Tag Archives: parmesan

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

19 Sep

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

A Saturday night in.  What better way to recover from the week than with some home cooking and a trivial pursuit marathon.  So here is what I created and served it alongside steamed green beans, served with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

And as if there wasn’t enough cheese in this meal anyway, we found an extensive cheese plate and a beautiful red wine to be a delightful accompaniment to the trivial pursuit and a perfect way to round off the meal.  Although in the interests of everyone’s cholesterol levels, the cheese plate isn’t a necessary finale to this meal.

The ingredients:

For the tomato sauce

1 medium onion

1 clove garlic

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

300g cherry tomatoes

1tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper

For the pancakes

110g plain flour, I used doves farm gluten free plain white flour

2 eggs

275ml milk

50g butter

For the filling

250g ricotta cheese

50g parmesan cheese

250g fresh spinach

Handful of fresh parsley

50g Pine nuts (save some for sprinkling over the cannelloni when you serve)

Pinch of ground nutmeg

To finish

50-100g Parmesan cheese

Pine nuts

The recipe:

  1. Dice the onion and crush the garlic.  Sauté with a splash of oil (~1tsp) on a medium/low heat with the chilli flakes until the onion has softened and is translucent.
  2. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and add to the onion with the tomato puree and about 150ml cold water and simmer for 20-30 mins, adding a little more water if it dries out.  Season to taste.
  3. Roughly chop the spinach and parsley and add to the ricotta in a mixing bowl, along with the nutmeg.  Grate in the Parmesan cheese Grate and season to taste.
  4. Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan (don’t use any oil for this, there is enough oil in the pine nuts), but take care not to burn them.  Add to the spinach and ricotta mix, saving a few that you can use to sprinkle over the cannelloni when you serve up.
  5. For the pancakes: I could tell you how I did it, but Delia pretty much has it covered, so just follow her recipe (but with gluten free flour) and instructions (leaving out the lemon and sugar topping) here.
  6. To compile the cannelloni, take a pancake, spoon the spinach and ricotta mix down the middle and roll up.  Lay the cannelloni rolls in an oven proof dish.  I made my rolls quite fat like this
  7. Pour the tomato sauce over the pancake rolls (cannelloni), grate parmesan over the top (top tip, don’t hold back on the parmesan!  But then again, I am a cheese fiend)
  8. Pop the dish under the grill for ~5 mins, or until the parmesan is golden and bubbling.
  9. Serve with greens and a sprinkling of pine nuts.

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Broad bean and leek risotto

9 Sep

Broad bean and leek risotto

For some reason, risotto is known as the “death dish” in Masterchef as it is so tough to “master”.  Now I don’t profess to be a “master chef”, but I do think my risotto is pretty tasty (even though I do say so myself), and no matter how much of it I make, it always disappears as people go back for seconds and even thirds.

I think there are a couple of points to take note of when making a risotto and these are:

  1. Never add all the stock at once.  Add in bit by bit and wait until it has been absorbed by the rice before adding more.  This way you won’t end up overcooking the rice and left with a soggy pan of rice.
  2. Don’t let the risotto run dry, make sure that there is always just enough liquid in the rice to keep a nice creamy texture and not thick and stodgy
  3. Use fresh parmesan and lots of it.  Ready grated parmesan just doesn’t give the right taste and texture.

The ingredients (Serves 3-4 people):

100g of butter/buttery margarine equivalent

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium white onion (diced)

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

2  leeks (sliced into circles)

125ml white wine (a dry wine is best)

~2 pints gluten free vegetable stock (you probably won’t need all of this)

300g Arborio rice

~200g fresh or frozen broad beans (shelled)

Juice of ½ lemon

100g Parmigiano Reggiano (or other hard cheese similar to parmesan)

Salt and pepper

The recipe:

  1. If you are using fresh broad beans, make sure that you remove the beans from the pod, but also to take the beans out of their little shells.  Pod the beans by popping the beans into boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain, rinse in cold water, make a slit down each pod and using your fingers, push the beans out.  Then remove the thin skin that covers each bean using your fingernail to slit the skin and the bean will pop out!
  2. Melt about 30g of the butter in a pan with the oil and when hot, add the diced onion and crushed garlic and sauté on a low heat until the onion is translucent and soft.  Keep moving the onion around the pan to make sure it doesn’t brown.
  3. Add the sliced leek and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes
  4. Add the rice to the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure the rice kernels are coated with the oil/butter
  5.  Add the white wine to the rice and let it gently simmer until the liquid has been absorbed
  6. Add about 100ml of the vegetable stock to the rice, and again, let it gently simmer, stirring occasionally
  7. Once the liquid has been mostly absorbed by the rice, add in another ~100ml of the stock.  Continue until the rice is cooked (soft but with a bit of a bite), but make sure that stock has been absorbed before you add the next splash of stock.  NEVER ADD ALL THE STOCK IN ONE HIT!!!  If you find you need more liquid, add boiling water in the same fashion until the rice is cooked.
  8. Just before the rice is cooked, add in the broad beans as these only need a couple of minutes to cook and the heat from the rice will do this nicely.
  9. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon juice, a knob of butter and about 50g of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.  Stir in and season to taste.  You probably won’t need much salt because of the stock, butter and cheese, but freshly ground black pepper will be a beautiful addition to the dish.
  10. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano