Recipe by Antonio Friscia, Executive Chef, Stingaree
My dad was a wholesale seafood distributor in San Francisco. I grew up delivering fish to restaurants, and I liked the other side of the business. I was inspired by walking into the kitchens and watching the chefs create such amazing dishes.
My dad always cooked at home, and our lives there were centered around the table. In a way, I’ve been around food my whole life. The dinner table was the magnet for our family. Cooking to me is like a family thing every day.
My dad used to trade his fish with a butcher who delivered meat to us. They would work out deals. We had a lot of unique cuts of meat, and my dad used to try to disguise it. The first time he served us tongue, he disguised it as boiled beef. How was it? I loved it. I think that’s why I get meat from local farmers now. I grew up with it, so when I moved to San Diego, I really searched for it.
I like to keep things simple. I like food that is in season, and I don’t stick to any special cultural presentation. I like to mix it up. My roots are Italian and Old World cooking, but I have also spent time in Asia. My family and I love Japanese food. I make it for my kids all the time.
This cannoli recipe is adapted from my grandmother’s recipe. Hers is a secret family recipe so it’s hard to give it out. But maybe you can try it and make your own holiday traditions.
Makes about 50 cannoli
2 lbs (32 oz.) sheep’s milk ricotta (strained with cheese cloth) — can be substituted with cow’s milk ricotta
1½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon extract
½ cup small bittersweet
½ cup candied orange peel
50 prepared cannoli shells (can be found at Italian groceries)
optional: cherries, pistachios, and additional chocolate
HOW TO DO IT
Beat together ricotta, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, cinnamon extract, and orange peel in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed for one minute (do not overbeat). Fold in chocolate chips until combined and chill for about an hour. Spoon filling into pastry bag and pipe some into one end of a cannoli shell, filling shell halfway, then pipe into other end. Repeat with remaining shells.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Garnish open ends with piece of cherry, toasted pistachios, or more chocolate chips.