There are two kinds of ricotta you can buy, dry and fresh. Dry ricotta is crumbly and, well, dry. Fresh ricotta is bought in a tub and it's a lot moister than it's dry cousin. I've only used dry ricotta once and I don't think I'll be using it again.
I did not think I'd ever say that I'd never buy a cheese again, but I meant what I said. I just don't know how to use it and cook any of my ricotta filled recipes because everything just turns out too dry. Maybe if I add more liquid when cooking with dry ricotta my dishes would turn out ok, but it's not worth the extra effort of experimenting for me. I'm going to stick my fresh ricotta.
Today's recipe is a Broccoli and Ricotta Cannelloni and to get the consistency right, you'll need to use fresh ricotta (trust me, I have a batch of the cannelloni in made with dry ricotta in my fridge right now...)
2 cups of fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
Florets from one large head of broccoli, stems reserved for another dish (maybe my Asian Chicken Salad?)
1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
6 sheets of fresh pasta, cut in half (I used one package of Olivieri Lasagna Sheets)
2 cups of tomato sauce
1 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and steam the broccoli florets until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
2. Finely chop the broccoli florets and add them to a large bowl with the ricotta, egg, parsley, sundried tomatoes, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.
3. Spoon about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a large lasagna baking dish and begin to make your cannelloni. Take one of 12 pieces of fresh pasta and dollop a spoon of the ricotta and broccoli mixture into the middle of the pasta. Smooth it out into a line and roll up the pasta into a log. Place your cannelloni folded side down into the baking dish.
4. Repeat until you have all 12 cannelloni in your baking dish and spoon the remaining sauce on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with mozzarella and cover with foil.
5. Bake for about 35 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Let the pasta cool slightly before serving and enjoying!