Sunday, 18 March 2012

Spinach Cannelloni!

How was your St. Paddy's day?
Me? I was falling asleep by 9pm. I just don't party like I used to.
And I didn't cook anything especially Irish this year, although I am Irish in heritage.
But I did cook up something green. Or, green on the inside.
Spinach Cannelloni! The real kind, with crepes.
It is labour intensive, but you can break down the parts and make some earlier.
And of course if you have a television and stereo in your kitchen and a well-stocked bar, the hours will just fly by.
So go on, eat your greens! You'll be happy you did.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
adapted from Tessa Kiros, Apples for Jam
for I♥CC Go Green!

Crepes - makes 12
3 large eggs
1½ cups AP flour
Pinch salt
3½ Tbsp melted butter
1 cup whole milk

Whiz together in a blender or a in a pitcher with a blending stick. Let rest 30 minutes to an hour. Thin with a bit of milk if necessary to get crepe batter consistency.
Heat a nonstick crepe pan to medium and cook up half a ladle at a time, swirling to get a thin, round crepe. It only takes a minute on each side to get to golden. Layer cooked crepes with wax paper between, and cover until needed. This will keep them soft and from sticking to each other.

For a side dish I just roasted some asparagus with cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, S&P and some Parm. 15 minutes at 400°F.
Tomato Sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 14-oz can of Italian stewed tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
½ cup red wine
Kosher salt and black pepper

Warm the garlic in the oil until you can smell it, then add in the tomatoes and basil. Cook until hot, then add in the wine. Season to taste with S&P, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Blend until smooth.

1 10-oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out
1 cup chopped parsley
2 cups fresh ricotta (I used yogurt cheese)
1 large egg
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh grated nutmeg, kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Combine in a bowl, season and set aside.

Bechamel Sauce
4½ Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
2¼ cups whole milk, warmed
Fresh grated nutmeg, kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Heat butter in a medium pan on medium heat. Add in the flour and whisk gently but constantly for a couple of minutes until the flour is cooked through. Add in the milk a little at a time, whisking til smooth. When all the milk is in and you have a smooth sauce, continue to cook for another few minutes and season to taste. 

Assembly & Bake
Preheat your oven to 350°F
Butter a lasagne dish
Spread a little of the bechamel on the bottom of the dish.
Take a crepe, put 1/12th of the filling in it and roll up. Place in the pan, seam side down. Repeat with the rest to make 2 rows of 6 crepes.
Cover with the bechamel sauce, then the tomato sauce.
Sprinkle on ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until bubbly.
Let sit 10 minutes before serving. 

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