Cannoli Cream/Chevre Calzone With Honey and Orange

Last weekend we made an apple strudel, with frozen puff pastry and frozen apples. It was ok, but I am swearing off frozen puff pastry because it tastes of vegetable oil instead of butter. Entirely unsatisfactory. Anyway, that less-than-successful endeavor set me up to be really curious about Mark Bittman’s intriguing dessert calzone, detailed below. And the picture. OMG, so seductive. So it’s back to dairy ingredients and real dough for this gal. Laced with honey and orange, such a dreamy confection! Thanks, Mark:)

Time: About 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

1 1/4 cups fresh ricotta or mix of ricotta and chèvre

1 1/2 tablespoons honey, more as needed Finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 8-ounce ball pizza dough, divided into 2 pieces

All-purpose flour, as needed

1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Confectioners’ sugar.

 Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, honey, orange zest and cinnamon.

3. Lightly flour a work surface, and stretch or roll each piece of dough into a 6-inch round. Spread half the ricotta mixture on one side of each round, leaving a half-inch border. Brush the edges of one dough round with water, and fold dough in half, over filling; pinch the edges of the dough together to seal. Repeat with second dough round.

4. Transfer calzones to baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake until crusts are golden brown and firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and drizzle with additional honey before serving.

Yield: 4 servings.

Variation: Sprinkle 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips over the ricotta in each calzone before sealing.

For those of you who really need to see something demo’d to get the hang of putting it together, here’s the NYT Food Editor Melissa Clark assembling a savory calzone:
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Sweet Potato Gouda Gnocchi

Tasty Kitchen came up with this variation on one of my favorite themes: Gnocchi. This never fails to be a satisfying meal for me. The cheese sauce is pure velvet, smooth and gloriously Gouda. The gnocchi turns out light and tender. If you like your Gnocchi a little crisp on the outside, pan fry them up a bit in a tiny bit of butter or olive oil before enrobing them with the sauce.

Ingredients

FOR THE GNOCCHI:

  • 1 pound Sweet Potatoes
  • 6 ounces fluid Ricotta Cheese or chevre
  • ½ cups Parmesan Cheese, Finely Grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Golden Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 teaspoon Salt Plus 1 Tablespoon For Pasta Water
  • ¼ teaspoons Nutmeg, Freshly Ground
  • 1-¾ cup All-purpose Flour
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 2 cups Milk, Heated
  • ¼ whole Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 3 whole Sage Leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Gouda Cheese (Shredded)
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Gnocchi:

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper — set aside to hold gnocchi prior to boiling.

Place sweet potatoes on a second baking sheet; bake at 350 degrees F until tender, about an hour minutes. Cut in half and allow to cool. Scrape sweet potato flesh into a medium bowl and mash; transfer 1 1/2 cup to a large bowl. Add ricotta cheese or chevre; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 1 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface; divide into 3 equal pieces. Rolling between your palms and the floured work surface, form each piece into a 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over the tines of a fork to indent. Transfer to the baking sheet.

Bring a large pot of water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to a clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Sauce:

In a small sauce pot combine milk, onion, garlic and sage. Place over medium heat and heat until tiny bubbles appear around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes. Do not boil. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove and discard onion, garlic and sage leaves. Cover to keep warm.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until blended, 1 minute.

Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Dip a wooden spoon in the sauce to coat it. Pass your finger through the sauce on the back of the spoon—it should leave a clean track.

Strain the sauce into an clean saucepan. Whisk in the shredded Gouda cheese. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over gnocchi and serve.

Stuffed Shells

Doesn’t that sound like something you want when you get back from the beach, as the air is cooling and you realize that, having been out in the air and sun all day, now you are chilled? Well, make up the shells, sauce and filling ahead, and you can have it when you get home, after you’ve shaken the sand from your shoes!

I only have energy to chew!

zest of one lemon

Sauce:
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
scant 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
1 14-ounce can crushed red tomatoes

Filling:
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese (or use 1/2 ricotta, 1/2 fresh goat cheese, like we do!)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup / ~5 oz grated mozzarella
1 bunch of chives, minced

25-30 jumbo dried pasta shells or manicotti tubes

Oil a 13 x 9-inch / 33 x 23-cm baking pan, or equivalent, and sprinkle the zest of 1/2 the lemon across it. Set aside. Get a big pot of water boiling, and preheat your oven to 350F / 180C with a rack in the middle.

To make the sauce, combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Now stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, just a minute or two. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste (you don’t want to burn your tongue)…If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Let cool.

To make the filling, combine the ricotta, egg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until combined, then stir in the mozzarella, remaining lemon zest, and 3/4 of the chives. Set aside.

Cook the shells according to package instructions in well-salted water – until al dente. If you overcook, the shells will tear as you attempt to fill them. Drain and let cool long enough to handle with your hands.

Spread 1/3 of sauce across the bottom of the prepared pan. Fill each shell with ricotta, and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Ladle the remaining sauce over the shells, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover for the final 15 minutes or until the shells are cooked through. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve hot.

Serves 4 – 6.

Prep time: 30 min – Cook time: 45 min

Thanks to 101 Cookbooks!