are made with pasta and manicotti with a specialized crepe pan, and the two have particular uses. Although both terms are plural nouns in Italian, the English term is often construed as singular, particularly when used as the name of the dish….. And there you have it.

I was so excited to try Manu’s pasta recipe. I adore being able to break out my pasta machine. Her recipe is a little different from the dough recipes I have tried in the past. I was concerned when it did not form a ball in my processor. It looked like pebbles but when pressed together it stayed combined and after a couple kneads and a rest it rolled out into sheets beautifully. Once I did my research, I actually intended to make another two batches. I found a recipe for red pepper quinoa cannelloni which sounded really intriguing. I also found one with mushroom and prosciutto which I was planning on adapting to make a sauce with Wisconsin brick cheese instead of goat. Alas my eyes and passion were bigger then my schedule would allow. I decided to make two from the challenge first ( pesto and ham and cheese) to test the waters and then just couldn’t seem to get to the second two. Rest assured that they will be posted at some point in the future because I have all the ingredients and I can’t seem to get them out of my head!
Here are the two challenge recipes that came out superb. I have made very minor adaptations to the fillings. The rest of the recipe comes to you straight from Manu- here!. I loved them both! Unfortunately I cut them a little to soon after taking them from the oven so they kind of unrolled themselves for the pictures :(. However, they stayed together beautifully for everyone else’s plate! These directions may look time consuming but man the finished product is totally worth the elbow grease! Here we go…

For the EGG PASTA:

Making egg pasta is very easy. You only require eggs and flour (Italian 00 or all-purpose flour) in a proportion of (1 egg per 100 grams of flour).

Ingredients (to make enough cannelloni for 4 persons):
100 grams (2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons) (170 ml) (3½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 large egg

Directions:
1. Put the flour and eggs in a food processor and mix. When the dough looks like crumbs, pour it onto the bench top sprinkled with a little flour. Knead well by hand until you obtain a smooth dough. Make it into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

2. Now you are ready to make your egg pasta. Cut out a piece of egg pasta dough and flatten it into a rectangular shape with your hands. Put a little flour on it and begin passing it though the pasta machine. Turn the dial to the widest setting (#1) and, starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers. Now fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle, then fold the other side over that to form 3 layers. Starting with one of the narrower sides of the folded dough, feed the pasta through the machine, again at the widest setting. Repeat the folding and rolling technique on the widest setting for at least a couple of times.
3. Now you can start rolling it thinner, by turning the dial to the next narrowest setting (# 2). Roll the pasta through the machine without folding the dough between settings. Keep reducing the settings until #7 (it is the second last on my machine – about 1 mm thick). If the sheet of pasta gets too long, you can cut it in half with a knife. To make cannelloni, cut out rectangular pasta sheets (10×15 cm) (4”x6”).
NOTE: you can do this even without the pasta machine… just use a rolling pin to get a very thin sheet of dough and then cut it into rectangles.

BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

Ingredients (enough to make cannelloni for 4 people):
2 cups (500 ml) milk, hot
3½ tablespoons (52½ ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) butter
1/3 cup (80 ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 pinch salt
1 pinch mace (Manu used nutmeg)
Directions:
1. Put the butter in a non-stick pot and let it melt. Add the flour and whisk constantly until well incorporated: this is the “roux”. Let it cook for a minute or two.
2. Now start adding hot milk little by little, while mixing continuously until the milk is well incorporated. Do not add more milk unless it is well incorporated. Keep doing so until all the milk is incorporated.
3. Add salt and mace and cook it on a low flame for 10 minutes or until it thickens.
4. When ready, cover it to prevent a film to appear on the surface.
Note: If you still get a lumpy sauce, do not throw it out. You can still save it and make it smooth by using a hand stick blender.

