Sunday, December 13, 2009

Emeril's Spinach Stuffed Cannelloni with a Sundried Tomato Sauce

Yesterday afternoon I had the chance to try Local Yogurt’s eggnog flavor. I loved that it was served with freshly grated nutmeg over the top, just like we serve our own homemade eggnog. I topped mine with ginger snaps and pecans – so good!! I love this place and this was definitely one of my top flavors. I also picked up a Jumbo to-go container of Pomegranate to share with our friends during the UK basketball game.

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Later that evening we decided to keep supper very low key and bake a frozen pizza. My secret to frozen pizza is to use Penzey’s Pizza Seasoning, I LOVE this stuff. It’s a hand-mixed blend of: salt, fennel seed, oregano, sugar, garlic, black pepper, sweet California basil, white onion, crushed red pepper and cayenne red pepper powder.

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We each had a glass of wine leftover from dinner at Heron’s. We only drank half of the bottle while dinning, so they re-corked it for us to take back home.

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Then Andy decided to open a bottle we picked up yesterday from Wine Authorities too, one of our favorites.

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Now onto tonight’s dinner which Andy seemed to love, he went back for a huge second helping. Though I agree, it was great, I found myself quietly wishing it had some spicy sausage in it.

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  • 1 package (8 ounces) whole-wheat manicotti or cannelloni, or fresh pasta sheets
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium (8 ounce) onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 celery stalks (8 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1 carrot (7 ounces), finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (do not use the ones that are packed in oil, follow package instructions to rehydrate the tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 24 ounces) low fat ricotta cheese
  • 5 ounces of spinach, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh soft herbs of choice, such as tarragon, parsley, and basil
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan

For the Pasta: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Stir well to prevent the pasta from sticking together and cook until just al dente, usually 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer partially cooked pasta to a large bowl of ice water. Once cooled, transfer to damp kitchen towels and cover until ready to assemble the cannelloni.

For the Sauce: In a 4 quart saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion and shallots until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 4 cloves of the minced garlic and cook for 20 seconds longer. Add red wine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the flavors concentrate slightly. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil and then immediately turn down to a simmer and cook the sauce until the tomatoes break down and the sauce starts to thicken, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

When the sauce is finished, remove from the heat and carefully blend with a hand-held mixer. (Alternatively, sauce may be pureed in a blender, in batches, after it has cooled slightly. Take care in pureeing hot liquids; cover the blender tightly with a kitchen towel to prevent lid from coming up while pureeing.) Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For The Cannelloni Filling: Place the ricotta in a medium mixing bowl. Add the spinach, the lemon zest, fresh herbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the remaining black pepper. Mix well to combine.

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Fill a pastry bag with the ricotta mixture if using cannelloni, otherwise use a spoon to fill the pasta sheets.

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To Assemble: Lightly spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish to cover. Spoon the ricotta filling onto each pasta sheet and roll up. Arrange in a single layer onto the casserole dish. Spread the remaining sauce over the cannelloni, making sure the pasta is well coated. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and salt and transfer to the oven and cook until it is heated through, bubbly and golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Green

Pre-dinner we each enjoyed a glass of celebratory champagne as a finale to Andy’s 30th birthday weekend (also from Wine Authorities).

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The evening was topped off with a little pumpkin frozen yogurt and a gingerbread cookie…while watching White Christmas.

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1 comment:

Danko Family said...

OMG...that cannelloni looks delicious!!!!