Ricotta and feta cheese cannelloni with a pork, tomato and basil sugo.
Recently I had quite a bit of danish feta in the refrigerator and initially when thinking how to reduce the amount, I thought I would use the feta along with some ricotta and spinach to make spanakopita. That was when the idea of using the feta began to morph into the "what about making a cannelloni dish".
This made me ponder why it is I have never cooked a pasta dish with cannelloni. Once I started to think about how I hadn't cooked such a dish, I couldn't stop thinking about the type of cannelloni I would cook. I admit I do know that basically cannelloni could be stuffed with ricotta and served with a tomato sauce.
Now I had decided it was my turn to some cannelloni, for the first time in my entire life I didn't consult a cookbook or the internet about what a cannelloni dish is and even what makes a definitive cannelloni dish. Just for once I decided to make up my own combination.
It was based on my penchant for particular flavours at this point in time, i.e. lemon oil, feta and ricotta. I decided to stuff the cannelloni with some combined feta, ricotta and chopped chives ( I meant to use the spinach and actually forgot!) and some vigourous dashes of lemon oil and salt and pepper.
I lay the stuffed cannelloni in a rectangular glass pyrex dish and began to make a fresh tomato based sauce by sauteeing some finely diced onion and lots of garlic in some olive oil. I added some with ripe deseeded and deskinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, and some tomato paste, salt, cracked pepper and sprinkle of sugar.
Soon I began to think about the minced pork that I had in the freezer and decided that I would add the defrosted pork mince to the fresh tomato sauce. Once the sauce was prepared, I grated some parmesan and added it to some already grated mozzarella (that I usually reserve for pizzas)in the fridge .
I spread a layer of the cheese on top of the stuffed cannelloni then a thick layer of the pork and tomato sauce. I finished with a layer of cheese. I baked the cannelloni in a moderate oven for about 30-40 minutes until the top was golden brown.
When serving the cannelloin I topped it with some more freshly grated parmesan and torn fresh basil.
Come to think of it I probably should have drizzled some more lemon oil over the plated product!
And another ingredient which I began to wonder about was whether pine nuts would have gone well in the lemon, ricotta and feta stuffing?
I also thought the sauce was a little drier than I wanted, though P thought it was perfectly fine. If I were to make this dish again I would be tempted to make a bechamel and put a layer of bechamel sauce on the bottom of the dish.
Who knows I don't even know if there will be a next time!