On July 29th, I am hosting a pop-up dinner promising an exciting evening of Spanish Tapas, Wines and old-world Conviviality. The genesis for the event came during a lunch with friends several weeks back; I was hungry for the tapas I used to make when I was Chef of the award winning Pili Pili in Chicago and wanted some people to share in the fun. I actually forgot how much I loved canalons; there is something incredibly satisfying about eating them. Not sure if it is the textural aspect of soft pasta baked in a creamy sauce that harkens back to the emotions of my childhood or maybe the utter simplicity of it. Canalons are truly an everyman’s dish that crosses several cultural lines. Try making canalons this weekend!
Barcelona Canalons, Veal and Chicken Cannelloni’s, Parmesan
Canalons stuffed with ground veal, chicken and chicken livers mixed with eggs, breadcrumbs, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Topped with Béchamel sauce and grated Reggiano Parmesan.
Barcelona: city, northeastern Spain, capital of Barcelona Province and the autonomous region of Catalonia, a seaport on the Mediterranean Sea between the Llobregat and Besós rivers. Barcelona is the second largest Spanish city in population and the principal industrial and commercial center of the country.
Canalons: Catalan version of Italy’s famous cannelloni. A great wave of Italian immigrants came into the region in the nineteenth century. They brought with them many of their dishes and influences. Canalons are well loved and widely eaten in Spain.
Cannelloni: Italian for large reeds; used to describe large, hollow tubes of pasta; usually boiled, stuffed with meat, fish or chicken and then baked and served with a sauce and grated cheese
Canalons are the Spanish version of Italian cannellonis. Pasta has been popular in northeastern Spain, Catalonia, since the Middle Ages when Arabs brought pasta to the region. It wasn’t until the 19th century when Italians migrated to Spain that canalons appear. For a far more in depth, and incredibly fascinating history, go to Rachel Laudan’s piece on canalons.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 8 ounces ground chicken
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 8 ounces ground veal
- 4 ounces chopped chicken livers or foie gras
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- a few grates of nutmeg
- parmesan sauce
- 2 ounces butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- a few grates of nutmeg
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- to finish
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 16 pasta sheets (3 inches by 4 inches)
- Saute onion, garlic and tomato in olive oil. Get good color then lower heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
- Add chicken, pork, veal and chicken livers. Cook till done, about five minutes.
- Add sherry and cook for five more minutes.
- Remove from heat and add egg and herbs and spices.
- Let cool
- Melt butter in heavy gauge stainless steel pot.
- Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook on low heat for five minutes, continuously stirring.
- Add cold milk and whisk in till smooth. Cook for 20 minutes till thickened.
- Add grated parmesan.
- Butter an oven proof gratin dish.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Blanch pasta sheets, chill and dry them off.
- Lay each sheet out in front of you and put a spoonful of filling on each one.
- Roll up and put into gratin dish.
- Cover with sauce and bake till golden brown, about 15 minutes.