I love learning facts like this while travelling. According to a Tuscan travel guide ‘The average Florentine is more likely to have a leather coat in their home than a child.’ Love it!
Along with the cooking school in Florence, and all the incredible architecture is a city flooded with leather. The San Lorenzo Market in Florence, is just one of many places to find well priced leather. Truly, it is available on every corner and then when you leave Florence and go south in Tuscany, you will find many of the same products and similar prices. The San Lorenzo market is big and bustling and filled with vendors who are determined to sell – so if you like that sort of thing you can easily bargain for a discount and save some money. Smile and ask for a ‘sconto’? If the crazy markets intimidate you – you can find a smaller store to do some browsing. The Scuola del Cuoio or Leather School in Santa Croce is a a leather laboratory that has been around for a long time. Here you can be assured that what you are buying is real leather, and where else can you see skilled craftsman working at their stations.
Now….back to cooking.
At the ‘in Tavola’ cooking school in Florence Italy we made a 4 course meal and this dish was one that we really enjoyed making and eating. This recipe is for the stuffing for the crepes and you can make as is or you could make some alterations on it if you wanted to do it vegetarian style and omit the chicken and veal.
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 100 g. Flour type 00, sifted (all purpose)
- 30 g. Butter, melted
- 250 ml milk
- Whisk together the eggs, salt and a little of the milk. Add the sifted flour a little at a time, whisking it in without any lumps.
- Add the melted butter and remaining milk.
- Put in the refrigerator 30 minutes to rest before using.
- Remove the batter from the refrigerator and stirs well to mix.
- Grease a non-stick crepe pan with butter and heat over medium on the stovetop.
- Once the pan is hot pour a ladleful of batter into the pan turning the pan to evenly coat the bottom with a thin layer of batter.
- Flip when the bottom becomes golden brown and the sides separate from the pan.
- Once you flip count to 3 then move the crepe to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Continue the process until you have used up all the batter.
Spinach Ricotta Ingredients
- 12 homemade crepes
- 100 g. ground chicken
- 100 g. ground veal
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- 100 g. cooked spinach, chopped finely
- 100 g. ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 50 g. grated parmesan cheese
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste ( about 1/2 teaspoon of each)
- 500 g. bechemel sauce (refer to link for bechemel recipe)
- 1 can of tomato sauce, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
- Wash and blanch the spinach if fresh ( or you can you can used thawed frozen as well) Chop the spinach finely with a knife.
- Peel the carrot and onion and chop finely and fry both in 4 Tablespoons olive oil for about 5 minutes.
- Add the meat and continue cooking until the meat has cooked through.
- Add the chopped spinach, salt and pepper.
- Deglaze the pan with the Marsala wine.
- Continue cooking 10 more minutes, adding water if necessary. Let cool and stir in the egg, parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Mix well.
- Stuff the crepes with about 3 heaping spoonfuls in each one and tuck in the ends and roll up to form the cannelloni shape. Arrange in a baking pan that is lined with aluminum foil.
- Put knobs of butter on top and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
- Place into the preheated oven and bake 10-15 minutes. Serve with bechamel sauce spooned over the canneloni’s.
- 100 g. Butter
- 100 g. flour type 00, sifted
- 1000 ml milk
- nutmeg, to taste
- salt, to taste
- Melt the butter then whisk in the sifted flour, little by little.
- Add the nutmeg and continue cooking and stirring for one minute to thicken.
- Put the milk in a separate saucepan and add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil.
- Slowly, add the milk to the flour mixture, whisking continuously.
- Cook sauce for at least 5 minutes over low flame, stirring occasionally.