They say memories are stimulated by aromas, and my niece Sarah Passwaiter Suppes must have been really tuned in to be reminded of a childhood favorite prepared my sister, Erica Stewart. Sarah thought it was cannoli, but we reminded her that my sister does not bake, so that dessert could not be.
My tech-savvy sister literally does not cook either, and we realized it must have been cannelloni, which she did bring to a family gathering. It indeed was a hit, memorable because she prepared the delicious dish with her own hands and served it at a table otherwise laden with Mexican cookery. This is not meant to be disparaging, but complimentary, as you can see that she has revised and refined the recipe to her own taste from what was suggested by the Da Vinci pasta company.
1-25 oz. jar Trader Joe’s Organic Vodka Sauce
(or equivalent amount of homemade sauce)
1 8-oz. pkg. manicotti-cannelloni shells
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
Fresh basil and oregano, shredded to taste
1 egg, slightly beaten
Garlic salt to taste; fresh pepper
1 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Prepare and simmer your favorite sauce of crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs and spices, and water; or use a favorite product, as we did. Boil the noodles in a very large pot of highly salted water about eight minutes; reserve 1 cup of the water. Drain and allow separated pasta to cool.
Mix all ingredients except Parmesan. Spray a large baking dish and spread about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom. Stuff the noodles generously, using a small spoon; place into the casserole side by side. Pour the sauce over all and in between, adding some pasta water if necessary. Spread Parmesan on top, and garnish with chiffonade of fresh basil if you like. Tent loosely with foil, or leave uncovered to bake in a preheated 350-degree oven about 30 minutes. Serves 4-6.
Cook’s notes: We made two batches, some for serving and some to share. The uncovered batch caramelized the top and sauce nicely; the covered dish allowed the cannelloni to remain soft.
Father Jim Nisbet came from Mission San Luis Obispo to assist our pastor, Father Mark Stetz, and I had the honor of his company for dinner. Father Jim is a gourmet cook, and recalled this enticing recipe which could be used for appetizers or a side dish. The recipe may be easily doubled, using 1/2 tsp. spice for each 1/4 cup of mixture.
1 pound large shrimp
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup regular mayonnaise
2 tsp. thyme, or favorite herb
Parmesan cheese, grated
Mix mayonnaise and herbs; devein shrimp and leave on the tails. Place shrimp on broiling pan, spread generously with butter mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and Parmesan. Broil until browned nicely on top — ovens will vary.
Cook’s notes: This was so good, I used it with cremini mushrooms, after stemming and wiping them with a damp paper towel.
The Culinary Corner is special to The Cambrian. Submit recipes and ideas to Consuelo Macedo and Nancy Allen at The Cambrian, 2068 Main St., Cambria, CA 93428, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.