GETTING LUCKY WITH DINNER
I’ve never been one of those super-organized people who plan a week’s menu, shop accordingly, then have Monday’s leftovers as part of Thursday’s dinner. Some of these super-efficient plans have you cooking non-stop for one day, usually a weekend day, presuming working people would benefit the most from this sort of plan. Anyway, this just isn’t me; I tend to cook more spur-of-the-moment style. Sometimes I’m inspired by what I see at the market, which would be typically Italian, but more often I’m inspired by a recipe I’ve just discovered, or maybe a craving that suddenly pops into my head (mouth?).
Before we left for the states in December, I had a container of ricotta cheese in the refrigerator. I’d planned to make something with it, a cake I think, but for reasons I can’t remember, I never used the ricotta. I wasn’t sure if ricotta by itself would freeze, but since I’d successfully frozen pasta stuffed with a ricotta/spinach filling, I decided to make the filling and freeze it.
Well here it is almost three months later, and I decided that I’d better use the ricotta/spinach filling pretty soon. Luckily I had planned a little ahead the other day when I made the eggplant parmesan and had made a double batch of tomato sauce. Actually I’d hoped to have some sauce leftover, but I wasn’t really sure how much I’d need. I used a large can of plum tomatoes and a large bottle of tomato sauce. After everything was said and done, I ended up with a full bottle of tomato sauce left, and I stuck it in the frig, not really sure what was going to happen to it.
Today winter decided to remind us that it wasn’t quite finished, and it seemed like the perfect time to bake cannelloni in the oven! I made some pasta this morning…just a small batch, using 2 eggs and about 200 grams of semola, the flour preferred by Italians for making fresh pasta like lasagna.
I rolled the pasta out fairly thin…and yes, I DO use a pasta machine….there are some things that make life so much easier, and a machine to roll out the pasta to whatever thickness I want is a quick and easy solution. So, I rolled out all the pasta and set it on a kitchen towel to dry. I cut the pasta into lengths the same width as the pan, then plopped a spoonful of spinach/ricotta mixture each piece and rolled them up. After the pan was full I topped it with a generous amount of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese. Luckily I had enough pasta, ricotta and sauce to make two small pans, so when the mood strikes again I’ll be ready to go…..and all this without consciously planning ahead! Sometimes you just get lucky!