Category Archives: Italian

Italian Wedding Soup Raviolis.. They Burst in Your Mouth!

 

Weekends with lady friends are the best, I think we killed 3 bottles of champagne between us, while making these delicious dumplings. I called upon the help of my Italian friend Sarah who I leaned on heavily for meatballs and ravioli, and my trusty taste tester Jeni, to make this genius idea happen.

I have had a idea circling in my head since hitting up Din Tai Fung. And while I left there a little annoyed (not every dumpling has to be a soup dumpling, JEESE!) I thought to myself, why cant I make this into an Italian thing too. I threw around all the ideas in my head landing on a final perfect, delectable version of a ravioli soup dumpling.

Now here’s the thing, if you don’t want to spend several hours, if not days making this recipe, you can buy solidified chicken stock for your base. No judgement here. But if you want it to taste like love, make the chicken consomme at home. That way when these little suckers burst in your mouth it means that much more. The recipe for that will be at the bottom of the page, (start there) just scroll all the way down if you want to be in the cool kid club.

My ravioli sucks. Sorry kids. Not to disillusion you, but its fucking hard. So I used wontons wrappers to speed up the process and make things uniform. I did it both ways, one way making a dumpling style, using only wonton wrappers (the tastiest and least waseful way) and the other using my ravioli stamp (hella wasteful and more thick)

Italian wedding soup raviolis  (serves 4 healthy eaters)

3 cups chicken consomme (recipe at the bottom of page)

100 tiny meatballs cooked (recipe just above the soup recipe)

100 wonton wrappers

For the sauce made in batches

The juice and zest of 2 lemons

1 sage plant (a small handful per batch)

2 cups of butter quartered

6 cloves finely chopped garlic

a small fistful of fresh thyme

salt

pepper

Putting It All Together

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Place out several wonton wrappers. There is significantly less waste if you fold them. place a meatball, and a teaspoon of the consomme in each wrapper, seal the edges and set them aside in batches.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the wontons for about 3 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon, and briefly set them aside. We did about 4 batches of these. So in each individual batch you’ll use about 1/4 of the sauce ingredients.

In a large pan, while the water is coming to a boil, melt the butter and allow it to brown slightly with the garlic, sage, a large pinch of fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Add in the lemon and lemon zest, give it a stir, and toss in your first batch of of the wontons.  Saute them for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Repeating these instructions with the following batches

Garnish with a little parsely and sprinkle some romano cheese on top.

soup dumplins (19)

These are Sarahs Tasty Balls (halved)

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 c grated parmesan

3 cloves finely chopped garlic

A small handful of chopped parsley

1 egg

1/3 c bread crumbs

a splash of cold milk

1/2 tsp cumin

Salt, Pepper, chili flakes to taste

Mix these ingredients together by hand and form them into cm sized itty bitty meat balls. If you have left over meatball mix you can make several large meat balls to make up for the excess.

Chicken Consomme

1 Whole chicken skin removed

1 yellow onion halfed and seared (save the skins)

2 carrots pealed (save the peals)

1 celery bulb sliced and seared

A few sprigs of thyme

3 bay leaves

A few sprigs of parsley

A few sprigs of oregano

2 tbs salt

1 tablespoon peppers corns

Remove the skin from your chicken and cut it in to quarters. Sear your veggies and place them around the chicken parts. Put the herbs into a spice bag, cheese cloth, or tea strainer and pop them into the pot with the rest of your ingredients. Add water until everything is just covered and bring to a gentle boil. As all that brown sludge comes to the surface, skive it off. Let your chicken brother simmer down over 3 hours. You’ll know its done when you can grab a bone and pull it out of the soup and theres nothing on it. I also check that piece of cartilage that spurs off the chickens sternum, if its gone, you’re done!

Remove the big chunks from the stock, and strain it through a fine mesh sieve and a cheese cloth into a bowl. Let it cool to room temperature and set in the fridge over night (covered). When you wake up there will be (hopefully) A layer of fat on the top of a beautiful golden gelatinous  soup! Yay! You made food magic!  I usually end up with about 6 cups of broth. You’ll probably use maybe 2 cups worth.  If you failed at this life task, pop a packets worth of gelatin in there and carry on. Sometimes we cant win everything.

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Filed under Appetizers, Italian, Pasta, pork, Uncategorized

Shrimp Manicotti is Good For Your Body

Winter nights make for amazing food. Part of what I love about winter, is having every excuse in the book to sit at home, and dream up tasty tasty foods to make, while having zero guilt about not going out into the drizzly mess outside. This dish is actually fairly lazy. With only about 20 minutes of prep and a generous bake time, you’ll have plenty of time to look like you spent all day slaving over a hot stove, when you really spent the day binge watching  Netflix and staring woefully out at the rain.

