Mom de Cuisine


Make-Ahead Monday: Four Cheese Spinach Ravioli
January 9, 2012, 9:52 am
Filed under: Main Course, Pasta & Rice | Tags: , ,

My husband and I are old fuddy duddies.  We prefer to stay in on New Years Eve, put the kids to bed, make a nice meal and try desperately to stay up until midnight.  This year, we decided to have another cook-off to bring in the New Year and the challenge was pasta.  My husband thinks he makes the best spaghetti around, and I will admit it is good, but he cheats.  He uses premade meatballs, jarred pasta sauce and dried noodles (sorry to give away your secrets honey, but it’s true.)  I thought I wanted to do ravioli and since he says he hates ravioli (not true) I knew the only way to get him to admit that my pasta was better was to make everything from scratch.

As always, his dish did turn out pretty good (see honey, I can give credit where credit is due) but mine was better.  I mean, I did make everything from scratch.  But I realized the recipe for the dough made a lot of raviolis and I knew I wasn’t going to eat them all that night-after all I had no chance to stay up to midnight if I was totally stuffed.  So I froze half of the batch just to see if it was any good. 

Well it worked.  A few nights later I wanted something quick to make, filled with carbs and loaded with cheese and this hit the spot.  Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook, and even freezing the fresh stuff only added about another 30 seconds to the cooking time.  I actually really loved this, because after all the prep work was done, fresh pasta on the table in less than 15 minutes is a winner in my book-plus it just looked so pretty!

Spinach Ravioli Stuffed with Four Cheeses

Adapted from Pasta Dough on Epiciurious.com

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh spinach, finely chopped (in the end, I probably had about 2 tablespoons after I chopped it all down)

1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large egg yolks

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

 ½ cup ricotta cheese

¼ cup shredded Italian cheese blend (I used parmesan, Asiago, Romano)

1 egg

2-3 basil leaves, finely chopped

Tomato sauce for serving (I added some ground beef because I knew my husband wouldn’t “like” it without meat)

 

Preparation:

Combine the first seven ingredients in a food processor.  Process until dough just forms into a ball.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes, adding more flour if needed to keep it from sticking. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

While the dough is resting, combine the cheeses, egg, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Follow directions on your pasta roller to roll out sheets of dough for ravioli.  I used my Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment and found that the fourth setting was the perfect thickness for the ravioli.

With your sheet of pasta dough laid out on a floured surface, place a teaspoon of filling across the dough, a few inches apart.  Use a pastry brush to brush the other half of the dough with water and fold over the filling.  Press around the filling to seal the edges.  Using a ravioli cutter cut out the ravioli and place on a lined baking sheet. 

At this point, you can freeze the ravioli for 30 minutes on the baking sheet or until it’s set, then place them in an airtight container in the freezer.  I froze mine for a week and they tasted fresh, but I think they may keep for up to a month. 

Alternately, if you are cooking the pasta right away, place individual ravioli into a pot of salted, boiling water, and being careful not to over crowd the pot.  When the ravioli float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve with tomato sauce and extra cheese.

p.s. check out my link on this blog hop!



Skinny Carbonara
November 2, 2011, 11:21 am
Filed under: Main Course, Pasta & Rice | Tags: , ,

 

 

 

I’ve mentioned before that when my husband has to be away for work, I usually take the opportunity to try a recipe I know he probably wouldn’t want to eat and watch movies he probably wouldn’t want to watch.  Well this last time my husband was away for the evening, I wanted to make carbonara.  It’s not that I haven’t made it before, I have plenty of times; or even that my husband doesn’t like it, he does; but because it’s probably high in cholesterol, I thought it best I not make it and not offer him any.  When I made this pasta, it was the middle of the week, and my running shoes have been gathering dust (well I should say sand) since we moved, so I wanted to do a lighter version of carbonara. 

