Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pan Seared Salmon with Beetroot and Ricotta Canelloni

           “Fresh doesn’t always mean better; a self-respected Italian housewife doesn’t bother to make pasta at home since she can get good one in the shop” – an article “Things you’d know if your nanny was Italian” stated. Well, there is a point here, no doubt. But what about ravioli?! I do not mind buying ready-made ravioli with meat, mushroom or cottage cheese filling but what would you do if you crave for a more sophisticated flavour inside the pasta shell? There’s no other way but to put an apron, dust the table with some flour and get into making your own dough!

            I had an absolutely amazing recipe of beetroot and ricotta ravioli from one cooking magazine; I’d made the dish a couple of times – each time it was a great success. Recently, however, as I had already prepared the filling and rolled the dough to the necessary thickness – I stopped for a moment thinking how I can change the dish a little bit (just for fun, you know!). At that moment I remembered Chef George Calombaris who once showed how to make fish mousse cannelloni to the contestants of Masterchef Australia. He put the mousse into a culinary bag and piped it onto strips of fresh pasta dough which were then rolled around the filling and cut into tubes to form cannelloni. I decided to use the same technique to make cannelloni with my beetroot filling.

           Wow! The result was beyond any expectations: it was basically the dish that I was familiar with  – but in a new form. A piece of a seared salmon with creamy dill sauce served as a great accompaniment to the cannelloni which had a distinct sweetness of beetroot and a pungent scent of parmesan. All in all, it was a beautiful dish and I will definitely bother to make it again. In the long run, I do not have an Italian nanny who would try to talk me out of making fresh pasta at home!


Beetroot and ricotta cannelloni
Pasta dough
300 gm plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs
a pinch of salt
Filling (recipe adapted from the original one from “Recipe collection” magazine)
1 beetroot, boiled
100 gm ricotta
100 gm parmesan, grated
1 egg

Pan-seared salmon
6 pieces of salmon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dill, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Beetroot and radish carpaccio
1 beetroot
2 radishes
1 cup rocket leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

Dill sauce
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dill, shopped
salt and black pepper to taste


1. For pasta dough, sift flour with salt, make a well in the centre and add a slightly beaten egg and olive oil. Knead into a dough, cover and leave for half and hour at room temperature.
2. For filling, grate the beetroot and squeeze out the moisture. Combine the beetroot with ricotta, parmesan and a slightly beaten egg. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag.
3. Roll the dough thinly into strips. Pipe the filling along the long side of each strip, roll the strip to enclose the filling.  Cut the rest of the dough if the strips are too wide. Cut each long “tube” into smaller tubes, around 7cm each, then roll each of the small tubes in a cling film and tie up the ends. Bring water to a boil in a large pan and simmer the strips for 5 – 7 minutes.
4. For pan-seared salmon, marinate the pieces of fish in olive oil, salt, black pepper and dill. Heat a pan over high heat and sear the pieces for a few minutes, flip and cook for a minute more.
5. For dill sauce, bring vegetable stock together with cream to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the dill, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, till the sauce thickens. Check the seasoning.
6. For carpaccio, cut 1 beetroot and 1 radish into thin rounds and julienne the remaining vegetables; mix the latter ones with rocket leaves, olive oil, salt and black pepper.
7. To serve, spread some sauce at the bottom of the plate. Remove the cling film from cannelloni and arrange a few pieces in a row; top with the seared salmon. Put the rounds of beetroot and radish along the two sides of cannelloni and place the julienned vegetables on top of the fish. Repeat to make 5 more servings.

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