pasta

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Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce, Part II

Published December 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

Over the weekend, I was asked to lead a cooking party, teaching a group of ladies how to make pasta, along with a few other things – but pasta was the main attraction.  As you may know, I posted this recipe a few weeks ago when I made it with Momma Marsha, and neither her nor Nate were huge fans.  They said it was fine, but something was missing.  Seeing as though I planned to make it for this cooking party, I had to perfect it.  Funny enough, all I did was add more cheese (mozzarella).  Also, I used whole milk ricotta, rather than low fat, hoping it would give more flavor (though I don’t think ricotta has much flavor to begin with, which was probably part of the problem during the first run through).  And it did, at least, that’s what Nate thought because he loved it the second time around.  Note to self: if something doesn’t taste just right, add more cheese. 

Swiss Chard Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

The ladies seemed to be pleased as well, so I would say this re-make was a success!  I also changed the pasta dough recipe, as Chef Bush’s didn’t seem to work as well as the one I made with Momma Marsha.  Much easier to work with.

Swiss Chard Ravioli

Swiss Chard Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Source: Adapted from Chef David Bush/St. Francis Winery
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

For the smoked onion tomato sauce:
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 quarts tomatoes, diced
salt

For the pasta dough:
1 3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt

For the pasta filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup ricotta
1 cup mozzarella, shredded

Directions:

1. Make the smoked onion tomato sauce.  Place onion slices in foil and lightly wrap.  Smoke in electric smoker on low for about 4 hours.  Preheat oven to 350.  Transfer onions from smoker to oven and cook until onions are soft, about 1 hour.  In a food processor, pulse onions until coarsely chopped.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring tomatoes to a simmer.  Add smoked onions and season with salt to taste.  Simmer for 15 minutes to incorporate the smoked flavor.  Place tomato mixture in food processor and pulse to make a slightly chunky sauce.

3. Make the pasta dough. Mix all ingredients in a food processor.  It’s important that the dough not come together, rather resemble coarse cornmeal.  Turn mixture out onto work surface and knead a few times.  Add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

4. Make filling for ravioli. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add Swiss chard and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer chard to a mixing bowl and let cool.  Add egg, breadcrumbs, salt, nutmeg, ricotta and mozzarella.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.

5. Separate dough into 4 portions.  Using one portion, keeping the rest wrapped in plastic, knead and begin to roll out into sheets using a pasta roller.  Place scoops of 1 tbsp filling on pasta sheets, leaving at least 2-3 inches (depending on how large your ravioli cutter is) and cover with second sheet of pasta.  Press the dough firmly together around the filling, trying not to leave any air pockets.  Cut individual ravioli with round cookie cutter or ravioli stamper.  Repeat for remaining dough and filling.

6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add raviolis in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan.  Boil for 3-4 minutes, remove and toss with smoked onion tomato sauce.  Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.

Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Published November 25, 2013 by jenmatteson

Only 4 1/2 months after my 30th birthday, I am finally trying to wrap up my 30 before 30 list.  Disappointing that I couldn’t finish it up before my birthday, but, in case you didn’t know, I was slightly busy getting married this summer 😉

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Speaking of getting married, this recipe comes from Executive Chef David Bush at St. Francis Winery, where we had our dinner in Sonoma, CA after our ceremony.  This was by far the most fantastic meal I have ever had, maybe closely followed by the first food and wine pairing we’d done there in November of 2012. 

As you probably know, I’m not big on cheese, which may make you wonder why my first attempt at homemade pasta would be cheese filled ravioli.  Well, I’m cooking for a dinner party next month, and my client (sounds so official!) decided her and her guests would like to make homemade pasta, and we agreed on ravioli.  So, that being said, I was determined to make this amazing sounding recipe from Chef Bush in hopes it would be perfect for this dinner party.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Making the pasta was actually a lot easier than I imagined.  Momma Marsha and I spent an afternoon trying to man her pasta roller (its the kind that should hook to a countertop, but she doesn’t have a place to do so, so we had to hold it, crank it, and feed the dough in all at the same time – this would have been impossible if it were just me).

I made a few raviolis sans cheese, so more or less just Swiss chard, but most were by the book so Momma Marsha, Leo (my FIL) and Nate could try them and give me their honest feedback.  Unfortunately, the feedback wasn’t what I was looking for.  However, I’m always glad to hear the truth, especially so it can be improved and better for the dinner party.  The ricotta fell flat, so for next time, I think I’m going to opt for a blend of cheeses.  The star of this recipe, however, was the smoked onion tomato sauce.  I absolutely loved it; it would be fantastic on spaghetti with sausage (lightbulb!).  If you don’t have a smoker, I think it’d be just as easy to roast the onions and add a touch of liquid smoke.  Never tried it, so don’t take my word for it.  But if you do try it out, let me know how it turns out.

