October’s Hobo: The Blockhead Italian October 8, 2009Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Challenge, Food, random stuff.
This month’s Hobo Tuesday challenge over at Thursday Night Smackdown was:
It’s time to bastardize your two (or more) favorite cuisines! The ever popular, mostly outdated fusion cooking style is the challenge. Be creative or play it safe (Indian-Thai), just don’t be a jackass serving falafel in a taco shell.
So. What do you get when a couple of Swedes decide to try fusion cooking?
Oh, yeah. I crack myself up sometimes!
But seriously. We decided to take a classic Italian dish – cannelloni – and marry it with classic Swedish cooking.
I know, right? But think about it -almost from the moment we bought the meat grinder, Peeps has been wanting to make Swedish Potato Sausage – and really, who can blame him? Besides being a part of our heritage, it’s Meat! and Potatoes! all in one!
I don’t remember where we found this recipe, but it’s your standard potato sausage: grind together 1½ lbs. of lean beef, 1 lb. pork, 2½ lbs of potatoes. and an onion. Mix in 1 Tbsp. salt, ½ Tbsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. allspice, 3/4 cup of powdered milk, and 2 cups of water. (Remember, we’re dealing with raw potatoes here – we’d hate for them to turn black!) Now the whole mixture gets ground again. Normally, one would stuff the sausage into casings, but we opted to brown it as bulk sausage for the cannelloni portion of the experiment.
Fortunately, Peeps brought home some fresh pasta the other day. He has a standing order with his boss – whenever they have to do a special run of pasta sheets, they do a few extra sheets for us. We started with 8 full-sized sheets, which translated to 16 half sheets. How’s that for math?
Just a note: if we had used dried pasta, I’d have used the same technique we used a few months back for the manicotti.
Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of sausage, and just roll up. It’s that easy.
And sixteen half-sheets of pasta makes a lot of cannelloni.
Not 5 pounds of sausage worth, but still. A lot.
We froze half the sausage for another time. Additionally, we froze half the cannellonis for another time too.
So. If we’re going to do a baked pasta dish, we’re going to need some sauce, right? And what’s going to go better than the sauce used for Swedish meatballs? Um, obviously.
Just like any other sauce or gravy (except, of course, the Italian kind!), we start with a basic roux – about 3 Tablespoons each flour and butter. As we’re melting that together, we also add a dash of allspice, some nutmeg, and a bit of salt and pepper.
I used the same idea for this sauce as we used for the chicken goulash last week – I whisked about a cup, cup and half of sour cream into a couple of cups of beef stock, then just poured that into the well-seasoned roux, cooking until slightly thickened.
The cannelloni, we placed in a 9×13 baking dish (I could not get 6 to fit into a 9-inch square pan!), covered with the sauce, and maybe a quarter of a cup of leftover pizza cheese, then the whole pan was covered with foil and baked at about 350º or so until it was heated through, maybe half, three-quarters of an hour.
We then uncovered to let the cheese, well, it didn’t actually brown, mostly because it was late and we were starving. That, and the chard (from the garden) was done and we didn’t want it to get cold!
So, would we do this made-up Swedish-Italian fusion thing again? Heck, yeah! Which, if you think about it, is a darned lucky thing, since we’ve got a boatload of Swedish cannelloni in the freezer AND another boatload of cooked potato sausage right next to it!
So, bottom line – show me the numbers!
1.5 lb. beef – $2.47/lb – $3.70
1 lb pork – $.99/lb – $.99
2.5 lbs. potatoes – $.40/lb – $1.00
1 onion – staple
3/4 c. powdered milk – staple
Salt, pepper, allspice – staples
1 onion – staple
Pasta sheets – bummed from work – $0
3 Tbsp. Flour – staple
3 Tbsp. butter – $1.89/lb -$.15
1/2 carton sour cream – $.99/pint – $.50
2 c. beef stock – homemade, pantry staple
End of a package of mozzarella blend (maybe 1/4 c.?) – $2/pkg – $.25
The total for the sausage was $5.69, but we only actually used half of it, which would be $2.84. The sauce cost $.90 – for a grand total of $3.74 for the two of us.