Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cannelloni Ricotta with Tomato Sauce

This is one of my favourite meals to eat.  The kids love it and you will find it is a great Summer time dinner that you will want to make again.  It does take a little preparation time but it is so worth it. Each time I make it, I do it a little differently, maybe adding a few pine nuts into the cheese mix one time or using cannelloni tubes instead of the lasagna sheets.  Just follow the instructions below to find out what works best for you.  Don't forget to improvise along the way, that's how most of my cooking gets done.  Enjoy!!

Cannelloni Ricotta with Tomato Sauce

                                        Tomato sauce ingredients

                                        1 red onion finely diced
                                        1 800g tin of chopped tomatoes
                                        3 garlic cloves
                                        1 teaspoon sugar

                                        Cannelloni ingredients

                                        5 large silver beet leaves (stalks cut off) cut finely
                                        lasagna sheets (quick cooking ones)
                                        500g low fat ricotta cheese
                                        1/4 cup grated parmesan
                                        3 garlic cloves crushed
                                        fresh basil chopped
                                        1 egg yolk
                                        1/4 grated parmesan for topping
                                        1 cup grated colby or cheddar cheese for topping

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.  Steam chopped silver beet until wilted and soft, but still bright green, put aside to cool.

Gently cook onion in a pan in a little olive oil until soft, add tinned tomatoes and garlic, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, you can also add some chopped basil to the tomato sauce as well as adding basil to the cheese mixture.  Add salt, pepper and a teaspoon of sugar, mix and take off stove.  Using a hand blender purée the tomato mixture to remove all lumps, then put aside.

In a bowl mix together ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, cooled silver beet, chopped basil, egg yolk and salt.

Next you need to pre-soften the lasagna sheets in a large dish with very hot water big enough to hold them.  This doesn't take very long, about 5 minutes, or alternatively you can use cannelloni tubes.  I use Barilla la collezione lasagna sheets as they soften and cook quickly and you don't have to worry about crunching into hard uncooked pasta.  Don't leave them soaking too long as they tend to stick together.

Cover the base of your large baking dish with some of the prepared tomato sauce, reserve some for covering the cannelloni.  When lasagna sheets are ready lay one out at a time, put some of the cheese and spinach mix on the end of the sheet and roll it up into the cannelloni, place in the baking dish.

If you're using cannelloni tubes, put your cheese mix into a zip lock bag, snip off the bottom corner of the bag and squeeze into the tubes.

Cover the cannelloni with the rest of the tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese and parmesan for the topping.

Cook for 30-40 mins in a hot oven, 200°C/400°F until golden brown.

Serve your Cannelloni ricotta with a salad and you will find it to be a lovely light but very tasty meal, perfect for those hot Summer nights.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

I have been making this chocolate fudge recipe all of my married life, about 15 years so far.  It is my special Christmas fudge that I make once a year, however I seem to be making a couple of batches each year now, especially for those church Relief Society Christmas dinners and wrapped up as gifts for friends around this giving season.  It is so simple and easy to make, it is also very sweet so don't be tempted to eat it all, wrap some up and enjoy sharing the rich chocolatey goodness with someone special.

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

                                        250g dark chocolate melts
                                        250g dark cooking chocolate
                                        395g tin of condensed milk
                                        60g butter
                                        1 1/2 cups pistachios 

Heat the shelled pistachios in a hot pan on the stove until they are lightly browned, keep shaking the pan to cook evenly, do not burn.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. You can use any kind of dark cooking chocolate, I just mix it up a little with different types, or you can just use 500g of the same dark cooking chocolate or dark chocolate melts.

Then add the condensed milk and keep  stirring gently until all of the lumps of chocolate have dissolved.

After adding the condensed milk the fudge mixture thickens and becomes glossy, when all of the chocolate lumps have dissolved you can add the pistachios and mix in.  The more pistachio's the better, I think.

Pour the mixture into a lined rectangular tin, cover with plastic and refrigerate for a few hours.

When the fudge has set, remove from the tin and cut into small cubes.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  This fudge looks fantastic wrapped up in clear cellophane and tied with a ribbon for an easy Christmas gift.