All in all, this recipe is still a work in progress, but I wanted to be sure to share even my not-so-great recipes.  Though, again, the tomato sauce was killer!

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli with Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Source: Adapted from Chef David Bush/St. Francis Winery
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

For the smoked onion tomato sauce:
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 quart tomatoes, diced
salt

For the pasta dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs
2 tsp salt

For the pasta filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup ricotta

Directions:

1. Make the smoked onion tomato sauce.  Place onion slices in foil and lightly wrap.  Smoke in electric smoker on low for about 4 hours.  Preheat oven to 350.  Transfer onions from smoker to oven and cook until onions are soft, about 1 hour.  In a food processor, pulse onions until coarsely chopped. 

2. In a medium saucepan, bring tomatoes to a simmer.  Add about 4 tbsp of chopped smoked onions and season with salt to taste.  Simmer for 15 minutes to incorporate the smoked flavor.  Save remaining onions for another use.  Place tomato mixture in food processor and pulse to make a slightly chunky sauce.

3. Make the pasta dough. Mix all ingredients in a food processor.  It’s important that the dough not come together, rather resemble course cornmeal.  Turn mixture out onto work surface and knead a few times.  Add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

4. Make filling for ravioli. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add Swiss chard and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer chard to a mixing bowl and let cool.  Add egg, breadcrumbs, salt, nutmeg and ricotta.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.

5. Separate dough into 4 portions.  Using one portion, keeping the rest wrapped in plastic, knead and begin to roll out into sheets using a pasta roller.  Place scoops of 1 tbsp filling on pasta sheets, leaving at least 2-3 inches (depending on how large your ravioli cutter is) and cover with second sheet of pasta.  Press the dough firmly together around the filling, trying not to leave any air pockets.  Cut individual ravioli with round cookie cutter or ravioli stamper.  Repeat for remaining dough and filling.

6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add raviolis in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan.  Boil for 3-4 minutes, remove and toss with smoked onion tomato sauce.  Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese if desired. 

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

Published September 19, 2013 by jenmatteson

How many daily emails do you get?  How many do you get that you just erase before even opening, either because you know what it is and you don’t want it, or because you don’t even care what it is?  I don’t remember when I signed up for daily emails from Food and Wine, but I started getting them a few weeks ago.  BIG MISTAKE.  Not because I’m not interested, and not because I don’t want to see what’s in it.  Just the opposite.  They send daily recipes, in which most sound absolutely amazing.

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

This one was no different.  A few great things about this recipe.  One: Crab.  YUM.  Two: Ravioli, without the hassle of making homemade pasta (I will do this some day…soon hopefully).  Three: No cheese.  Okay, for some (pretty much all) of you, this might sound like a not-so-great-thing, but it was wonderful for me, and still tasted rich, creamy and decadent.

I loved this recipe, though Nate thought it was too rich.  While it is creamy, the crab paired with the tarragon and shallots gives a very fresh, bright flavor.  The recipe says it makes 8 servings, but I got 16 ravioli out of this recipe, so it’s more like 4.  Maybe my wonton wrappers were larger, or I just filled them twice as much.  My grocery store didn’t have clam broth, so I bought seafood stock instead.  I know it’s not the same, but figured it couldn’t be too different.  I also used half-and-half instead of heavy cream for both the filling and the sauce.  In the sauce, I added just a touch of arrowroot (cornstarch would work just as well) to thicken it a bit.  Everything was melded very well and I really loved this recipe.  I would make it for company, but only when Nate wasn’t there since he didn’t care for it as much.

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For crab filling:
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 lb lump crab meat, picked over
1 large scallion, only white part, minced
1 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and white pepper (black is fine if you don’t have white, white just looks better)
32 wonton wrappers

For shallot cream:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup clam broth
1/2 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced
salt and white pepper (again, black pepper would be fine here)

Directions:

1. Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add half-and-half and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Fold in crab meat, scallion, tarragon and mustard.  Season with salt and pepper.

2. On a work surface, lay out 4 wonton wrappers and lightly brush with water.  Scoop about 2 tbsp of crab filling into the middle of each, and top with another wonton wrapper.  Push out any air pockets and firmly press edges of wonton wrappers together.  Trim excess dough with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, round or fluted edge (I don’t have a biscuit cutter, so I trimmed the edges – unevenly – with a pizza cutter).  Transfer to baking sheet in single layer and repeat with remaining filling and wonton wrappers.

