Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Yes I know its over a week late, but this post is more about a kind of revelation.
While I searched for inspiration for a savoury pancake last week I remembered something foodie that must have dug itself deep into my head. Some time ago, I knew of an Italian chef who ran a small village restaurant. His food was excellent and his passion for his restaurant and customers was second to none. He ran a traditional type of Italian where the pasta could be the starter, then a salad or veg, followed by the meat or fish. There was not a pizza in sight (This is street food, not restaurant food!). He was a character. I remember him once insisting that Cannelloni was not pasta, but pancake.
After googling this, I couldn't seem to find a definitive answer to whether Cannelloni is supposed to be pasta or pancake. I found out that it can be. I also found out that manicotti is also the name for a dish of pancake tubes, filled in the same manner as cannelloni. But then when searching further, it seems that mancotti can be pancake or pasta. All very confusing. But also very simple.....
Being gluten-free now, this means my pasta choices are limited. Generally there is fusilli or penne available, and incresingly so spaghetti and sometimes lasagne. But that's it. So here is the revelation. If cannelloni/manicotti can be pancake, it certainly will be in this house! Gluten-free pancakes are no trouble, but finding and cooking lasagne sheets and constructing rolls would involve so much more faff (and cost). A workable way of making interesting baked pasta dishes has now come into my life! Hurrah!
What I made came straight from my head and I didn't follow any recipe, but I will attempt to document it here as best I can. Apologies for the picture, not very appetising. I promise it tasted much better than it looks!
I used a standard pancake recipe of 100g (gluten-free) flour, 1/2 pint milk and egg. There are so many recipes and recommendations out there so I won't re-write the method. I made a batch of 6 pancakes and let them cool between sheets of greaseproof paper.
A few mushrooms, chopped
Red onion, chopped
White wine (optional)
1. Gently fry the bacon, onion and mushrooms together. They want to be softened rather than browned.
2. Add a dash of white wine if you have any in (and open - its not that important) and reduce.
3. Sprinkle in some dried sage. I like sage flavour so added about a heaped tsp.
4. Pour in some cream and stir. The amount I used was enough to make a sauce, but not make it runny. This is actually the stuffing rather than the sauce, so it needs to be chunky.
5. Make a bechamel sauce with the butter, flour and milk (Delia's recipe (within her cannelloni recipe) uses cream and nutmeg which I left out - there are so many calories already!). Stir through some grated cheese, saving enough for the top.
6. Construct the cannelloni by spooning some bacon mixture onto each pancake and rolling it up. Place the rolls side by side in an oven proof dish. Pour over the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
7. Bake until heated through and the cheese and sauce are bubbling. We serves it with a dressed green salad.
P.S. The picture at the top is of dessert. A standard pancake with the obligatory nutella and a generous drizzle of cream. Lovely!