Ham and Fontina Cannelloni
20120614-234813.jpg
Ingredients (serves 4)
Cannelloni sheets per recipe above (you should have about 8 sheets)
1½ cups (360 ml) (350 gm) (12 oz) ricotta
1 cup (240 ml) (150 gm) (5 oz) ham, minced
2/3 cup (160 ml) (80 gm) (2¾ oz) Fontina (or Fontal) cheese, cubed
1 cup (420 ml) (120 gm) (4 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated, divided
1 cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated
1 large egg
Salt and pepper
Béchamel sauce as per above recipe

Directions:
1. To make the filling, mix the ricotta, diced ham, cubed Fontina cheese, egg, 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano, 3/4 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper together until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Put a large pot with salty water on the fire and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta sheets in it for 1 minute. Do this in batches (I use a shallow but large pot and I cook them in 1 layer, so I am sure they do not stick together). Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them on a clean tea towel to cool down.
3. Now take one sheet of cooked pasta and put 1/8 of the filling along the long side of the rectangle. Roll it over to make a cannellone. Do so for the remaining rectangles of pasta.
4. Take a big enough oven dish to fit all your cannelloni tightly. Spray it with some cooking oil (or melted butter) and pour some béchamel sauce on the bottom. Spread it well, especially in the corners. Put the cannelloni in the oven dish on 1 layer.
5. Cover the cannelloni with the remaining béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup (120 ml) (35 gm/1 oz) of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano.
6. Bake them in a pre-heated moderate oven 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 for 20 minutes, then broil (grill) them at 400°F/200°C for another 5 minutes.
7. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe Source http://www.ricettedellanonna.net/cannelloni-ricotta-prosciutto-cotto-e-fontina/

20120614-234820.jpg</a

CANNELLONI AL PESTO

Ingredients (serves 4)
Cannelloni sheets per recipe above (you should have about 8 sheets)

For pesto (makes about 190 gms/ 1cup)
2 cups (480 ml) (80 gm) (2¾ oz) basil, washed
¼ cup (60 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) parsley, washed
1 small clove garlic
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (25 gm) (¾ oz) Pecorino Romano, finely grated
1 tablespoons (15 ml) (10 gm) (¼ oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
4 to 5 tablespoons (45 to 60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon (12½ ml) (5 gm) pine nuts
Salt to taste

For the filling
2 cups (480 ml) (500 gm) (18 oz) ricotta
¾ cup (180 ml) (150 gm) (5⅓oz) pesto (from the above recipe)
½ cups Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
1 cup Pecorino Romano finely grated
1 pinch mace (Manu used nutmeg)
Salt and pepper to taste

To assemble
2 cups (500 ml) béchamel sauce
¼ cup (60 ml) (40 gm) (1½ oz) of pesto (from the above recipe)
½ cup (120 ml) (35 gm/1 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
Directions:
1. Start by making pesto. Simply blend the garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil, parsley and half the extra virgin olive oil together (I use a hand blender to do this) until obtaining a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl, add the grated cheeses and the remaining extra virgin olive oil and mix well. Adjust salt to taste and cover it with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil to prevent oxidation. Keep it aside.
2. To make the filling, mix the ricotta, ¾ cup (150 gm) of pesto, 1½ cups combined of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano , mace, salt and pepper together until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Mix the béchamel sauce with the remaining pesto.
4. Put a large pot with salty water on the fire and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta sheets in it for 1 minute. Do this in batches (I use a shallow but large pot and I cook them in 1 layer, so I am sure they do not stick together). Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them on a clean tea towel to cool down.
5. Now take one sheet of cooked pasta and put 1/8 of the filling along the long side of the rectangle and roll the pasta over to make a cannellone. Do so for the remaining rectangles of pasta.
6. Take a big enough oven dish to fit all your cannelloni tightly. Spray the oven dish with some cooking oil (or melted butter) and pour some béchamel and pesto sauce on the bottom. Spread it well, especially in the corners. Put the cannelloni in the oven dish on 1 layer.
7. Cover the cannelloni with the béchamel and pesto sauce and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup (120 ml) (35 gm/1 oz) of Parmigiano Reggiano.
8. Bake them in a pre-heated moderate oven 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 for 20 minutes, then broil (grill) them at 400°F/200°C for another 5 minutes.
9. Serve immediately.

20120614-234827.jpg
Overall, what a wonderful Challange to eb a part of! So excited to make this part of my repertoire!
Dream. Bake. Believe.
Love, Steffie

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. makeycakey
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 15:00:17

    This looks fantastic and so luxurious and creamy – great job!

    Reply

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