10 Manicotti – cooked to al dente

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 lb shrimp minced with shells removed

1/2 lb chantrelle mushrooms

1/2 cup romano cheese

6 cloves garlic

1 shallot

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, dill,and oregano

1 tbs butter

salt and pepper

2 cups marinara sauce

12 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Saute shrimp and chantrelles with shallots, garlic and herbs until just cooked, and set that aside too cool. Cook your manicotti to just on the hard side of al dente, usually about half the cook time on the packaging.

Once the shrimp mixture has cooled, mix it with ricotta, half the mozzarella, and Romano cheese add in salt and pepper to taste, and pipe it into your manicotti tubes.( I used a super fancy method of placing all of my mixture into a Ziploc and cutting off a corner at the bottom, and squeezing the mixture through.) After you have piped in all of your mixture, line the bottom of a casserole dish with marinara, place you manicotti over the top, add another layer of marinara, then place a heavy smattering of mozzarella and Romano cheese to the top. Bake it at 400 for 30 minutes.

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Seared Lemon Ahi Tuna with Cannellini Bean Mash

Seared ahi tuna is one of my favorite treats. My lovely cousin stopped by and I decided to make her something special. So I put on my thinking cap, and whipped this bad boy together. The creamy cannellini bean mash mixes really well with the peppered ahi tuna.

1 can cannellini beans

4 slices of bacon, fried and cut into pieces

1 onion chopped

6 garlic cloves minced

1 chicken bullion cube

half cup wine

1/4 cup Romano cheese

a few sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano

1/4 cup heavy cream

zest and juice of 1 lemon

salt

pepper

bacon grease for frying

Fry up your bacon. Using the left over bacon grease, blanch the garlic and onions with a little the lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Add in the herbs, 1/2 a cup of water, wine, lemon juice, beans, and the chicken bullion. Simmer that down until the water has reduced, add in the bacon,  romano cheese, and heavy cream and mash everything together.

For the tuna

2 tuna steaks

Juice of 1 lemon

salt

2 tbs  fresh ground pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Before you start anything marinate the ahi in lemon juice, salt and lemon zest for 30 minutes. Mix together pepper, salt, garlic and onion powder  on a small plate and coat both sides of the tuna. Place oil in a cast iron skillet  on medium high. Sear each side of the tuna for about 1 minute each side. Slice the tuna as you see fit, and place it on top of the cannellini bean mash.

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Dead Men Tell No Tales Black Risotto With Polenta Stuffed Squid Hoods. Release the Kracken!!!

This is one dark abyss you shouldn’t fear. Well… you can fear the prep as your rip your tiny krakens apart, cutting off it eyes, and squeezing the innards from its delightful hood. Risotto is rich. So is this stuffing. This makes enough for 4 people. I highly suggest serving it with a salad just to bring the rich down a notch. The whole thing is very involved, there is multi tasking. It might be a two person job, but its well worth the work.

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For the squid

2 pounds of medium sized whole squid

8 oz finely chopped crimini mushrooms

4 oz diced pancetta cubes (or/and bacon)

2 chopped shallots

2 cloves garlic minced

2 oz crab meat

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

Juice of 1 lemon

1 egg

salt

pepper

1 cup Flour, mixed with 1 tsp baking soda,  and a whisked egg for batter

Oil for frying

To clean the squid, pull the heads the hoods, and set them aside. Remove the gladius (Pokey, semi hard thing sticking out, and squeeze out the innards. Remove the skin layer, thoroughly flush the inside, and stick them in a bowl of lemon juice and salt. Take the head, chop off the eyes, pull off its tiny beak and give it a little squeeze just to make sure you got everything. I told you, its ok to fear this part. I have a low threshold for gross, and this got me a little. Give the tentacles a rinse, and add them to your hoods for about 30 minutes if you have a few squids that are too small for stuffing slice them up. When they finish marinating, pat the tentacles and the hoods dry.

Take the mushrooms, pancetta, garlic, shallots, and celery, and saute them in half the butter with a little salt until blanched. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. While its cooling, cook up 1/2 a cup of cornmeal. Bring 2 cups of salty water (add about a tsp of salt) to a boil and slowly whisk in the cornmeal until it thickens, remove it from the heat, stir in the mushroom mixture, and add in the crab meat, breading, and lemon juice. Once its cool enough to touch, stuff the mixture into the squid hoods. You can spoon it in (painfully messy), or take a pastry bag.. or a ziplock with a corner cut off, and squeeze it in. Secure the hoods shut with a toothpick. Dip each hood into a whisked egg, and dredge it in the flour. Set it on a floured plate while you cook the risotto.