3. In a deep skillet, heat olive oil over low heat.  Add shallot and cook until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.  Add half-and-half, clam broth and arrowroot or cornstarch, bring to a boil over high heat.  Once thickened slightly, remove from heat and whisk in mustard and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

4. Cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Ravioli will float to top when they are done, about three minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and add to shallot cream sauce.  Toss gently over low heat and serve immediately.  Garnish with more parsley or chopped chives.

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

Published October 2, 2012 by jenmatteson

I had an open can of pumpkin that I wanted to use up, but since my house was filled with desserts from the weekend, I didn’t want to make anything else sweet.  I decided to go with Nicole’s sausage and pumpkin pasta.  I know it sounds a little out there, and I thought so too, but I loved every other ingredient in this recipe, and I’m adventurous, so why not try it?

I wasn’t so confident about Nate though, so I didn’t disclose what we were having for dinner until he was actually eating it.  He saw the turkey sausages in the fridge thawing out, and asked if we were having brats for dinner.  I said, “no”.  Later, he again asked about the “brats” in the fridge.  I told him it was none of his business, though I could sense he was really getting excited for “brats”.  Finally, I had to break his little heart and tell him that the “brats” in the fridge were turkey sausages and were for dinner.  To his credit, turkey sausages do look a lot like brats.

The pasta was really great!  I was surprised, and actually expected it to be a little more pumpkiny, but the sausage really was the star of the show.  Perhaps this was because I like to buy the hot turkey sausages, but still, I thought the pumpkin would have been more prominent.  Nate and I both had a second small serving it was so tasty.  I think next time I would use just a little more sage, but beyond that, it was curiously delicious.

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: 4

12 oz whole wheat pasta
1/2 lb italian turkey sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
4-6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp rubbed sage
salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

2. Spray a deep skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add sausage and onion and cook until sausage is almost cooked through.  Add mushrooms and garlic.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Drain juices if necessary.

3. Add chicken broth, wine, pumpkin, sage, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

4. Spoon mixture over pasta, garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

Recipe Swap: Penne Rosa with Shrimp

Published September 21, 2012 by jenmatteson

It’s time for another recipe swap, and this month, I was assigned Carrie’s Sweet Life.  Carrie is a fellow Minnesotan, and though we’ve never met in person, I feel we at least have some sort of  a local connection.  I was excited to see that I was assigned her blog, but definitely faced with a tough decision.

So many of her recipes looked wonderful, but in an attempt to add more seafood, and not as much chicken, I settled on Penne Rosa with Shrimp.  **Now that I’m looking back to link her blog, I’m seeing a new recipe for Honey Banana Peanut Butter Muffins.  I will be back!

In Carrie’s evaluation of her penne rosa, she said it was good, but she didn’t love it.  There wasn’t an indication as to why she didn’t love it, but I of course interpreted this as needing more flavor.  I made a few minor additions in an attempt to really bring out some deeper flavors.  One thing that stuck out to me is that there was a minimal amount of seasoning, so I added some fresh basil and red pepper flakes.  Additionally, I added a little white wine to amp up the flavor of the shrimp.  Instead of mincing the garlic, I sliced it so there were a little larger pieces throughout the pasta.  I love that.  If you don’t, mince your garlic.

The result was fabulous.  Nate and I really enjoyed this pasta, and the leftovers were almost as good (leftover shrimp just never seems the same, but the pasta was excellent!).  The red pepper flakes and basil was a nice combination of heat and flavor, and who doesn’t love a little wine in their shrimp pasta??  The picture doesn’t do it justice – in my opinion, penne is not photogenic.  Also, it’s starting to get dark earlier 😦

Penne Rosa with Shrimp

Source: Adapted from Carrie’s Sweet Life
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

12 oz whole wheat penne pasta
olive oil
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup dry white wine
9 oz fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Cook penne according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

2. In a large deep skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften stirring frequently, about 5-8 minutes.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes and tomatoes and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.  Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Increase heat to medium and add shrimp.  Add white wine and cook until shrimp become bright pink and are almost cooked through (don’t worry, they’ll continue to cook), about 4 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Stir in spinach and cover.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together marinara sauce and Greek yogurt.  Once spinach has wilted, add sauce to pan and turn heat back on low.  Add in pasta and stir until well combined.  Stir in basil.  Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese.


Garlic Cream Sauce

Published June 28, 2012 by jenmatteson

This is a pretty basic sauce that I made for my buffalo chicken pizza, but you could certainly use it as sauce for pasta, fish, or chicken.  Let your imagination run wild!  I’ll get a picture the next time I make it.

Garlic Cream Sauce

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

4-6 cloves garlic (depending on how garlic-y you want it)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk, room temperature
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter and saute garlic over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in flour until a thick paste begins to form.  Slowly add milk, continuously whisking.  Increase heat to medium-high until milk begins to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce reaches desired thickness.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

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