i heart cooking clubs ~ giada's crab & ricotta cannelloni

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs we begin working with a new chef. Introducing Giada DeLaurentiis who specializes in what I would call Italian inspired bistro dishes. She is a huge believer in using fresh produce and eating seasonally. I am really looking forward to getting into the kitchen and working through her six cookbooks over the next few months. It's going to be delish!

So our first theme was a welcoming party for Miss Giada. I went to my honey and said if we were to have a dinner party what would he want to serve. Instead of sticking with appetizers or antipasti he went straight to the main dish.

Giada's Crab and Ricotta Manicotti is a celebration for your senses. The creamy b├ęchamel sauce combined with the sweetness of the crab and the fragrant basil, oh Miss Molly we have ourselves a party.

This recipe came together fairly quickly for a baked pasta dish. I served it with a fresh green salad and it was quite a hit with my family. They have asked me to add it to our Meatless Friday rotation. Crab can be a little pricey so I will be watching for sales before I make it again. 

This is going to be a fabulous six months. Come and join us over at I Heart Cooking Clubs won't you?

Celebrate the Feats, 
Crab and Ricotta Cannelloni
Recipe from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis

1 box (8 ounces) cannelloni or manicotti pasta (about 12 shells)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Bechamel Sauce, recipe follows

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan, egg yolk, basil, crab, salt, and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill the cannelloni with the crab mixture and place in a buttered baking dish. Top the filled cannelloni with the Bechamel Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Bechamel Sauce:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Mary L. on Foodista