This concoction was conceived on a Sunday afternoon when our hankering for pasta, indulgence, and seafood met at an apex of creativity and the munchies. The deep, rich flavor of the sea partnered with the creamy béchamel and lemony ricotta dance together in an eye-rolling symphony of orgasmic deliciousness. The licorice notes from the fennel and Pernod add a subtle complexity to this decadent dish. I highly encourage you to try this out on your next date night or dinner party to impress upon your diners an air of sophistication—but more importantly, feeding fine, fucking food to people you love.
1 serving of egg pasta
4 oz grated gruyere cheese
4 oz grated fontina cheese
fennel fronds, micro greens, chopped parsley, and orange zest for garnish (optional—but really worth it)
For the Shrimp Stock:
1 small fennel bulb thinly sliced
1 large banana shallot thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced (paper thin)
6 vine ripe tomatoes diced
2 lbs shrimp shells
2 tbs Pernod
1/2 cup water
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs cream
For the Béchamel:
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup warmed milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
For the Filling:
6 oz ricotta
8 oz jumbo lump crab meat
zest of one lemon
1/4 of the Shrimp Stock
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
salt and pepper to taste
Make the shrimp stock. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the fennel, shallot, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables until translucent, but not browned. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp shells. Coat the shells in the mixture, and sauté until the shells are pink. Add water, tomato paste, and Pernod. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes until it’s reduced by half. Take the mixture and push it through a sieve into a bowl. Use force to extract all the yumminess from the shrimp shells. Scrape the bottom of the sieve as you go. Once all the mixture has been pressed through the sieve, add cream to the bowl. Set aside.
Make the béchamel. Warm the milk in a small saucepan. In a skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter until it foams. Add the flour to create a roux, and whisk constantly. Cook the roux until slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk to avoid lumps. Continue whisking until the béchamel is thick and smooth, about 10 minutes. Add nutmeg and salt. Set aside and cool.
Take pasta dough out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes.
Make filling. Mix together all the ingredients for the filling. Season to taste. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Roll the pasta out using a pasta rolling machine or by hand until it is thin enough where you can see through it slightly. Cut the dough into four equal parts. Roll each part individually. If you’re using a machine, start on the biggest setting and continue rolling it out through each setting until the smallest one. Cover the dough while you continue to roll out the other pieces of dough so it does not dry out.
Cut the rolled out dough into roughly 6 inch by 9 inch rectangles. Scoop 2 tbs of the filling into the center of each pasta sheet to create a long “log”. Roll each pasta sheet with filling into a cylindrical tube about 1 inch past the seam. Trim excess pasta. Repeat until all pasta and filling has been rolled together.
Add 1/4 of the Shrimp Stock into the bottom of a large buttered baking dish. Place cannelloni in a single layer to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Spread on enough béchamel to coat. Pour remaining 1/2 of Shrimp Stock on top of the cannelloni. Top with grated gruyere and fontina cheese.
Place baking dish in the oven uncovered, and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, and let cool for 5 minutes.
Garnish with fennel fronds, micro greens, chopped parsley, and orange zest.