Category Archives: Desserts

Making Cannoli during class

By Bailey Sheridan

Bailey Sheridan

The first time I ever had a cannoli I threw it away. The filling had a weird taste and the shell was way too hard. When I was asked to make cannoli in cooking class my first thought was to say “No way!” However, I kept my thoughts to myself and decided that I could help make them without tasting them, so I got working!

The first thing we did was roll out the dough into thin circles. Then we had to take a wooden cylinder and roll the cannoli around it. This task was tedious because if you got the dough too thin it would tear, and if it was too thick it was hard to make the sides stay together!

Anthony Donofrio III puts his strength into rolling and cutting the dough

After that we dropped the dough into the deep fryer and fried them up!  Once the shells were golden brown we took them out and set them aside.

Ella Trujillo deep frying the shells

Jackie Correa prepares the chocolate

Next we made the cannoli filling. For this we used cream, (and I don’t know what else!)  (Note from Christina – actually it wasn’t cream but ricotta beaten so that it was smooth and creamy)  Then we slowly added in chocolate chips and whipped up the mixture. Once the ricotta was ready we put it into little bags and squeezed it into the shells!

Bailey beating the ricotta

...and pipes the ricotta into the shells

When it came time to eat them I was very hesitant, but since they were small I figured I might as well try one! I am so glad I did. These cannolies were absolutely amazing! The shell was not hard and stiff, and the filling was light and fluffy. The chocolate chips were also a nice touch. They were the by far the most delicious thing I have made in cooking this year!

The canolli were dusted with powder sugar to serve

For the full recipe go to the recipe section/dolce canolli


La Macina Ristorante perfect place for Sunday lunch

Chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream and nutella

Last Sunday was the first day of blue sky and sunshine in Viterbo for several weeks; the warmest day of the year so far. After a morning hike through Norchia, one of the best preserved Etruscan ruins in our area, we stopped for lunch at La Macina, a ristorante – pizzeria surrounded by a small olive grove on a hillside near Vetralla.

Large groups were already gathered around enormous tables in the sunny alcoves. It wasn’t quite warm enough to enjoy the outdoor tables under awnings, but it will be soon.

Orrchiete with artichoke and potato

The restaurant features a variety of seasonal vegetables and local meats in simple, creative combinations. We ordered four pasta dishes, each with a different vegetable: artichokes, asparagus, chanterelles and ferlengo. All four were delicious, with just the right combination of ingredients to keep the sauce and pasta light but flavorful and filling.

Artichokes have been so good in the markets we decided to try two separate artichoke dishes, some whole with olive oil and lemon and some sautéed in olive oil. Both were so tender that the artichokes were almost creamy but not at all mushy.

Pannacotta with fruit

Because we skipped the second plates, we tried three desserts: a crème brulee, pannacotta with fruit and a chocolate cake with very fresh whipped cream and nutella. They were beautiful and a nice complement to complete the meal.

We enjoyed the selection of dishes, the food, service and atmosphere very much and look forward to returning.

La Macina
Loc. Valle Calandrella snc
Cura di Vetralla (VT)
0761 483329
Open for lunch and dinner
Close Tuesdays

Eating in Màntova

Window of sweets in central Màntova.

According to one source, the poet  Torquato Tasso wrote about Màntova in 1586:

This is a very beautiful city and one worth travelling a thousand miles to see.

After a recent trip to this city in Lombardy, we would agree that it is both a beautiful city and a very satisfying place to eat. Two specialities stand out. The first is tortelli or ravioli di zucca, a traditional pasta with pumpkin.

Pumpkin tortelli from Spirito diVino in Mantova, Italy

Cooked pumpkin is mashed and combined with parmesan, amaretti cookies and/or mostarda, and wrapped in fresh pasta in the shape of ravioli or tortelli (see the recipe). The dish we tried at Trattoria Osteria Spirito Divino combined the sweet taste of pumpkin with the sharpness of parmesan, wrapped in fresh egg pasta and topped with a traditional butter and sage sauce. It is often eaten in the fall and for the Christmas holidays when pumpkins are in season. Very satisfying!

Sbrisolona is baked like a large cake and then broken in pieces to eat.

The other specialty of Mantovà we particularly enjoyed was a sweet called sbrisolona. It tastes almost like shortbread with lots of almonds, not too sweet but dense and nutty. We bought several pieces of it at a bakery called Casa del Pane that had the most beautiful range of sweets and breads, including a large variety of long bread sticks in a variety of flavors, from onion to red pepper. We kept some of the sbrisolona for the next day and it was still crumbly and nutty, a perfect snack while walking around with friends in the afternoon. A recipe for sbrisolona can be found here.