Sunday, 26 August 2007

Cannelloni Tricolore

NAME: _Cannelloni Tricolore

12 cannelloni tubes
150g finely minced pork
150g fine white fish
100g spinach leaves
100g ricotta cheese
white flour
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1/2 tsp gound fennel seeds
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tbsp tomato paste
150g butter
1 tsp salt
half a medium brown onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 litre milk
2 chicken stock cubes plus two cups water or
2 cups strong chicken stock

Chop the onion really finely, divide into half, divide one half into three. Chop/mince the garlic with the salt, divide into four parts.

Mix tomato paste, the pork mince, one of the sixths of onion, two portions of garlic, half of the fenugreek and fennel, and all the Italian herbs to a paste consistency, use this to fill four of the cannelloni tubes.

Chop the fish, mix with the remaining fennel and fenugreek, one part of garlic, one sixth of onion, a tablespoon of flour, and enough water to form a paste. Fill four cannelloni tubes with this mixture.

Chop the spinach leaves quite finely, mix with the ricotta cheese, the last part of garlic, one sixth of onion, mix together, and use to fill the last four tubes. With that you have the three colours of the flag, so now arrange the tubes in a baking dish two layers deep.

I make a "cheat bechamel" sauce because I don't mess about scalding milk nor with tradition, here's the cheat way:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the 1/2 of chopped onion that somehow ended up laying there on the cutting board looking forlorn, and lightly fry until the onions are transparent. Add about five to seven tablespoons of flour (you will need to make enough bechamel to completely cover the tubes, and it's better to have more flour as you can thin the bechamel easier than thickening it), and stir well. Gradually mix in the milk in a thin stream, making sure lumps are pressed out at this stage, then add the chicken stock or water and two chicken cubes. Stir until it begins to thicken, then keep stirring until it doesn't thicken any more. Adjust the consistency with extra water to a thick creamy consistency.

Pour the bechamel over the cannelloni ensuring it gets in between and under the tubes, and covers them, then cover the baking dish and place in an oven at 170 degrees for an hour.

One tube of each colour, covered with a bit of the bechamel, is a pretty filling serving. Don't serve grated cheese with this, it has fish. Fine chopped parsley makes a nice garnish. You can serve a salad or something - but not necessary, this will happily stand on its own.

Have to admit I prefer the spinach/ricotta and the pork mince cannelloni, but the fish is pretty excellent too. These are all pretty untraditional ways to fill the little suckers too, but then I prefer it that way. Tradition is good, good robust flavour is better.

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