Recipe: Zuppa Toscana and Cannoli

Zuppa Toscana

Adapted from: Super-Delicious Zuppa Toscana

Ingredients and Equipment
1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
3 potatoes
4 slices of bacon
Half a large onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
28 oz of chicken stock
1.5 cups milk
5-6 leaves of kale
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Stock pot

Yield: 4-6 servings

Directions:

In a skillet, brown the sausage. Add red pepper flakes as desired. Drain the excess grease and set aside. Cook the bacon and drain the excess grease from that as well, but leave some grease – it makes a great oil for sauteing the onions and garlic. Cut (or break, depending on how done you prefer your bacon) the bacon in to smaller pieces to add to the stock pot.

Add the bacon grease drippings, chopped onions, and garlic to the stock pot. Also add the Italian sausage to the stock pot after sauteing the onions and garlic.

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes.

Add the chicken stock and milk, along with the Italian sausage. Bring to a light boil and add the potatoes. Continue to stir to avoid burning. Ensure the potatoes cook through – about 15-20 minutes. Reduce to a simmer. Add the kale and continue to let simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cannoli

Adapted from: Creamy Homemade Baked Cannoli

Ingredients and Equipment (Dough)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Cannoli tubes or aluminum foil
Round cookie cutter

Yield: 4-5 shells

Directions:

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and egg, and form a dough. Use a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and lightly grease the cannoli tubes or folded aluminum foil. I had 4 cannolis I got out of this dough. I should have rolled it thinner, so you may get more than 4.

Roll the dough on a lightly-floured surface. Get it as thin as you can to around the thickness of a quarter. Cut the dough with the cookie cutter. I used a ramekin, which worked great – just use the opening as you would a cookie cutter. I could see a wide mouth mug also working just as well.

Wrap the rounds around the tubes or the rolled aluminum foil. Seal the ends. Prick with a fork in a couple of places.

Aluminum foil folded and rolled worked just as well as the cannoli tubes.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Ingredients and Equipment (Filling)
2 cups Ricotta cheese
Cheesecloth or sieve
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
Lemon zest

Yield: ~12 servings

Directions:

Prepare the ricotta. I used a sieve, but generally the advice is to use a cheese cloth. Ricotta is very wet. You’ll want to let it drain overnight in the fridge if possible. I did it for about 2 hours on my counter and it drained, but it could have used more time.

Once drained, combine the ricotta with the sugar. Fold in the chocolate chips. I used milk chocolate chips and was really happy with it. I find dark chocolate chips too bitter. Personal preference. Zest a bit of lemon (grate some lemon skin :P) in to the mixture as well. The original recipe doesn’t call for lemon zest, but the citrus was a nice touch and I’m glad I did.

Once the shells are cooled, fill with the ricotta mixture.

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