Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ricotta and Chard Cannelloni with Walnuts

Homemade ricotta and Swiss chard cannelloni with smoked Gouda and Walnuts

This recipe is definitely a labor of love and if you have some time it’s worth it to prepare every step from scratch.
Ricotta Cheese:

1 Gallon of Milk – Preferably Whole Milk
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vinegar
2 tsp. lemon juice

First make the ricotta cheese; take a gallon of milk, preferably whole milk but I used what were on hand which three quarters of a gallon of nonfat milk and a half a pint of heavy cream. I mix them together in a heavy saucepan with a half a teaspoon of salt. Stir frequently so the milk does not burn to the bottom of the pan and when it is a full rolling boil add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar. Turn the heat down to a medium low and simmer Intel the milk coagulates and turns into curds (2 to 3 minutes)

Take a big bowl with a strainer laid over the top covered in cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel and slowly pour the hot milk and curds into the cloth lined strainer and tell all of the curds and whey have passed through. Let this sit while you make the other ingredients. The whey will seep through to the bottom bowl leaving about a cup and a half to 2 cups of fresh ricotta cheese.

Make the Pasta:
2 Cups Flour
2-3 Eggs
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. ice water (maybe)

Combine 2 cups of all-purpose or Italian (00) flour in a food processor with two large or three small eggs, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of good olive oil. Mix to combine and if the mixture is a little dry add a little bit of ice water and tell a dough forms and if it is too wet add a little more flour. Once dough has formed folded out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes and tell a smooth dough ball has formed. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Make the Filling:
½ chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. ground oregano
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
2 Cups chopped Rainbow Chard
½ Cup shredded smoked cheese
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese

In a heavy skillet heat 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil until shimmering and add one half of a large onion chopped. Sauté for two minutes until translucent and add three minced garlic cloves.  Once the garlic is fragrant add 1 teaspoon of ground sage, 1 teaspoon of ground oregano, a small batch of cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper. Sauté for 30 seconds and then add 2 cups of chopped rainbow chard. Sauté until the chard is just tender. Take off the heat and set aside.

By now, the ricotta cheese has well-drained and most of the cheese will be solidified and you should be able to pick up the cloth and pour the cheese into the skillet with the vegetables. Add a half a cup of shredded smoked Gouda cheese or smoked Gruyere cheese and a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix to combine and set aside.

Take the pasta dough ball and cut into for manageable pieces. Flatten with your hands and press through a pasta roller, either mechanical or hand roller. This should be at a level 4 or slightly on the thinner side. Lay out onto a lightly floured work surface and out cut 6 inch sections on the sheet of pasta. Place a third of a cup of filling in the center of each pasta sheet using your fingers to form a line of filling. Starting at one in carefully roll into a cannelloni shape and place into an oiled baking dish. Finish with the remaining pasta sheets and selling and tell the baking dish is full.

Make the Sauce:
3 tsp. butter
3 tsp. flour
Pinch of Nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
3 Cups milk
2 ½ cups of Shredded Gruyere or Gouda Cheese

To make the cheese sauce, take 3 tablespoons of butter in a small stove top pan and when melted, add 3 tablespoons of flour. Using whisk to combine and cook for one minute. Pour in 3 cups of milk and whisk to combine. Cook and tell the mixture is slightly thickened and add a good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Once the mixture is thick add in 2 cups of the shredded smoked cheese. Stir until melted and pour over cannelloni’s. Top with remaining half a cup of cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Once baked, let it rest 5 minutes and then serve with a good helping of chopped walnuts sprinkled on every serving. image: By Alpha from Melbourne, Australia [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a great dish even the next day!

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