• ”my
    Award Winning Recipe Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
  • myTaste.com
  • Proud member of FoodBlogs
  • Advertisements

    Ravioli di Ricotta

    Insane. I am telling you I am insane. Perhaps certifiably insane.

    Those of you who know me well are reading this and nodding your heads in agreement. I know. I have come to terms (mostly) with my insanity and am beginning to embrace it – as a southern woman would, gardening in big ugly hats, drinking see tea and having many cats. Being in Maine ones insanity eccentricity comes in a slightly different form – Bean boots, Allen’s Coffee Brandy (honestly, I have never had it and never will) and making maple syrup.

    When I gear up for the winter, I fill our house with wonderful ingredients, the Dear One fills it with firewood, I hang the window quilts I made, and I scour recipes for projects. Recipes I might not have as much time on my hands to try when the sun is shining and we’re puttering in the garden or working way too hard.

    This particular project started with a birthday gift from my dear husband – a pasta maker. We made fettuccine and spinach fettuccine – a dessert pasta may be on my list.

    And while this kept us occupied for a while, we wanted more. I have been making ravioli with my Mama for most of my life. She will undoubtedly say you only started helping in your 20s, but at this point in time, and at my age, that IS most of my life.

    I have ravioli forms that my mother gave me and they’re great, but I thought … we have this machine there must be an attachment to make ravioli. And there was! When my in-laws asked what we’d like for Christmas, without hesitation, we both said – a ravioli attachment for our pasta machine!

    It’s obviously taken some time for us to get to this point. I would look at it. It frightened me. I walked away. It sat staring at me, taunting me, daring me to try making ravioli with this machine.

    It snowed. I was bored. HEY! Let’s make ravioli!

    First the filling:

    • 1 pound fresh ricotta, drained if wet
    • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 t freshly grated lemon zest (from about 1/2 a lemon)
    • 1 C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
    • 1 large egg
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    In a large bowl combine the ricotta, nutmeg, lemon zest, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 1 egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir well, and set aside.

    Now the difficult part, the ravioli dough:

    • 3 2/3 C all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 T olive oil (optional)

    Mound the flour on a clean work surface and create a well in the center. Place the eggs, egg yolks, and oil (if using) in the center. Using a fork, whisk the eggs and oil together and slowly start dragging the flour into the egg mixture. Knead by hand until all the ingredients are well combined and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

    (Alternatively, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on medium speed, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.)

    NOTE: I was seriously lazy. I used the stand mixer. THIS SUCKED. No, really. It was terrible. I finally got it to the right consistency, but it took forever. More flour, more water, more oil. No more lazy.

    Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or place it in a covered bowl and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

    Set up a pasta machine and turn it to the largest opening. Cut off pieces of dough about the size of an egg. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into sheets about 1/8-inch thick.

    NOTE: You start at zero, and with each pass through you raise the number. We went to #6

    Lay 1 pasta sheet flat on a lightly floured work surface and determine approximately where the halfway point is lengthwise.

    Lay the pasta dough in the machine, folded edge on the roller, with the dough lying on either side of the machine. Turn crank 1/4 turn to start dough feeding.

    Put the filling shoot into the machine and crank slowly. Keep adding filling as you crank the dough through the machine. Repeat and repeat.

    Let dry for 10-15 minutes and pull the ravioli apart and boil right away or let dry completely and freeze.

    The easiest way to do this is roll a sheet and fill – roll a sheet and fill – roll a sheet and fill.

    NOTE: Okay. These are the prettiest photos. The beginning part of this process was hell. Rolling the pasta sheets was difficult. Filling? Can’t even talk about it yet. But I keep finding filling in my hair. I used a ravioli/pasta/pastry cutter to help separate the ravioli.

    I’ve gone through all the trouble to make this ravioli, I need the perfect sauce. I scoured the internet and came across this sauce from Giada De Laurentiis. Her dish and ravioli was different, but I found the sauce intriguing.

    • 6 T unsalted butter
    • 2 T balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/3 C toasted, chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 C grated Parmesan

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil, 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli.

    While the ravioli is cooking, in a medium sauté pan melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

    Transfer the ravioli to the pan sauté pan with the balsamic brown butter. Gently toss. Sprinkle walnuts and cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

    Advertisements

    Panna Cotta with Berries

    Panna Cotta finished

    Let’s make dessert.

    Sure. What do you want for dessert?

    Panna Cotta. Please. I love Panna Cotta!

    You love Panna Cotta? Well, if you love it, I’ll make it for you.

