Last weekend, our friends treated us to an Italian Dinner/Evening at their home. We decided it would be another enjoyable way to share our heritage. The husband is part Italian and I am pure Italian. My grandparents came from the area around Naples. When we get together with our friends, we always have amusing stories to recall from our ethnic heritage.
As promised, here are the recipes from the dishes my friends prepared. She used a frozen shrimp scampi mix but the cannoli are homemade. Recipes courtesy of my friend Karen.
1 large package of Shrimp Scampi (my friend used Seapak)
1/2 carton (frozen)
1 bag (about 6-10 oz) of fresh baby spinach
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1/2 of a 16-ounce package linjuine cooked and drained
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup whipping cream
Cook the shrimp in a 12-in skillet for 6 min. Add the spinach and tomatoes. Cook and stir for about 5-6 min more or until the shrimp turn pink, and spinach wilts. Add the Parmesan cheese and a 1/2 Cup of whipping cream to the pot to make a light cream sauce. Add pasta to the skillet and toss to coat.
Makes 4 servings
3 Cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBL shortening (my friend used Crisco)
Several cups of oil in which to fry the shells
Perhaps a Fry Daddy or a wok or deep frying pan. According to a recipe on line, they recommended using a pan that could hold 3-4 cannoli and is deep enough for the oil to cover the cannoli and then some.
You will also need tubes to wrap the final dough around before frying. These can be purchased on line–just look up cannoli shell forms, you could make your own from some CLEAN pipe purchased as a hardware store, or check a local kitchen store. My friend Karen’s wre homemade and are about 1 and 3/4″ in diameter.
Also make a pattern or form that you can use to cut out the dough. A piece of cardboard shaped as an oval that is 4 and 1/2″ by 3 and 1/2″.
Now to make the recipe for the Shells:
Mix the flour, sugar cinnamon and salt together in a bowl using a pastry blender until the pastry is the size of peas. You could also use a food processor with the cutting blade to form the pastry into pea size. Then add 2 well beaten and stir until the dough forms a ball. Blend in 1 TBL at a time of 2 TBL of white vinegar and 2 TBL of cold water. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until dough sticks together well and is stiff.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 min.
Roll the dough out to about 1/8 in” thick on floured surface. Place cardboard pattern over the dough and use a pastry cutter to cut out the dough. Heat the tube form in the oil (not long; just to coat it). Wrap the dough loosely around the tube, placing the longer side of the oval end to end with the length of the cannoli form. Lap the dough together and seal with eegg white. Use tongs to hold the cannoli tubes in hot oil (my friend fries them at 325 degrees. (She also used a Fry Daddy this last time and they fried a lot faster) With the Fry Daddy, it took just a minute and 1/2. If using another source of heat, it may take up to 8 min. Fry ’til golden brown.
Drain on paper towels. Make a day ahead and store in an open container on counter top.
2 and 1/2 lbs. ricotta cheese, strained
1 TBL vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
Mix and chill. Then spoon the filling into a soft pastry bag with an opening about 3/4 “. Pipe it into the pre-made shells. Refrigerate.
Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar and chopped pecans.
Makes 24-30 shells