For the risotto

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

5 cups chicken broth

2 packets squid ink

1 minced leek

4 cloves garlic

1 celery stock finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon

a small pinch of saffron

1 cup red wine

salt

pepper

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup Romano cheese

Heat up the chicken broth, and squeeze in the squid ink (try to get it all out of the packets). Leave that on low, so it stays warm and combines well with the ink. Saute the leak with the garlic, lemon zest, celery, saffron, salt and pepper in butter, until its blanched. (At this point heat up the oil for frying your squid) Add the rice to the onion mixture and let it simmer for just a little bit, before you add in the wine. Once the wine cooks into the rice, begin to ladle in the chicken broth, slowly stirring it in until it dissolves into the risotto. Continue to do this until you have about about 2 cups of broth left, and start frying your squid. I did mine only 2 at a time so I could multitask, You have to watch the squid, because if they get too well done, they pop, violently, and you don’t want that at all… mostly because its very scary. Once they are golden brown, place them on a paper towel, to absorb the excess oil.  When you finish ladling in the broth and reducing the liquid, add in a pad of butter, and the cheese, and let it sit for five minutes while you saute the remaining tentacles in a little butter until they stiffen and begin to curl. (They have flavor from the lemon juice and salt you set them in don’t add more seasoning). Sprinkle your little squid buddies on your risotto, and finally serve it all up. Gobble down that black richness till you’re out of breath. You deserve it. You defeated the kraken today. Sooo rich, sooo delicious.

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Seafood Eggs in Purgatory. Its Monday. I Feel Like One of Those Eggs.

I feel like I have a literal and figurative cloud over me right now. Its a typical drizzly, rainy, wet Monday here in Seattle. I’m pretty sure the first world is plotting against me. My device I ordered isn’t functioning right, the Seahawks lost, my rennet and citric acid said it was delivered, but no package is in site, and I bought a $7 gallon of milk to make some beautiful home made mozzarella, that  I’m almost certain its passive aggressively going bad to add a little singe to the burn of not having any cheese making supplies.

Something has become apparently obvious though, after 5 years of being out of the military, judging by that last paragraph, I’ve turned into a whiny little bitch of a hipster. Will one of my good friends, pretty please, drive over here and back hand some sense into me.

This isn’t a tale of innovation, rather, its a tale of up-cycling my leftover marinara. Last night, my super bowl dish was diablo seafood marinara with pecorino crustini. Its absolutely one of the easiest things I make It requires no skill. Huzzah!

Diablo Seafood Marinara with Crustini

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1 jar of your favorite marinara

1 onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

Olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

the juice of 1 lemon

1 lb clams

1 lb shrimp

1 tsp chili pepper flakes

1 sourdough baguette

1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

Parsley for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Slice of a baguette, and give a light coating of olive oil to each side, and set them on a cookie sheet. Gently sprinkle a tad of cheese onto each slice, and pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Saute the garlic and onions in a tsp of olive oil until blanched, Add in your marinara, wine and lemon juice. Bring that to a high simmer and throw in your seafood. Once your shrimp has curled and your clams have opened remove it from the heat, sprinkle with a little pecorino, garnish with some parsley and Viola! You’re done. Eat like half and save the rest for the morning.

For your Eggs in Purgatory

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3 cups of left over Diablo Seafood marinara

4 eggs

1/2 a leftover sourdough baguette

1/2 tsp+ cayenne pepper

Slice up the rest of your baguette and stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes. For the marinara, remove the seafood. and set it aside. You don’t want to over cook the seafood.  Bring the marinara to a simmer, add in the eggs and let them cook. Heat up the seafood for 30 seconds in the microwave, and gently scoop out the eggs onto a plate add the seafood, and your baguette slices, and serve. Now, pardon me while I head off to the range to blow off some much needed steam.

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Lobster Carbonara with Stained Glass Pappardelle Noodles

My family moved from Naples to the UK in the 1800’s, which is why I feel completely comfortable bastardizing this carbonara. Everyone has an excuse, and of course, why would you want to do that to a perfectly lush, and delicious recipe. My answer is always, because I can. As usual, this whole thing came about because I found some more randoms in my freezer. I had bought a bunch of lobster tails that were on sale for $3 a piece, my herb plants needed some love and attention, and I had recently bought one too many eggs. Lastly I really wanted to attempt to make stained glass noodles. It snowballed into something fantastic.

How do you make stained glass noodles? Assuming you know how to make basic pasta dough, first you need to pick a wide noodle like pappardelle or tagliatelle. Second you need a pasta maker. Because rolling it out to paper thin by hand will wear you out. Once you get your pasta to near paper thin, take a few different herbs (I picked parsley, oregano, and thyme), and sprinkle them over the top of the rolled out pasta. Fold it in half over the herbs, and run it through the pasta maker one last time. Only once, or the herbs will tear apart in the noodle. Then lay your noodles on a flat surface, and cut them into 3/4 inch strips. Cook the noodles for 1 to 3 minutes or until al dente.

