These spinach and cheese pasta creations are truly from a galaxy far, far away. (In other words, they're out of this world!)
You will need:
- 12 - 4x5 inch egg pasta sheets or manicotti pasta
- 1 lb. fresh spinach
- 2 oz. chopped pancetta
- 2 oz. olive oil
- 2 oz. finely diced onions
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese
- 2 oz. freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 oz. freshly grated pecorino cheese
- 2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
For the Darth (To)mater Sauce:
- 1 1/2 lbs. vine-ripened fresh tomatoes
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4-6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 6 basil sprigs
- 1 cheery kitchen droid
- Cook the pasta sheets or manicotti in salted water al dente. Drain and shock in cold water. Drain again.
- Arrange side-by-side on a tray lined with moistened towels and cover with plastic wrap.
- Cook the pancetta in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the spinach and cook until all the liquid is gone. Remove from heat, cool, and coarsely chop.
- Combine the chopped spinach mix, the 4 cheeses, eggs, breadcrumbs, and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Spread (or fill) each pasta sheet with filling and roll into tubes. Place the cannelloni in a greased ovenproof baking dish. Splash with stock and remaining oil.
- Cover the dish first with plastic wrap, then with foil and bake in a 400?F oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Make the Darth (To)mater Sauce: Core and score the tops of the tomatoes. Drop in boiling water until the skin starts to separate from the meat of the tomatoes. Remove and shock in ice water. Remove from the ice water and peel the tomatoes and halve. Squeeze out the seeds into a small sieve, but save all the juices. Strain the juice. Dice the tomatoes into large pieces and add to the juices.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the garlic. Cook over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes, but do not brown. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderate heat until the sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. When cool add the basil and parsley.
- To serve: Place 2 cannelloni on each serving plate and spoon about 1/3 cup of Darth (To)mater sauce over the top. Garnish with a basil sprig and more Parmesan if desired.
- Serve immediately and remember, "May the forks be with you."