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    Archive for November, 2011

    Mushroom/Ricotta Cannelloni

    After making a batch of pasta dough and having some left over from making linguini I decided to use a part of it to create this recipe for all to enjoy. I’ve also used my homemade Ricotta Salata and Maitake Mushrooms collected this fall. Not to worry I will also show replacement items.

    You will need:

    For the dough:
    400 g bread flour
    4 Large eggs
    Cold water
    Olive Oil.

    For the Ricotta Salata:
    One gallon whole milk.
    4 TBSP White Vinegar
    Sea Salt.

    For the filling:
    6 oz. button mushrooms
    6 oz fresh Maitake Mushrooms
    One sprig fresh thyme
    Sea Salt/Ground Pepper

    2 cups marinara sauce, either your own home made or purchased. I used my Sunday Gravy recipe.

    Prepare the Ricotta – in a stock pot large enough to hold the ingredients put the milk in and turn the burner on to low (and I do mean low) slowly incorporate the vinegar stirring as it is introduced. Place a double layer of cheese cloth in a colander or strainer and once the curds have all floated to the top of the whey scoop them out and put into the lined sieve. Drain until all of the whey has been removed and it is cool to the touch. At this stage you have fresh ricotta to turn it into salata incorporate a one tablespoon of sea salt and wrap the cheese tightly in the cloth. Place a plate on top and add some weight to further remove any excess whey.

    Prepare the Pasta – You can use either your stand mixer or food processor – Place flour, eggs and a little salt (1/2 tsp) in the machine mix well until all of the flour is absorbed and it pulls away from the sides of the machine, if all of the flour is combined and the dough does not pull from the sides add a little water mixed with olive oil. (Use just enough to get the dough to pull away). Remove dough from bowl, form into a disk, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

    Prepare the filling – Chop mushrooms, combine with the thyme and salt/pepper to taste. Sauté the ingredients in some olive oil until all of the moisture has been removed and they are of a paste consistency.

    Form the cannelloni – Cut enough of the dough to make four, four inch square sheets, roll the dough out to between number 6 and 4 on you pasta maker anything thinner will just make the cannelloni fall apart. Dust sheets lightly with flour an set aside. In a bowl large enough to hold the mushrooms and ricotta add them along with some chopped basil and one large egg. Stir ingredients to combine. Place 1/4 of the mixture at the end of each of the pasta sheets and roll into cylinders.

    Place about 1/4 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of an oven safe pan, carefully place the cannelloni, seam side down on top of the sauce, pour the remaining sauce over the cannelloni making sure to cover all of the pasta, sprinkle some additional Ricotta on top along with parmesan to taste and chiffonade of basil. Cover tightly with aluminum boil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.

    If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making the cheese and pasta simply use store purchased ricotta and drain it well, purchase either no cook lasagne noodles, softened in water then rolled or large shells also softened in water for ease of handling.

    Apple/Cheddar Stuffed Pork Chop

    I’m not one to stock up on foodstuffs for the week, I shop daily, or at least every other day, for items I want to prepare for dinner. I hadn’t had pork in a while and thought that a good thick cut pork chop would suite my desire. I went to my favorite market whose butcher area is fantastic and purchased a couple of thick cut chops. By thick cut I mean at least 1 inch in thickness.

    At the time I was shopping one of their suppliers, Cabot® Cheese Coop had a display of their product. What caught my attention was the sales associate’s comment that their cheese products are lactose free and since I have a friend who recently learned that she was intolerant I thought to include them in my repertoire.

    So I thought, what goes good with pork and cheese, specifically Cheddar, the one I decided to purchase. Apples, of course. I took my groceries home and developed this recipe for all to enjoy. This recipe will feed two and multiplying is straight forward.

    You will need:

    2 Thick Cut Pork Chop – I used a bone in chop however a loin chop will work.
    2/3 cup diced Granny Smith apple – dice smaller than ¼”.
    1/3 cup diced Cabot White Cheddar Cheese – dice same size as apple.
    One tsp fresh Sage.
    One TBSP bread crumb – I used Panko.
    Ground Pepper to taste.

    Combine apple, cheese, pepper and bread crumbs in a bowl. Toss and let stand while you prepare the chop. Using a very sharp knife, I use a good quality boning knife, cut a slit approximately 1 1/2″ long in the center of the thickest part of the chop. Carefully work the blade of the knife into the flesh of the chop. Place your free hand on top of the chop so to feel the movement of the blade. Work the knife into the cavity you have created making sure to open enough room leaving at least a 1/4 inch of wall around the entire chop. Carefully stuff the apple/cheese mixture into the cavity pressing it tightly to compact.

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold the chops sear on both sides to get a good brown crust. Place the seared chops in a preheated, 350 degree, oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Remove from oven, place on clean plate, tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. I served mine with home made egg noodles and sweet corn kernels.


    White Bean/Corn Soup

    Sorry folks this isn’t a quick recipe, it’s going to take a day or two but the results will be great. The good thing about this one is that you actually get 2 for 1 deal. First the beans then the soup. The beans work well as a side dish or main meal and using them to create a this Bean/Corn Soup you can’t go wrong.

    You will need:

    One pound dry white beans (I used pinto).
    Two large bay leaves.
    Four sprigs fresh thyme
    Sea Salt/Fresh Pepper
    Two smoked ham hock/shanks (I used a Hungarian Style Shank).
    Two medium sized sweet onions – 1/4 inch dice.
    Two medium sized red bell pepper – 1/8 inch dice.
    One small habanero pepper, seeds removed – finely diced.
    One large package frozen corn kernels
    Low sodium chicken broth

    Start with the beans, in a container large enough to hold the entire package and enough water to cover soak beans for 12 hours or overnight.

    Once soaked drain them and place in a large stock pot with enough water to cover by at least two inches. Add all the remaining ingredients except the corn kernels and chicken stock. Bring pot to a slow boil and turn heat down to a low setting. It will take a while to cook but this slow method will help to thicken the final product without the need for a roux or other thickener.

    The beans should be done when the ham hock/shank meat separates from the bone. You can also tell by taking a few out of the pot and taste, they should be just at the al denté stage. At this point you have a great pot of beans. You can portion out several meals using some for a side and some for the soup.

    Now the soup part. Depending on how many servings you want to make remove a sufficient quantity of the beans and place in another stock pot. Add the packaged corn kernels and chicken stock. How much chicken stock to use is a personal choice. The more stock you use will produce a thinner soup. Some recipes might suggest that you blend a portion of the soup however I find that this is an unnecessary step.


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