Ricotta Cannelloni with Crispy Maitake Mushrooms & Soy-Brown Butter


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
  • ricotta-cannelloni-with-maitake-4
    • 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
    • salt
    • 8 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • baby arugula
    • blanched peas
  • ricotta-cannelloni-with-maitake-11
    • 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.
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  • http://heycoachj.blogspot.com Coach J

    This looks divine. I may have to toss out tonight’s dinner plans and give it a try. Thanks!

  • http://berriesandthebluesky.blogspot.com Juc

    Looks amazingly beautiful, as your dishes always do!

  • http://www.colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    I’m waiting for the sister recipe to this one, using ten egg whites.


  • http://bunkycooks.com bunkycooks

    Happy 200th post! I always love seeing your creations and the photos to go along with them. This is a great makeover for cannelloni. I have never seen maitake mushrooms here in the ATL (I just googled them to be sure). What would be the closest other mushroom type?

  • zenchef

    Colloquial Cook — Coming up! :)

    Bunkycooks — Thanks! You could use oyster mushrooms instead. Or shiitake mushrooms sauteed until crisp would work too.

  • mark

    congrats. please keep going, I promise to keep reading

  • mayssam

    congrats on your 200th! does this mean there are 200 of your delicious recipes to try? better get started! :)

  • http://forkfingerschopsticks.com/ Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

    gorgeous. again.
    felicidades on 200 posts!

  • http://devourtheworld.blogspot.com jenjenk

    tell the truth…did you measure it out as you cut the cannelloni?? it’s so freaking perfect!!!

    congrats on your 200th post!!

  • http://www.cococooks.blogspot.com Courtney aka glamah

    Congrats and keep providing us more inspiration. Next time I make pasta dough I will attempt this.It looks so light and refreshing.

  • http://www.aglugofoil.com Jan

    Congrats on 200 posts!
    I love the look of this dish – the filling is total yum!

  • http://foodjihad.wordpress.com/ Food Jihadist

    If mushrooms weren’t available is there something else I could substitute.

  • http://www.kitchentravels.com Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    Your creations are so beautiful, yet so approachable, too. Congrats on your 200th! Looking forward to the next 200 posts.

  • http://foodalogue.com Joan Nova

    Congratulations on your blogging success. It’s no surprise with dishes like this. Perfectly exquisite. And how dumb of me not to think of piping the filling instead of messily spooning it as I’ve been doing…4ever!

  • zenchef

    Thank you all for your comments!

    Food Jihadist — Fried shallots or even walnuts would work well.

  • http://notquitenigella.com Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    What fabulously perfect cannelloni! Amazing job! And congratulations on your 200th post! May there be many more 😀

  • Robert Schmidt

    Congrats on the 200th post! Looking forward to many, many more. You’re my favorite blog out there.

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    Zen – Let me join the chorus in wishing you continued success with this terrific blog. It is certainly one of my favorites to visit. I always learn something new, and your recipes always inspire me. Cheers – S

  • http://www.TeenieCakes.com Cristina @TeenieCakes

    Very beautifully presented and perfectly delicious looking! Congrats on such excellent numbers: 200 posts and 6000 comments!!

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    Gorgeous as always. Congratulations on your 200th post, I shall look forward to the next 200. :)

  • Cleo N

    I made these a couple of days ago and they were the most delicious dinner I have ever made. Congrats on your 200th post.

  • http://lipsmackinggoodness.blogspot.com Lori

    You had me at canneloni but now that I see I can use up the egg yolks in my fridge at this very moment- I am so seeing this in my near future. Great recipe! Great idea to go sauceless this time of year. It looks fresh and inviting.

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    This has got to be the neatest cannelloni I have ever seen. So beautiful! And also, have to say, the soy-brown butter is inspired!

  • http://www.mixbakestir.com mixbakestir

    Beautiful! Just may have to take these on this weekend.

  • Claudeoliviermarti

    c’est tjrs avec plaisir que je suis ton blog. petite question technique certainement bête: une fois roulés, tu les mets sur une grille a pâtisserie et fait cuire à la vapeur avec ton bouillon de poulet ? merci d’avance

  • Anonymous

    Salut Claude Olivier! Oui, c’est absolument ce que j’ai fait.

  • http://herbivoracious.com Michael @ Herbivoracious

    That’s just beautiful… easily the nicest thing that turned up when I was searching on tastespotting for maitake inspiration. Glad to know about your blog now!

  • http://www.jamieplunkettfitness.com/kansas-city-personal-trainer/ Kansas City Personal Trainer

    No doubt the recipe is full of taste and also best from health point of view as Butter is the main item used in it . Butter is the great source of protein and Iron which is essential for the fitness and strength of body .