Marco Gallotta's unorthodox take on cannelloni pairs a chive-flecked ricotta filling with an intensely flavored topping of leeks and shrimp that are sautéed in olive oil, then flambéed with Armagnac. He rolls the sheets of pasta dough so thin, you can practically see through them.
Baked Pasta Dishes
1 pound fresh ricotta (2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 pound thin sheets of fresh pasta (see Note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
8 large shrimp—shelled, halved lengthwise and deveined
1 tablespoon Armagnac or other brandy
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, blend the ricotta with the chives and season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the bottom of the dish.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Have ready a large bowl of cold water. Cut the pasta sheets into eight 6-inch squares. Add the sheets to the boiling water and cook them until tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a Chinese wire skimmer, transfer the sheets to the bowl of cold water and let cool. Spread the sheets on paper towels and pat dry.
Transfer the pasta sheets to a work surface. Spread 1/4 cup of the ricotta filling at one edge of each pasta sheet and roll up loosely to make flattened cylinders. Transfer the cannelloni to the prepared baking dish and spread 1/2 tablespoon of the butter over them. Bake the cannelloni for about 12 minutes, or until heated through.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat to moderate. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and stir occasionally until the shrimp are cooked, about 3 minutes. Add the Armagnac and carefully light it with a long-handled match. When the flames die down, swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Spoon the leeks and shrimp over the cannelloni and serve.
The assembled cannelloni can be refrigerated overnight.
If your fresh pasta sheets are not delicately thin (1/16 to 1/32 inch thick), run them through a pasta machine adjusted to the thinnest setting.
Bright, bold Arneis, a dry white from Piedmont, has the lively citrus flavors to combine well with the shrimp and leeks.
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