Cannelloni (also known as Manicotti) are often associated with comfort food and usually served under a layer of bechamel or tomato sauce. While i have nothing against that, i hate to bury this great looking pasta under a ton of sauce, especially this time of the year. Today i decided to give it a little spring makeover and created a dish that plays on contrasting tastes and textures, the refreshing pasta with ricotta and herbs against the deep earthy/nutty flavors of the maitake mushrooms and soy-brown butter with a touch of balsamic. The crisp against the soft and creamy. The force versus the dark side…
Ok, maybe i’m getting a little ahead of myself.
As you can see, cannelloni are quite easy to make from scratch. Just little rectangles of cooked and cooled fresh pasta rolled around a filling. They’re later finished in the oven with a little stock, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Yes you could buy them already made but you would be missing out on all the fun.
As for the maitake mushroom, it’s one of those things that i sometime deliberately overcook. They can be drizzled with olive oil and roasted until crisp around the edges but still bouncy in the middle and they’re quite delicious that way. Forget them in the oven though and they’ll turn into the most satisfying mushroom ‘chips’ ever which i like to use as a garnish for a variety of dishes. Forget them in the oven a little too long and they’ll be perfectly inedible. Been there, done that.
On a totally different note, this is my 200th post and there’s a total of almost 6000 comments so far on this blog. Thank you for your continued support! You are what keeps it going.
Ricotta Cannelloni with Crispy Maitake Mushrooms & Soy-Brown Butter
- serves 6
For the ricotta cannelloni:
- 1 1/4 cup typo 00 flour or all-purpose
- 1/4 cup semolina
- 9 egg yolks
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb fresh ricotta
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the crispy maitake mushrooms, soy-brown butter & garnish:
- 2 medium maitake mushroom
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- baby arugula
- blanched peas
For the ricotta cannelloni:
- Combine the flour and semolina and place in the bowl of a kitchenaid fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg yolks, water and olive oil and mix until the dough forms a mass. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes, until smooth and firm. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, roll out sheets of pasta to the second-lowest setting. Cut out rectangle 5 inches by 4 inches and cook ‘al dente’ in boiling water. Cool the pasta rectangles in cold water and dry with paper towels.
- Mix together the ricotta, chives, thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg yolk and parmesan. Place in a pastry bag equipped with a round tip and pipe logs of ricotta on the lower part of the pasta rectangles (see picture). Roll to form cylinders. Place them a baking tray with the chicken stock and olive oil (you can sprinkle them with more parmesan). Place in a 375′F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
For the crispy maitake mushrooms, soy brown-butter and garnish:
- Clean the maitake mushrooms and cut into chunks. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast in a 375′F oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
- When ready to serve, divide the ricotta cannelloni among 6 plates and pour the cooking liquid over them. Top with bits of crispy maitake mushrooms.
- In a saucepan, cook the butter until golden brown, deglaze with the soy sauce and balsamic. Strain through a very thin strainer and drizzle over the cannelloni. Garnish with fresh blanched peas and baby arugula leaves. Serve immediately.