    PANNA COTTA? SERIOUSLY!? I can’t make Panna Cotta! Off to the bookshelf I go to find a recipe that isn’t going to make my head explode by just looking at the recipe! And to the rescue came Giada de Laurentiis and an easy to make Panna Cotta from Everyday Italian.

    It was silky and smooth and really yummy. Easy to put together and not a lot of fussy ingredients.

    When a Panna Cotta lover tells you it was the best Panna Cotta they’d ever had, you know you’ve done well!

    • 1 C whole milk
    • 1 T unflavored powdered gelatin
    • 3 C whipping cream
    • 1/3 C honey
    • 1 T sugar
    • Pinch salt
    • 2 C assorted fresh berries

    Place the milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.

    Pour milk mixture into a heavy saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes.

    Mixing

    Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    Pour into 6 wine glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.

    Spoon the berries atop the panna cotta and serve.

    HOW EASY WAS THAT!?

    Pork Chops Agrodolce

    Pork Chops Agrodolce

    I have seen this recipe many times – on the Williams-Somoma website, Giada de Laurentiis, Mario Batali – and all had a certain appeal. That wonderful combination of sweet and sour. And that sweet and sour comes from two of my favorite ingredients – balsamic vinegar and honey! What could be better? Oh, one thing – it’s so quick to make! It’s one of those meals you can do last minute if on a work night you decide to torture yourself and invite a friend around for dinner!

    Ingredients

    Best part, it’s just a few ingredients, and pantry ingredients really. Couple this with potatoes or couscous and a salad and you are DONE!

    • 4 bone-in pork chops, each about 1 lb. and 1 inch thick
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 1 T olive oil
    • 2 T honey
    • 1/2 C balsamic vinegar
    • 1 t minced fresh thyme
    • 1/2 C chicken broth
    • 2 T unsalted butter

    Seasoning Pork

    Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.

    Cooking Pork

    In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chops and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

    Reduce the heat to medium. Add the honey, vinegar and thyme and cook until the liquid is thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer.

    NOTE: The balsamic vinegar gets very dark, very quickly, and will go from dark to burned even quicker, so be careful!

    Basting

    Return the pork chops to the pan, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover and cook, turning the chops occasionally and basting with the sauce, for about 15 minutes more for medium doneness. Transfer the chops to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

    Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until the sauce is syrupy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately. Serves 4.

    Pasta alla Checca … sorta …

    There’s just a last hurrah of summer left. A few lovely tomatoes, definitely some beautiful basil. I wanted to cook something that really showcased the freshness of 2 of my all time favorite ingredients.

    And along came Giada de Laurentiiis and her Checca Sauce from Everyday Italian. Granted, this is a very loose interpretation of her original recipe, but the inspiration is all Giada.

    Now, according to her recipe in the book, and as I have written below, the sauce is made in a food processor. And I suppose you could make it in the food processor and it would be fine. But I decided to hand cut everything so that it was slightly chunkier.

    • 8 ounces pasta
    • 4 scallions (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 (12-ounce container) cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 (1-ounce) piece Parmesan, coarsely chopped
    • 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 T olive oil
    • 4 ozs fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    NOTE: I used more than a 1/2 pound of pasta. I also used vine-ripened tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes,4 tomatoes should do it. I removed some of the seeds and pulp so it wouldn’t be too watery..

    Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, 9 to 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, combine the next 7 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped (do not puree).

    NOTE: I chopped the tomatoes, basil, garlic and cheeses by hand. I really preferred the more rustic approach to this dish.

    Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and fresh mozzarella in a large bowl. Add some of the reserved pasta water (about 1/4 cup) if the sauce looks dry. Serve immediately.

    Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

    From the time I was a child, Sunday night in my house has always traditionally been a pasta dinner. Truthfully, I get so tired of meatballs and sauce. I also wanted a pasta without meat to satisfy the vegetarians …

    It’s also been a slow-ish summer for me cooking-wise. Haven’t reached for the books on the shelves recently – and, after all, isn’t that the whole point of this blog?

    So, it had to be pasta, had to be good … running REALLY late (as always), so it had to be quick.

    You don’t get quicker, or tastier, than Giada de Laurentiis’ Sundried Tomato Pesto from Everyday Italian. Not many ingredients, simple prep, and delicious. Must have been … every morsel was gone, always the sign of a successful dinner!

    This pesto is also great as a spread … yum, bruschetta … just leave out the step at the end adding in the pasta water. Oh, and don’t make or add the pasta!

    • 1 lb penne pasta
    • 1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 C (packed) fresh basil leaves
    • 1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan

    Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped.

    Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.

    Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve.

     

    NOTE: And you’re DONE! In the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, dinner is ready. Add a loaf of bread and a salad and you’re off to the races!