Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Amalfi-style Cannelloni à la Crespelle



I am by no means a master of Italian cuisine. I rather think that any genuine Italian foodie would scream in pain seeing how I mess around with their high quality products. Non-Italians do, however, tend to like my brand of fusion cooking. As the evening I prepared my culinary prelude for two happy ladies on their way to Cinque Terre.

In a program on BBC Food, the British TV-chef Sophie Grigson took two guys to the Amalfi coast, and helped them to recreate that Italian feeling in a party for their friends back in their own home.

Sophie Grigson prepared crespelle, thin pancakes filled with Italian cheese, and Parma ham baked in a rich tomato sauce.

The whole idea seemed so intriguing to me, that I just had to try it myself, back then. As the busy man I am, I bought my pancakes, and used the same ingredients as Sophie Grigson to create the most mouth-wateringly delicacies I have eaten in a long time. I served them, and other appetizers at a National Day reception in my flat.

As my friends Laila and Gerd Ester came to stay the night, my first idea was an encore. But did the store have ready made pancakes (without sugar)?

Nope!

My idea was to use cannelloni tubes as a substitute. It worked great, hence this recipe for Amalfi-style Cannelloni à la Crespelle.

Amalfi-style Cannelloni à la Crespelle (Serves at least two)

Filling

1 jar of ricotta (300 grams / 11 oz), stirred
1 mozzarella di bufala (100 grams / 3,5 oz), mashed
100 grams / 3,5 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
100 grams / 3,5 oz Parma ham, thinly sliced, then chopped in very thin morsels
Salt
Pepper

1 package Cannelloni tubes

Sauce
5 anchovies fillets
3 cloves garlic
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 can Italian pomodorini (small cherry tomatoes)
Mediterranean herbs, dried
Salt, pepper and sugar to balance taste.

Topping

Finely grated parmesan cheese
Mozzarella di bufala, finely sliced

And here is what you do!

Mix ricotta, mashed mozzarella, grated Parmesan and Parma ham thoroughly. Add salt and pepper. Allow to rest in refrigerator.

Add olive oil in a skillet. Add anchovies and garlic. Allow the fillets to dissolve and garlic to get lightly brown. Add pomodorini, herbs, salt, pepper and sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Simmer for 5-10 minutes over low heat. Allow sauce to cool.

Take out cheese mix. Squeeze mix into the cannelloni tubes and place in an oiled, square, oven proof dish. Pour over tomato sauce. Sprinkle sliced mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake in moderately hot oven 200C / 400F for 25-30 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve with good bread and a good red wine.

Enjoy!

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