December 21, 2012

Holy Cannoli!

We'll keep this one short and sweet.  Short, since I can link to past posts for the dinner portion, and sweet since we made cannolis!

We got another spaghetti squash from the CSA last week, and we have some leftover meatballs from a past dinner, so that's what we threw together tonight.  Here's our spaghetti squash and meatball how-to.  We did have to make some sauce, so we made a puttanesca-esque sauce.  Sweat out some onions and garlic, add baby bellas and anchovies (these were in oil with capers), toss in a can of tomatoes (preferably San Marzanos), and top with some chopped basil and parsley.  Since we had some parmesan rinds hanging out in the fridge, we threw one in to help thicken the sauce, and add a little cheesyness.  Then you can just let it simmer until you're ready to serve.  Super quick.  Super simple. Super tasty!

Now for the cannolis!  We had some leftover ricotta from our gnocchi, so what better way to use it up than by making dessert?  Honestly, I'm not much of a baker.  I don't have the patience to precisely measure each ingredient, and sift things.  Plus, I tend to gravitate towards salty snacks over sweets.  I prefer the creativity of cooking, where I can add a splash of this and a dash of that until it tastes right.  I leave the baking to my mom.

They took a little more time and work than we thought, but we pushed through!  While Justin manned the sauce, I prepped the cannolis.  For the dough, all you need is flour, salt, sugar, an egg, and some dry white wine.  The only white wine I had was some delicious chocolate flavored wine I'd picked up a couple years ago at the Virginia Wine Festival (If you've never gone, you should definitely check it out!).  We thought it'd add a nice subtle chocolate flavor to the shells.

Once the dough was wrapped up and in the fridge to rest, I moved onto the filling.  I let the ricotta drain for a bit, and then added powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg (since I didn't have allspice), grapefruit zest (since we didn't have a lemon) and some whipped cream (you just need soft peaks when you're whipping the cream).  This sat in the fridge to set up while we ate our sketti squash and meatballs.

Once we were through with dinner, it was time to make cannolis!  Not to be confused with this guy.  We floured the counter and rolled out our dough while the oil heated up.  Its best to get the dough really thin.  We used the bottom of a bowl as our stencil, and cut out circles of dough.  Each circle was wrapped around a little wooden dowel that we found and dropped into the hot oil.  It only took a minute or two for them to fry up, but we got into a groove and knocked out the shells. 

Since we had some extra mint in the fridge, we chopped some up and added it to the filling for a little fresh, brightness.  I made my own pastry bag by dumping the filling into a big ziploc bag and cutting off one of the corners.  This will let you easily pipe the filling into the shells.  Once they had cooled down and were easy to handle, each shell was filled with the ricotta mixture.

During one of our last trips to Trader Joe's, we were roaming the aisles and came across a spice grinder that contained sugar, coffe and chocolate.  We looked at each other, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, knowing we had to get it.  And what better use for it than to top our cannolis?  We ground some into a little dish and dipped each end of the cannoli into the delicious powder.
It really tied in the chocolate wine that was in the shells, and brought out the cinnamon and nutmeg that were mixed into the filling. maybe this post wasn't as short as I thought it would be, but it certainly was sweet!

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