Monday, December 27, 2010
Holy Moly! It's Christmas Cannelloni!
The crepe making (as opposed to crepe hanging) really was a fun job, with a little help from some Christmas music cranked up. The first crepe is always a mess – it’s just for practice as Julia says. And once you get the heat just right and your rhythm going, you’re a one-man assembly line. Ethel without Lucy maybe. If you’re interested in making the crepes, go here. Otherwise, just buy the shells. But I have to warn you, they won’t be as good. The crepes are rich and tender and the perfect envelope for the ground beef, chicken liver and spinach ensemble. And the two different colored, and flavored, sauces were just the right finish. A little extra cheese, a little extra butter for browning and the dish is complete. Very Christmassy.
The beauty of the whole dish was, for me, that it could all be done ahead of time, no last minute fussing to get everything to the table, which meant more time for visiting. A good swap of time. And spending time with family is the best part of Christmas. The food comes second.
Adapted from Three Rivers Cookbook #1
From the Child Health Association of Sewickley (PA)
Submitted by Mrs. Edward A. Montgomery, Jr.
Makes 36 cannelloni. Serves 12-16
2-10 ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds ground chuck
6 chicken livers
¼ c grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons heavy cream
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
For Béchamel Sauce:
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (or three or four scrapes of a fresh nutmeg)
For Tomato Sauce:
4-15 ounce cans plain tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
For topping before baking:
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350. Butter (or spray) two 13 x 9 pans, preferably glass.
To assemble: Pour the Béchamel sauce evenly over the filled crepes. Then distribute the tomato sauce evenly over all, too. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and dot with butter. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. Slide under the broiler, if you want, for a few minutes to brown the top.