Fruits of Little Italy - Part III
The trip was also followed up by some local shopping at Tarry Market, just outside of my neighborhood. [editors note: click here for the post] At the Tarry Market, the eatery, and gourmet market by the BB gang (aka Batali and Bastianch), I knew I could find the goat milk ricotta. They carry some of the eclectic ingredients that I use when cooking.
My recipe also called for bechamel sauce. No shopping required for that. It was freshly made from scratch. I also won't list a recipe for the sauce as there are plenty of them on the Internet that you can follow. Besides, I stuck to the classic one with no tricks of my own. Here is one that you can use: click here.
Since I was in the mood to experiment and knew thought it would not take too much extra time - boy was I wrong - I decided to make two dishes instead of one, each with a different type of pasta and test them out on the fan club.
|uncooked eggplant stick|
These eggplant sticks were baked on a cookie sheet until light brown . Remember to peel the eggplant before creating the sticks. Toss with dry herbs ( I used dry thyme ), S/P, and EVOO bake around 375 F. After baking, I let them cool for a bit before folding into a mixture of seasoned ricotta cheese which I used as the stuffing for the pasta.
Making cannelloni is pretty straightforward once you have created your filling. Blanche the pasta shell, filled them with your favorite filling. Cover with your selected sauce or sauces. In my case, the cannelloni had both a light tomato sauce and layer of bechamel sauce. For the stuffed pennoni recipe, in my attempt to make a slightly more elegant dish, I omitted the tomato sauce. Then bake the pasta until crisp on the edges.
Roasted Eggplant Goat Ricotta Cannelloni and Pennoni
The bechamel sauce was used as a topping for the cannelloni, and was placed on top of a layer of tomato sauce. Stuffing the cannelloni and pennoni was a bit of a challenge and I had to devise a way to do it. I ended up using a Chinese chop stick to push the ricotta cheese and eggplant mixture into each of the shells.
Roasted Eggplant Goat Ricotta Pennoni
So what was the verdict ? The fan club unanimously decided on the cannelloni as their favorite. I reluctantly agreed. To me, this was an impossible comparison of apples to oranges. I played with too many variables: pasta type and a sauce mixture so a comparison was not entirely fair. Regardless, my more peasant-friendly taste buds, liked the flavor experience of tomatoes blending with a cheese. That's what the cannelloni brought to the forefront. Friends, l'll let you be the judge on this one.
Fine Terza Puntata. Salute!