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For the sauce

4 lobster tails, removed from their shells, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 a cup pancetta or guanciale

4 egg yokes, and 1 large eggs

1 cup finely grated pecorino cheese

1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, thyme, and parsley

salt

pepper

olive oil

1 lb pappardelle noodles.

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Saute the mushrooms, lobster, and pancetta in a bit of olive oil, until the pancetta is just crispy. Set it aside, or on very low while you cook your noodles. While the noodles are doing their thing, whisk the egg, yokes, cheese, salt and pepper until well mixed. When the noodles are finished grab 1/4 cup of the pasta water (just in case) Strain the noodles, remove the pancetta pan off the heat, and quickly add them to the lobster and pancetta. slowly pour in the egg mixture and gently toss until it coats all the noodles, and serve.

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Goat Cheese in Fiery Marinara

One of my favorite things to make from scratch is marinara. Being that it was such a beautiful summer, and I’ve been able to harvest my tomatoes non stop for the last couple weeks, it seemed high time to cook up a batch, just in time for the rainy season (Late September through June, here in Seattle). Everyone seems to know, or have that sly Italian cook in their family. you know, the one that thinks that they are the bees knees by not sharing the whole recipe. Leaving out certain ingredients, to maybe keep you coming back, or in my opinion, its obviously because they are (for lack of a better term) a dick. Let me just let you in on that little marinara secret you all think is sugar. Its not. You great great aunty is giggling at you from her grave right now.  I’ve found that a handful of basil, a red pepper, and half a sweet onion does the sweetening to perfection every time.

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My favorite thing to do with said home made marinara is to broil it with any number of small goat cheese balls. Stick them in the oven on a high broil for a few minutes, and serve it up with some delightful crustini.

For the marinara

4 lbs chopped roma tomatoes at peak perfectly red ripeness

1 lb cherry tomatoes

1 thinly chopped carrot

1 celery stock

1 sweet finely chopped onion

1 chopped red pepper

1 roasted bulb of garlic

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

a handful of chopped basil leaves

1 tsp chili peppers… or less.. or more depending on your preference.

Salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

1 cup of wine

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Cut the top off your bulb of garlic, cover it in olive oil, wrap it in tinfoil, and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350. Saute your  onions, celery, and carrots with olive oil, in a rather large pot. Once your onions have blanched, add in 2 cups of water, the wine, and vinegar, your tomatoes, herbs, and chili peppers.  Let that simmer on medium low for an hour or so. Somewhere in the middle of this, when your garlic has finished, pop those cloves lovingly into the pot as well. After  that hour is up, and your tomatoes have begun to crawl out of their own skin, remove them from the heat, take your hand blender, and blend them until they are a beautiful puree. If you have no hand blender, mash them like you would potatoes, or stick them in an actual blender. Tada! Home made marinara.

Now for the fun. Transfer the marinara into small ramkins, and place 4 or 5 in inch goat cheese balls in each. Toast up baguette slices that you have slathered in olive oil. Pop the ramkins in the oven on a high broil for 3 to 5 minutes and serve!

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Chicken Fajuka. Its a happy little chicken dish.

Every once in a while you pull out of combination of ingredients that come together perfectly to make Chicken Fajuka . Stop googling. Its an inside joke, and a made up word for my favorite new chicken creation. Its a trashcan dish. Meaning you have no idea what to eat, so you pull out a few items residing within your fridge and pantry, that you would otherwise chuck in a few days/weeks/months without having used. I managed to eat in the same region for a few weeks, and much to my amazing luck, I hit the culinary jack pot. I made this lovely dish in 20 minutes, with little to know effort. If you know another name for it please, for the love of god let me know.

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20-30 cherry tomatoes (or tomato melody)

1 finely chopped onion

15 to 20 pitted kalamata or green olives

5 cloves of garlic

5 slices of bacon

6 chicken breast tenderloins

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

a few leaves of fresh oregano

1 cup chicken broth

a splash of wine

salt, pepper, and feta cheese to taste

olive oil

Pasta (or maybe kale if you’re low carbing it)

So, this lovely dish makes no lofty claims on ethnicity. Its american. It has no idea what it is, where it came from, and only knows that most of its ingredients are imported. Probably Italian, some Greek, and maybe a little Spanish (we won’t hold that against it.) Place the olive oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic, olives, and herbs into a pan on high until the onions have blanched .

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In a separate pan, cook your bacon. Remove it and chop it up into half inch pieces. In that same pan, cook your chicken, and then chop it into bite size pieces.

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Once your onions have blanched, toss in your cup of chicken broth and your splash of wine. Allow that to rigorously simmer for a few minutes until the broth has ever so slightly thickened, and throw in your bacon and chicken.

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Allow that to continue to simmer, for a few minutes and serve it over a bed of delicious noodles… or kale.

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