Monday, November 8, 2010

4 Cheese Porcini Vegetable Stuffed Schiaffoni with Fennel Cannellini Bean Sauce

Recently, I received a goodie basket from as an entrant in their Truffles, Pasta & More Recipe Challenge.  Inside the box I found some schiaffoni pasta, some fennel pollen, some black truffle salt, and a packet of dried Porcini mushrooms.  All I had to do was come up with an original recipe using the pasta and at least one of the other items.  
Schiaffoni are tubular noodles, perfect for stuffing.  The first thing I thought of was a hearty red meat sauce and cheese, but that seemed too predictable.  Instead, I opted for combining the porcini mushrooms, spinach and carrots with ricotta, Romano and some other cheeses and topping it with a sauce flavored with the fennel pollen.  That pollen is a wonder.  Its aroma is reminiscent of anise, but its flavor is much more subtle.  By putting cannellini beans in the sauce, the meal contains a complete protein and can stand alone without any meat. 

4 Cheese Porcini Vegetable Stuffed Schiaffoni with Fennel Cannellini Bean Sauce
16 ounce package Schiaffoni pasta
for the stuffing
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms,cut into small pieces and rehydrated in 1 cup hot water (save the water for the sauce)
1/2 medium onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 Tbsp olive oil
dash nutmeg
2 cups ricotta cheese
6 ounces marscapone (or cream cheese)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
for the sauce
4 Tbsp olive oil or butter
1/4 cup flour
reserved mushroom liquid
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock (to make this truly vegetarian, use vegetable broth or water)
2 tsp fennel pollen
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 
In a large skillet, saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil.  Combine the ricotta, marscapone, Romano and mozzarella in a food processor and blend until smooth.  In a bowl, stir the spinach, carrots, mushrooms, onions, garlic, nutmeg and cheese mixture together until well blended.  Meanwhile, boil the pasta for 10-12 minutes (note: the package said 16 minutes, but I wanted it to be slightly less than done so it would stand up to filling and baking later). When the pasta is al dente, drain  and stand each upright in a greased casserole (9x13).  Spoon filling into each noodle.  (You may want to add a little bit extra liquid here if your noodles are really al dente) Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes at 350.

To make the sauce, melt butter in the same skillet that you sauteed the vegetables.  Scrape the cooked on bits of  vegetables up into melted butter.  Add the flour and stir until smooth.  Add the mushroom liquid, white wine and chicken stock to the flour mixture, stirring all the while to prevent lumps.  If the liquid seems too thin, add more thickener in the form of a flour/water slurry.  Add the salt, pepper and fennel pollen and simmer 5 minutes to let the flavors blend.  Add the beans and heat through.  Serve the sauce over the schiaffoni.

I was a little afraid that the fennel taste in the sauce would overpower everything, but when combined with the pasta, it mellowed out to just a faint flavor.  All of my kids gobbled theirs up and said it was marvelous.  Although this is not a thirty minute meal, it well worth the effort.

Please give me your vote November 15-19th over on the Marx Foods blog.  I will have a reminder link at the top of  my site during that week.


Magic of Spice said...

These are absolutely amazing...fantastic flavors and I really love the sauce :)

Monet said...

The name alone..the name alone! What a delicious meal. I can only imagine how amazing that black truffle salt must be. What a wonderful dinner meal. Thanks for sharing!

Faith said...

that looks awesome and I am intrigued by fennel pollen!!!

BakingWithoutABox said...

Fennel pollen. Think I must at least smell that now. This looks so good. Fancy, without being stuffy. Very elegant dinner party kind of food!

Belinda said...

You're rockin' the contest! This looks like a dish at some fancy restaurant. =)

Yesim said...

i love pasta.. and this look really awesome..

katerina said...

These little wraps look gorgeous. All the ingredients you used to make this dish are very dear to me. You made a fine comforting meal Kristen.

Lisa said...

That looks incredible. I'd love to take a bite or ten of that.

Lyndsay said...

This recipe looks absolutely amazing. I am always on the lookout for pasta recipes - bored over the same old mainstays - and this adds a whole new element!

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Anonymous said...

That looks really reallllly fantastic! Thanks for sharing it!

Emily Malloy said...

I looooooooove this.

And the addition of nutmeg!

Pure heaven!

Claudia said...

I can wrap myself around that wonderful cheesy, porcini dish and not share it with anyone.

21st Century Housewife© said...

What a beautiful meal! I can just imagine how delicious it tastes, and have bookmarked it to try. By the way, I gave you (and your wonderful chocolate chip cookie bars) a mention on my vlog (Monday Musings Volume 3) yesterday :)

Roxan said...

I've never heard of fennel pollen before, it sounds so interesting! That's one of the things i love about reading all the food blogs, I've been learning about so many different foods and ingredients.

your pasta looks fantastic! My favorite photo is the one of all the pastas standing up in the baking dish like little soldiers ready to go. It made me smile.

"pup" said...

This looks and sounds delicious!!!

meghan said...

This is a stunning recipe! I love fennel and white beans so much.

Beth said...

Looks delicious! I'm impressed with your creativity. said...

it looks so tasty!!! nice recipe!!! :D

Pacheco Patty said...

I once had to search for fennel pollen by the side of the road for a fish dish, it's all over in the Spring and I think it's pretty as well as tasty. Your pasta dish is pretty over the top, you really have some wonderful ingredients in there:)

Blackswan said...

Hi Kristen, this recipe is just great! Must be delicious :) I'm following u & hope you'll do the same.

Looking fwd to sharing & your comments, on just on cooking :)

Drick said...

incredible my friend - what a taste sensation this must be... very creative and beautiful too ...

Carolyn said...

I love what you did with the ingredients. Unexpected, but still looks like a hearty comforting meal.

The Chambs said...

oh my, how I love pasta...!!!!
Thanks for coming to my blog! looking forward to hearing more from you!
following you back from

Anonymous said...

Awsome Kristin! That looks so delicious - I want some!

Anonymous said...

this looks so good:) thank you for sharing this lovely recipe.

Sue said...

Love the beans and how the pasta "stands up" in the pan. :)

Jami said...

What a great combination of flavors! So would Schiaffoni be similar to manicotti?

Holistic Practitioner said...

Ah, pollen and pasta, sounds like a very high energy food. I'll try it, thanks for the healthy recipe.


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