Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Cannelloni are neat rolled cylinders of pasta filled with anything from vegetables and meat to cheese and seafood. Baked under a blanket of sauce, they make a prized first or second course. For this version, dried porcini and button mushrooms are combined with cheese and prosciutto and topped with a white sauce. This whole dish takes about two hours to make, although you can make the filling and sauce a day ahead. If so, the sauce will need to be thinned with additional milk, and warmed over low heat.
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup cold water
1 12-ounce package fresh button mushrooms
3 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese, well drained
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
5 ounces Emmentaler cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
7 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
Approximately 1 1/2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To make the filling, place the porcini in a bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and dice the porcini; reserve the liquid for another use.
Clean the button mushrooms with damp paper towels, then thinly slice them.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil, add the button mushrooms and garlic, and sauté the mixture for about 4 minutes. Add the porcini and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes more. Add salt and pepper, mix well, then transfer to a bowl.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta and 1/4 cup Asiago cheese and the nutmeg. Add the mushroom mixture and blend well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the Emmentaler slices and prosciutto in half. You should have 12 slices of each. Cover and set aside.
To make the sauce, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan, over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk the mixture for 1 minute or until a smooth paste is formed.
Lower the heat, and gradually add the milk, continually whisking until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the nutmeg, and stir to blend. Keep the sauce covered and warm. (If you make the sauce a day ahead, cover and refrigerate.
When ready to put the cannelloni together, reheat the sauce and thin it with a little milk.)
If making the dough by hand, mix 1 1/4 cups of the flour and the salt on a work surface. Make a well in the
center of the flour, add the eggs and olive oil, and mix with a fork or your fingers until a ball of dough is formed. Use additional flour as needed. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
If using a food processor, pulse the flour and salt together, then add the eggs and oil through the feed tube. Remove the dough and knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic.
On a floured surface, cut the dough into 2 pieces. Use a pasta machine set to the thinnest setting or roll by hand into two 36- X 5-inch sheets. Cut each sheet into six 6- X 5-inch rectangles and place them on a clean towel.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to the boil. Add 6 rectangles at a time and boil 1 minute. Scoop from the water and place rectangles in a baking pan full of ice water. When cool enough to handle, dry the rectangles on clean towels.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a 14- X 9-inch or larger baking pan with butter. Set aside.
To fill the cannelloni, place a piece of Emmentaler cheese on each rectangle. Top with a piece of prosciutto and about 3 tablespoons of the filling, carefully spreading it evenly. Roll up the rectangles from the short side like a jelly roll.
Place the cannelloni in a single layer in the baking pan. Reheat the sauce, thinning it with a little milk if necessary, and spread it over the top. Dice the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and scatter it over the top. Sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup Asiago cheese and grate the remaining nutmeg over the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through, then run under the broiler for about 2 minutes to brown the top. Serve immediately.
Note: Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese can be substituted for the Asiago.