Chef Nicotra created this dish when he was working at the helm of the Michelin-starred restaurants Villa Marchese and Villa Speranza in Sicily. It is the most-ordered dessert whenever it appears on the Felidia menu.
- 2 cups homemade ricotta (about 1 pound) (see here)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/3 cup dry red wine, or more as needed
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, toasted, plus more for garnish
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Honey, for drizzling
Spoon the ricotta into a large fine-mesh sieve, or a colander lined with a double-folded cheesecloth or a basket-type coffee filter. Place the sieve or colander over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the ricotta to drain in the refrigerator at least overnight, or up to 24 hours. Discard the liquid in the bottom of the bowl.
For the dough, combine the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the oil, vinegar, and 1/3 cup wine. Process the dough, adding more red wine a few drops at a time if necessary, until the dough is smooth and supple and comes together on the blade. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
For the filling, combine the drained ricotta and 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Fold in the chocolate, orange peel, and pistachios. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to 1/16 inch thick, about the thickness of a dime. Cut the dough into 2-inch rounds, and transfer them to a lightly floured kitchen towel. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Gather the scraps together, reroll them, and cut as many rounds as possible. You should have about twenty-four. Poke each circle with a fork a few times so it doesn’t puff when fried. Let the dough rest at least 15 minutes before continuing. (You can also cut the dough into quarters and run it through a pasta machine at the next-to-last setting.)
Pour enough of the oil into a large, heavy skillet to fill to about 1 inch, and heat to 350 degrees, measuring with a deep-fry thermometer. Add as many rounds of the dough to the oil as will fit without touching one another. Fry, turning the cannoli once, until both sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes total.
Transfer the cooked cannoli to paper towels to drain, and fry the remaining rounds, waiting for the oil to reheat as necessary. Cool the cannoli completely before continuing.
To assemble the cannoli, place a circle of the fried dough in the center of the serving plate, and top with a scant 2 tablespoons of the ricotta filling. Place another circle of dough on top, followed by another 2 tablespoons of the ricotta filling, and then another dough circle. Make 5 more stacks of cannoli in the same way. Drizzle honey over each, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Sprinkle some of the chopped toasted pistachios and orange peel around the cannoli.