26 March 2012

Petuba Canneloni - delicate and delicious

See the Peppadew Piquante Pepper in the foreground
So - you get sent some Turkey products to play with, plus a jar of Peppadew Piquante Peppers to mix it up a little bit.  Now if you're my hubby, the first thing you think of is "stuffing for canneloni".  Wouldn't have been my first thought (which was "pie", using the pieces of turkey leg), but I was willing to go with it and see where we wound up.

Where we wound up, was with a simply scrummy pasta dish of canneloni tubes filled with a delicate mousse-like mixture of turkey, bacon and peppers, all covered in a delicious creamy white sauce with melted cheddar cheese.  Oh - and a bit of salad, which fades into obscurity in the face of such deliciousness.

A quick word about the Peppadew Piquante Peppers - which I hadn't sampled before and which are almost addictive in their tongue tinglingly sweet tanginess!  Not expecting them to be chilli peppers, I popped one into my mouth whole to try.  Wow!  What an explosion of flavour from such an innocuous looking little round pepper!  First they're incredibly sweet, then the piquancy breaks through, closely followed by a steam train of warmth which is all rounded off by an overall fruitiness.  They are absolutely brilliant and we included some in the salad, which was a masterstroke where inclusion of flavours was concerned.

Pepper, Turkey & Bacon mousse filling - filled!
Now I didn't do the cooking for this one - hubby did the lot.  As you will see, this isn't a recipe to attempt if you've only got an hour or so.  In fact, I believe that the way hubby approached it - in stages and throughout the day - is probably the best way to go (even if you do feel as though you've been cooking the darned dinner all day long).

His first move was to cook the bacon & turkey and leave them to cool completely.

The next move was to assemble the mousse and fill the canelloni tubes, then make the white sauce.

Finally, he reheated the sauce and brought the dish together before baking it in the oven.  So it very definitely isn't what you'd call a "simple" dish to make, although none of the stages are particularly difficult to achieve (except, maybe, for piping the filling into the canneloni tubes, when it is helpful if your piping bag doesn't split asunder!).

Baked and ready to serve
The only changes to the dish that he would make if he were to create it again, would be firstly to have a greater difference in size of the turkey pieces in the mousse.  He felt that it would have been more interesting to have found slightly larger pieces rather than an amalgous whole, and secondly, to have included more bacon (both of these points have been included in the recipe below).  For all that the bacon was there, it wasn't as obvious a flavour as he would have liked.

For me, it was just divine how it was - but then it wasn't my creation!

Oh, and the origin of the name?  Well, it's PEpper, TUrkey and BAcon .... :)

A closeup of the mousse filling - yum!


Ingredients :

250g smoked streaky bacon
2 turkey breast steaks (approx. 350g)
250g Ricotta cheese
75g double cream
30g greek yoghurt
1 pack cannelloni
5 Peppadew piquante peppers, finely sliced

125g grated cheddar cheese.
For the white sauce :
85g plain flour
85g butter
1 - 1.5 pints semi skimmed milk
pinch of nutmeg
pinch dried mustard powder
salt & pepper.

Method :

For the Cannelloni Stuffing

1.  Place all but three of the bacon rashers under the grill and cook until crispy.  Set these aside to cool.

2.  In a large frying pan, cook the remaining three rashers to the point that the fat has rendered out into the pan.  Add the rashers to the plate to cool.

3.  Add the turkey steaks to the pan and cook completely through.  Finally, stack the cooked turkey steaks on top of the bacon rashers, cover in clingfilm, before leaving to cool completely.

4.  Once cooled, chop the turkey and the bacon into smallish chunks and place into a food processor.  Turn on the processor to reduce the meat to your desired texture, be that finer or chunkier but bear in mind that the final mixture must be able to pass through a piping bag.

5.  Tip the meat into a large bowl and add the ricotta, cream, and yoghurt, plus the peppers.  Stir until mixture resembles a light mousse.  You may need to add more cream or yoghurt to achieve this.  Season with ground black pepper and salt but be sparing with the salt as the bacon is very salty to begin with.  Keep tasting and seasoning until you are happy with the mixture.

6.  With the nozzle holder in place but without the nozzle itself, fill a piping bag with the mixture and then fill the cannelloni.  If you have made a coarser mixture, you may find that you need to pipe the cannelloni from both ends.  The ingredients listed here should fill roughly 20 normal sized cannelloni or between 8-10 large ones.

Once filled set the Cannelloni aside onto a plate.

For the White Sauce
I used to be quite scared of the idea of making white sauce but it really is very straightforward so long as you can give it your undivided attention for 15 minutes or so.

1.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and then add in the flour.  Stir vigorously until the flour and butter combine into a thick paste called the roux.  Keep stirring to make sure that the roux does not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Cook for three to five minutes. 

2.  Take the pan off the heat and stir in enough milk to loosen the roux.  Once this has happened, return the pan to the heat, and keep stirring.  The mixture will thicken very quickly and whenever it does this, add more milk to loosen it.  Don't be alarmed if the sauce looks lumpy at this stage...it'll all be fine in the end.....honest!

3.  Swap your spoon for a balloon whisk and keep whisking vigorously, adding more milk whenever needed.  Season the sauce with salt, pepper and a pinch each of ground nutmeg and mustard powder.

4.  After about 15 - 20 minutes your white sauce should be silky smooth and the consistency of good double cream.  Any thicker than this and you'll need to add more milk.
5.  Either progress immediately to the next stage, or cover your saucepan with cling film and set aside.

This white sauce can be made ahead of time and can even be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks.  From this basic sauce, all manner of other sauces can be made by adding things like cheese, or herbs or whatever takes your fancy.  In addition, it makes a good base for savoury pie fillings....handy stuff this!

For the Assembly

1.  Preheat an oven to 180c or 170c for a fan oven.  Take a large oblong oven dish (a lasagne dish is perfect) and put a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom.  Arrange the filled cannelloni on top of this layer and then pour over the rest of the sauce, making sure that all of the pasta is covered.

2.  Place your dish into the oven for 15 minutes.  At the end of the 15 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle liberally with the grated cheddar.  Please feel free to use more cheddar than I've recommended if you're feeling naughty, or mix it with 50g of grated parmesan if you like it extra cheesy.

3.  Return the dish to the oven for 20 minutes, rotating it after 10 minutes if, like me, you have an oven that's hotter at the front than at the back.

4.  When ready, the cheese will have turned golden and the cannelloni can now be served with a light salad.



  1. Hello, PETUBA is a last name...Camila Petuba, its me, here in Brazil!!! Really funny, i loved it :) Im gonna make this canneloni over here with family...delicious and delicate!!!

    1. Oh, how lovely! :D It hadn't occurred to me that "Petuba" would be anyone's name. Thank you for making yourself known! Oh, it would be brilliant if you did make the Canneloni - do come back and tell me how you find it, won't you?

  2. these look lovely, definitely one I will give a try!

    1. They were completely gorgeous, Helen - well worth the effort, I'd say. But then I would, because I didn't make them - hubby did! LOL :)


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