Instead of whisking the yolks with heavy cream, I used 2% milk; I omitted an extra pat of butter at the end to finish the pasta; I threw in a handful of spinach for good measure; and instead of pork bacon with all it’s salty, fatty, high calorie goodness, I swapped for turkey bacon.  Just the swap out for turkey bacon saved me like 100’s of grams of fat (I’d be over exaggerating if I hadn’t eaten 10 pieces of turkey bacon!)

The verdict:  this was a good weeknight pasta dish.  It wasn’t as decadent as the carbonara I would have liked to eat, but it comes together quickly and isn’t too unhealthy (if you can refrain from eating 10 pieces of turkey bacon along the way like I did.)

 

 

Skinny Carbonara

Ingredients:

3 cups dried bow tie pasta (or whatever shape you like, that’s just what I had on hand.)

4 egg yolks

1 cup milk

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

4 slices turkey bacon

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped

 

Preparation:

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta until al dente and drain, reserving few tablespoons of the pasta water.

While the water comes to a boil, brown the bacon over medium low heat to render the fat.  Once the bacon is browned and crispy, remove it from the pan and roughly chop.  Add the onions to the pan with the drippings and sauté (if there is not enough of the bacon drippings, add a little more oil to the pan.)  After 2-3 minutes, add the garlic.

While the bacon is browning, combine the yolks, milk and cheese.  Add a tablespoon or two of the pasta liquid to the yolk mixture to temper the eggs.

To assemble the pasta:  Add the hot pasta and spinach to the pan with the onions and garlic.  Pour in the yolk mixture and toss until all of the pasta is coated and the spinach wilts slightly.  Serve the pasta immediately with the chopped bacon on top.



Lemony Bay Scallop Penne
September 17, 2011, 9:49 am
Filed under: Fish, Main Course, Pasta & Rice | Tags: , , , , ,

 

So remember my husband was recently gone on a trip?  You know, when I made him Oxtail Ragu as a welcome home?  Well I really shouldn’t have because while he was gone, he ate amazing food, probably better than what will ever come out of my kitchen.  The night he came home, my hubby told me all about the multi-course meal he had from this little hole-in-the-wall.  Seafood trays, fresh pastas and sauces, and plenty of wine to wash it all down.  Yeah, that’s right, he was in Italy….without me….but it was for work, so I guess that’s a viable excuse for leaving me out. 

But he knew I would be jealous that I missed out (yes, I was but I’m slowly getting over it) so he brought home some loot-pasta and a variety of cheeses.  He knows me well.  I’ve spent the last week thinking of what I wanted to make with my pasta and cheese.  I decided a light sauce and a little seafood would be great.  We could really taste the flavor of the pasta, and I used the peppery cheese which added a nice kick. 

 

 

Since we waited until the kiddos were in bed to eat (I couldn’t stand to let my picky kids push a plate of this away telling me they don’t like it without trying it) I had to quickly snap some pictures in my dark kitchen before we devoured it.  I debated posting this one, as the photos aren’t very clear, but I thought only other foodies would appreciate this almost as much as I did. 

 

Lemony Bay Scallop Penne

 

Ingredients

1 Package Penne

2 lbs Bay Scallops, patted dry

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 shallots, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon white wine

1 cup white wine

1 cup milk (I used 2% because that’s what we had, but for a more rich taste, you could use whole milk or even whipping cream)

2 tablespoons cheese (I used the peppered cheese pictured, which tasted like a combination of sharp cheddar and parmesan)

Basil, for garnish

Salt/pepper to taste

 

Preparation:

Boil the penne in salted water until al-dente.  Drain and rinse

While the penne cooks, salt and pepper the scallops.  Heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the scallops on both sides.  Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe pan clean. 

Add the butter to the scallops pan.  Melt and add the onions and sauté until tender.  Add garlic and lemon zest and sauté 2 more minutes, or until fragrant.  Add flour and cook 2-3 minutes.  Whisk in the white wine and lemon juice until sauce is smooth.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Add the milk and cheese and stir until cheese melts.  Add the scallops back to the sauce and cook 2-3 minutes or until scallops are cooked through.  Toss sauce with the pasta.  Salt/pepper to taste.  Top with fresh basil and serve.