Thursday, January 8, 2009

cannelloni dinner

I made cannelloni's for dinner last night. They were mighty tasty. A few weeks ago, m and I had dinner at Maggiano's at The Grove. I'd been there a few times for lunch since I used to work in the area and I remembered the food being just okay. I guess we got a little lucky that night because we both ended up loving what we ordered. I got a chicken+spinach cannelloni in alfredo sauce. M ordered the brasciole. I've been craving more cannelloni ever since.

I used this recipe for reference with a few changes. I didn't have any proscuitto on hand and I made up a sauce based on the ingredients I had in the house. I think what makes this type of cannelloni so good is the crepe like shells that you make from scratch. I read a few of the reviews on who spoke well of the recipe but mentioned that they bought store bought shells to make it go faster. Blasphemy! Strangely enough, they were happy with the results. Oh foolish convenience cookers! How much happier would you have been with the crepe shells!! I feel sorry for you, I really do.

This crepe batter is different from the one I use for making sweet crepes. I got that recipe from my buddy Ludovic who is from Les Landes. He got the recipe from his mother who is a farmer's wife. I can't remember if she is from Bretagne (where crepes originate) but I've had consistent success with her recipe. The crepe recipe from Epicurious makes a heavier batter. This is sort of relative since my sweet crepe batter is super delicate. But all told, I'm mighty pleased with epicurious's crepe recipe.

I served this last night with grilled asparagus that I roasted under the broiler first drizzled with olive oil and then sprinkled with salt+pepper. And then to give it a little twist, I drizzled some balsamic vinegar reduction on it right before serving. If I had been thinking ahead, I might have toasted some pine nuts and tossed a few on the asparagus too. I think that would have made a nice combination.

The balsamic vinegar reduction is super easy to make and I love how it kicks up a steak or lambchops or veggies. I basically took a whole bottle of balsamic vinegar and let it come to a boil in a saucepan, turned the temperature down to low and let the vinegar reduce to about half. Then pour into a mason jar and keep refridgerated. Once reduced it's about the consistencey of maple syrup (the real kind, y'all. not the stuff that is high fructose corn syrup with food coloring) and sweet with a little tart kick at the end. I love the stuff.

Next up, I'm going to talk about the meatballs I made on Sunday. I want to remember some of the things I did that were different from the recipe I got.

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