Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rav-i-oli...making Ravioli...

Hi Friends!

I have the old Scout song in my head... I remember my brothers coming home from camp or some scout related thing singing:

"Ravioli, I like ravioli.
Ravioli, It's the best for me.
Have I got it on my chin?
Yes, you have it on your chin.
On my chin?
On your chin. OH-h-h-h."

So as I write this blog...I have that in my head...(actually, and I'd bet I have my mom <who was a scout leader for years> to thank for the fact that I know these lyrics in french better than the American ones!)... but my version is a touch different...

"Ravioli, making Ravioli
Ravioli, making it from scratch
Cranking out the dough so long
make sure your arm is strong
Strong to crank,
all night long.Oh-h-h-h."

Oh I crack me up!

So Saturday night I had the pleasure to join my cooking Meet Up group for a very hands on look at Italian food (and after my horrible experience in NC last weekend...I was craving some hands on Italian food!).  The event was called "Appetite...A Hunger for Italy" which happens to be the name of the novel that our hostess for the evening wrote.  Elena* Bertozzi opened up her home to us and taught us how to make amazing Ravioli!
*pronounced Ellen-a

Elena's book ... I got a signed hard copy and have started reading!

I was so excited to start the process, that I totally forgot to take pictures of the dough making process...but it was so simple!  While it was measured by weight, it was equal parts of AP flour and Semolina, a touch of salt and three eggs with an egg yolk for good measure.  Put that all in the food processor until it comes together and forms a ball ... then let it go one minute more.  Take out, wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

(I remember 20+ years ago trying to make pasta after seeing it done on a PBS cooking show...a mound of flour, a well, eggs and mixing it...hence why I never tried to make pasta again - too messy! Now.. honestly there is no reason that I can't make it fresh when ever I want!)

Once the dough was done and resting, we started on the fillings...the first was Spinach and Swiss Chard sauteed and then mixed in the processor with ricotta (again..forgot a pic..) but the second was Peas and ricotta mixed with smoked salmon. 

I was really unsure if I'd like this, as while I love salmon, I'm not a fan of the strong flavor and texture of smoked salmon.  However, after one of the pickiest eaters I know tried it - I had to.  I really found it to be quite delicious!  The smoked salmon was a very nice compliment to the sweet peas with out being over powering...and with it being processed together, the texture was not an issue.  I'd make this again!

Once the fillings were done...on to making the sheets of pasta.  Elena had a pasta maker clamped to her work bench, and on the biggest setting, we just fed the pasta through a couple of times...letting the machine do the 'kneeding' of the dough.

Starting out...running it through a few times
Ready to start getting smaller and thinner!
Completed sheet of pasta
Once we had the sheet long enough to fill the mold, fill the mold we did...

Filling with the Peas and Salmon
Folding over the pasta and pressing to seal

Out comes the finished product!
We made three different sauces for the Ravioli...One was a simple Sage and Brown Butter sauce... Just a lump of butter...let it melt with sprigs of sage... a simple but delicious sauce!
Just pull out the sage and coat the pasta!
Another was the sun dried tomatoes, braised in red wine and tomato sauce added in...the two different types of tomatoes really added a depth of flavor to this sauce - and I'll be using this trick in the future!

Before the tomato sauce was added 
Adding sauce made from good, sweet Italian canned tomatoes
 And what I think was my favorite... a Walnut kind of pesto sauce...
This is a friend making more of this sauce, but the first
batch is in the small green bowl to the top left.
This sauce started with grinding up garlic with salt to make a garlic paste...then slowly adding walnuts and a piece of ripped up crusty bread...keep grinding (a mortar and pestle is best!)... then add some parsley and milk...keep grinding... add more milk until you get a consistency you like.

We cooked the Ravioli just about seven minutes until the pasta was cooked (and floating)...

and then tossed it in the sauce of choice... here is the walnut one!
At this point, my phone was on the speakers playing Pandora's blend of Italian music for mood, so no further pictures were taken...although I did want to share how pretty this one was...  Elena put leaves of Italian parsley into the dough and then fed it through the pasta maker... 
How Gorgeous is that!
So my friends, the moral of this story is...take a cooking class!  Whether you know how to cook, like to cook, can't cook or just want a fun night out - what a fun night it was.  You learn about food, the process, different ways to do something (like making free form ravioli if you don't have a mold!) and new recipes to try.

I'm already researching recipes on different fillings for some ravioli so I can make something different for Dave.  Braised short ribs... and maybe a seafood one for me.  Hey, do you think I can use my Madeline cookie mold to make ravioli? 
I think this will make cool looking Made-olie's!
I bet I shocked some of you with two posts in two days!  I'm pretty shocked my self, but I did promise to blog more... and hey - so long as someone is reading... I'll keep writing...

Someone is reading, right??

Until Next Time...

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