Category Archives: Pasta

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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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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Fried Curried Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Coconut Cream Dipping Sauce

Gnocchi isn’t just for Italian food anymore, kids. Apparently you can make it into a misshapen little gargoyle of a Thai appetizer too. Feel free to make an entire batch, turn on netflix, and pop them in your mouth like potato chips.

Making gnocchi is hard. There are easier renditions, my favorite is Kenji Lopezs’ ricotta gnocchi, mainly because its a lot harder to jack up than its potatoee… cousin. Don’t believe those people that say its really simple. Their beautiful photos, with pristine unfloured hands, gently shaping ridges into the sides with a fork are all a great big lie. Its gooey. Even when you bake the potatoes instead of boiling them (Hint: DON’T boil them). If you add too much flour it changes the flavor and texture, too little and you are covered in the worlds stickiest potato and flour paste. Then, if you feel like making your little dumplings a bit more lovely you better place their little friends in a pile of flour, otherwise they’ll melt to your counter/baking mat/each other/what ever surface you’re using. Once you get the hang of it though, like everything else in life, it becomes simple, because you know what to expect.

For the Gnocchi

2 sweet potatoes baked (1 hour) or microwaved 8 minutes)

1 1/2+ cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tbs curry powder

Coconut oil for frying

Remove the potato from their skins after baking or microwaving them, and run them through a ricer, or mash them until all of the lumps are gone. Add in the salt, brown sugar and curry powder. Fold in your flour. The consistency that you are looking for is still slightly sticky but still easy to cut and separate into sections. Cut it into 4 sections, and roll them into worms approximately 3/4″ thick, and chop those into 1 inch pieces. In a large frying pan, melt coconut oil and throw in your gnocchi in batches, making sure they are crispy and lightly browned on each side. While the others are waiting to cook, you should have them resting on a light bed of flour, so they don’t stick to everything.

Dipping sauce

1 can coconut cream

1 chicken bullion cube

1 tbs red curry paste

1 stock chopped lemon grass

1 shallot minced

4 garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup thai basil chopped

1/4 cup cilantro chopped

juice of 1 lime

5 red chili peppers

salt and pepper

Put your coconut cream in a sauce pan, and add in all of the above ingredients. turn the heat to medium low, and let it simmer, occasionally stirring it, while you make your gnocchi. Once you have simmered it down a tad, pour it into a blender and puree (or use a hand blender). And there you have it.

Note: This is equally as tasty with sriracha mayo. Buy it or make your own with half a cup of mayo and two tablespoons of sriracha

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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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Crab Ravioli Nero (insert explative here)

I was so excited to do this. Had I not gotten skunked on the pier squid jigging, I would probably still be squeezing ink out of little squid butts right now, but I was lucky enough to find some at my local Italian specialty store.  I read maybe 30 recipes, researched sauces, fillings, different pasta making styles, and I really must say nothing prepared me for what a bitch making this by hand  was. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself, I had a blast taking turns vigorously rolling out my pasta with my boyfriend. He was like the relief man in CPR. I’m not sure what the difference would be had I actually been able to find any 00 flour to make the pasta dough but in my mind right now, that was an exhausting error that wont be repeated. It felt like I was trying roll out leather. I want a pasta maker. Right now. In case I get a wild hair, and think that this is a good idea ever again.

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For the black pasta

4 eggs

3 1/2+ cups of 00 flour. (seriously get it…. then tell me if it makes that much of a difference. I’m DYING to know)

2 packets of cuttlefish or squid ink (about 1 tbs each)

for filling

8 oz dungeness crab meat

1/4 cream cheese

1/4 cup ricotta

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes

garlic powder

pepper

For the sauce

1/2 a stick butter

3/4 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

juice of half of a lemon

salt, and pepper to taste

Whisk up  your eggs and squid/cuttlefish ink. I didn’t do this, but I’m pretty sure that it would have alleviated a lot of self doubt had I started out that way. Gently mix that into your flour. It will not get completely black until you knead it. You’ll know you’re done kneading when your  soul feels like its about to die. You’ll then shake off your exhaustion, and realize that your roll of dough is black, and just the way you want it.

Its now time to start rolling out your pasta. If you didn’t get that 00 dough, you need to remember that its going to be very springy. Don’t let that knock you down though. Rolling your dough out is possible. It is also exhausting. At this point your should probably wash your hands and pour yourself a glass of wine. Drink half, and get to it, you are after all, making Italian food. Its almost mandatory that you have at least a glass while you make it. Roll the dough out until its about 1mm thick.  The best process is to get it rolled out flat, and then start at one edge, and roll as hard as you can.. I was thinking about taking up crossfit, and then trying this again with my shitty not 00 flour. (Are you getting my point?)

Next cut your dough into a square and cut the square into approximately 2x2in squares. Brush water over the top of them, and place a small amount of your crab dip in the middle. Squish your ravioli together around the edges, and repeat. Once you have finished, place them on a lightly floured wax paper, and start on your sauce. (I’m serious about the wax paper. Home made pasta is like rubber cement on crack. Its ridiculous how much that dough can stretch when its slightly sticky and wet.)

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I chose a vodka alfredo with a touch of lemon to compliment my seafood. It was good. But I honestly think a red sauce would have been better, and certainly less fattening.

Boil your raviolis for about 5 minutes or until the edges are soft/al dente, smother in your sauce and enjoy.

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This is a colossal pain in the ass without a pasta maker. I’m sure there’s a hoard of little old Italian grannies, with biceps like Popeye laughing at me right now, but the pasta maker, and the correct flour would have made my life a lot easier. It was delicious though..

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