I don't know why I thought making pasta was hard. I've been making home-made noodles for Chicken noodle soup for years, literally since I was a kid in my mom's kitchen, but throw the Kitchen Aid pasta accessories at me and suddenly I'm intimidated. WAS intimidated. Now I'm going to be a pasta makin' fool! So all of you folks out there who've been making your own pasta for a while just smile gently and nod your head. I GET it now. Wow. Huge difference between fresh from my counter and dried from the store. HUGE.
The cannelloni wasn't hard to fake either. I've had it at several different chain restaurants: Zio's (love it), Macaroni Grill (love MG, was neurtral about that dish so will go back to ordering the lobster ravioli), Pasta House (uh...not good). How hard can it be? Chicken, spinach, cheese, alfredo....it's not hard. You do have to prep a few different things but once you get the filling put together and the pasta dough has rested, it's all downhill from there.
The Chicken & Spinach Cannelloni is my entry in this week's Presto Pasta Nights started by the wonderful Ruth Daniels at Once Upon a Feast, hosted this week by the lovely Nilmandra of Soy and Pepper. Nilmandra's round up of all the great pasta dishes from the week will appear on her blog tomorrow. Go check them out for new pasta ideas!
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
Cook's note: Have chicken breasts grilled, spinach chopped, and alfredo sauce made before starting pasta.
Parsleyed Egg Pasta
4 Eggs (room temperature)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp fresh minced parsley (or 1 Tbsp Gourmet Garden Parsley--see notes below)
1/2 tsp salt
Water as needed
Place first four ingredients into mixer and beat on low with paddle until combined.
Assess the dough. If too dry, at water a tablespoon or so at a time until dough holds together without being wet. If too wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time to get the same result. Dough needs to hold together in a firm ball but still be pliable, not dry but not sticky enough to leave bits of dough on your hands when touched.
Let dough rest for half hour at room temperature before rolling out.
For cannelloni, pinch off golf ball sized amount and run through pasta machine on setting #1, #2, and then #3, two times each, dusting with a little flour if needed between passes through machine. At setting #3, dough should be in long flat sheets the width of the pasta machine.
Run any remaining dough after cannelloni is stuffed through machine up to the #5 setting and then cut into fettuccine noodles. May be twirled into nests of individual servings and frozen for easy freezer removal.
1 stick (8 oz) butter
1 clove Roasted Garlic (or fresh garlic will work but roasted is better)
2 cups heavy cream, half and half, whole milk, or 2 % milk (I used 1 cup half/half & 1 cup 2% because that's what I had in the fridge)
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Melt butter in 2 quart saucepan over medium low heat. Add rest of ingredients and simmer gently over low heat , stirring with a whisk, until cheeses have melted completely and sauce has thickened.
Additional Ingredients Needed:
4 grilled seasoned Chicken Breasts, cubed
8 oz frozen spinach or one large bundle of fresh spinach with stems removed, chopped
2 cups shredded Italian mixed cheese (for example: parmesan, mozzarella, asiago, etc)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Mix together chicken breasts, spinach, 1 cup alfredo sauce, 1 cup cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and herbs.
Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto edge of cannelloni sheet and roll once. Cut pasta with a knife and place cut side down in a cooking spray coated 9"x13" baking pan.
When cannelloni are filled and placed, cover with remaining alfredo sauce and last cup of shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30- 40 minutes or until pasta is browned and bubbly.
Can be frozen before being baked.
Makes approx. 10 5" cannelloni
Gourmet Garden brand herbs can be found be found in the produce section. They're fresh herbs mixed with canola oil so just pop them in the freezer and use as needed for a fresh herb taste.