Pillows of Happiness

That’s what I decided to call them anyway, Pumpkin Ravioli with sage butter. My husband’s parents have been taking care of some family matters and as a result missed Thanksgiving with us (I know it was really hard to resist the garage turkey). They arrived back so I decided to do a special Sunday dinner and try to make something that I had not attempted before. As you know from my posts it is fairly recent that I have attempted and tackled homemade pasta. For several years I have been considering a recipe that I found at Williams-Sonoma, that also just happens to be in the pasta cookbook I received last Christmas: Pumpkin Ravioli. 

In additition to being inspired by the recipe, I have had a ravioli form since we got married that I had not used. As intimidated as I was by pasta, I was equally intimidated by a filled pasta. 

To go with the ravioli I decided on chicken apple sausage and roasted Brussels sprouts. It was a busy day with an early morning game and lots of shoveling so I was thankful to my boys who both helped in the kitchen. While my elder son shredded a chicken for the following night’s dinner my younger son cleaned the sprouts and I got to make the pasta dough.


The pasta recipe is from the same cookbook as the ravioli, and for efficiency I use the food processor. 

Flour and salt:

Add the oil to the eggs and then pour them into the bowl of the processor.

  

And then mix, using the pulse function, adding flour as needed until it holds together but isn’t sticky.


Once it comes together, knead it for 10 minutes on your bread board until you have a smooth dough. Then let it rest.


If you have gotten out all of your ingredients ahead of time, there is enough time to put together the filling while the dough rests. Alternatively, you could make ahead of time and keep it chilled. 

 While the recipe calls for 1 small pumpkin (~1 lb.), I opted to use my frozen pumpkin (canned would be fine too). 

I had a single container with 2 cups of pumpkin that I mixed with the egg yolk. (I had leftover pasta that I would have preferred to use so please look at my notes on how to adjust accordingly.)

  

And then I mixed in the rest. 

  

 Always better to grind whole nutmeg!

  

By that time my dough was ready to start rolling. I sat the layers aside between sheets of floured parchment under a damp towel until the dough was all rolled out.


To fill the pasta, I began by flouring the form. 


Then 1 sheet goes on the bottom piece (with the holes) and then you press gently with the top piece to make the pockets for filling. Then fill each spot with about 1 teaspoon of filling. To make sure each ravioli seals well, brush the edges of each with a pastry brush and cool water.

  



Lay a second sheet over the top, gently lifting the edges and pressing to ensure no air bubbles are trapped. The use the small rolling pin to seal them firmly and cut the edges.

  



Firmly tap them out onto a floured parchment lined baking sheet(s). Refrigerate until you are ready to cook them or freeze them. 



I clarified my butter and started roasting the Brussel sprouts before starting my water.

      


    

I also started browning some chicken-apple sausages that I sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon.


When the sprouts and sausages were done, I made the sage butter and boiled the pasta.



  

  

Dinner is served! With a wonderful salad from my MIL.





Egg Pasta for Baked and Stuffed Pastas

Entrées, Not Shared, Pastas, Tested and Approved!
Source Williams-Sonoma | The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce (Weldon Owen, 2010)

Paprika Recipe File

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose or “00” flour (see notes), plus more as needed
  • ½ tsp., scant, fine sea salt
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

DIRECTIONS

To make the dough by hand, measure the flour onto a work surface, mix in the salt and shape the flour into a mound. Using your fingertips, make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center of the well and add the olive oil. Using a fork, beat until the eggs and oil are blended, making sure the liquid does not breach the walls of the well.

Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture and beat gently, always in the same direction, to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it will not flow over the wall.

When the mixture is too stiff to use the fork, begin using both hands, gradually drawing in the flour from the bottom of the wall, until you have a soft, moist, but not sticky ball of dough. If the dough will not absorb more flour without becoming stiff, do not use it all. If it is too soft, add more flour, a spoonful at a time. Clean the work surface, dust it lightly with flour and flatten the ball of dough into a disk.

To make the dough with a food processor, fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but 1/2 cup of the flour and the salt to the work bowl and pulse to mix. You will use the reserved 1/2 cup flour later to adjust the consistency of the dough.

Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the olive oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the work bowl. Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky.

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk.

For both methods: Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry. Makes 1¼ lb. dough.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter

Entrées, Not Shared, Pastas, Tested and Approved!
Makes 6 ∙ Source Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce (Weldon Owen, 2010)

Paprika Recipe File

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin (from a ~1 lb. Cheese or Sugar Pie pumpkin, calabaza or butternut squash, seeds and strings removed)
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana padano cheese
  • 1 Tbs. ricotta
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. dried bread crumbs
  • 1¼ lb. egg pasta
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, clarified (see tip below)
  • 12 large fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

DIRECTIONS

Transfer the pumpkin puree to a bowl. Add the egg yolk, cheeses, nutmeg and sea salt. Mix well, adding the bread crumbs as needed to bind the ingredients into a cohesive mixture. Cover the filling and set aside.
Using a pasta machine or a floured rolling pin, roll out the pasta dough 1/32 inch thick, then fill and cut the ravioli.

Pour the clarified butter into a small fry pan and place over low heat. Add the sage leaves and heat until the butter is saturated with the flavor of the sage, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

In a large pot over high heat, bring 5 quarts water to a rapid boil. Add the kosher salt, gently drop in half of the ravioli and cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, uncover and cook, stirring gently occasionally and reducing the heat as needed to prevent the ravioli from knocking against one another and breaking. The total cooking time should be 3 to 5 minutes. To test for doneness, transfer a single raviolo to a cutting board and cut off a corner with a paring knife; if the pasta looks cooked through and the corner tastes tender, the pasta is done. Using a large slotted spoon, lift out the ravioli, allowing a little of the water to cling to them so they remain moist, and transfer to a warmed large, shallow serving bowl; cover the bowl to keep the ravioli warm. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli.

Drizzle the sage butter over the ravioli and serve immediately. Pass the cheese at the table. Serves 6.

NOTES

Serves 6 with no leftovers (~8-9 ravioli per person); I recommend a double batch of pasta and a triple batch of the pumpkin filling when making pumpkin ravioli so there are leftovers or ravioli to freeze. 

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Linguine with Garlicky Shrimp

I am so thankful to have the best Guinea pigs on the planet, my husband, kids, and in-laws never complain and they eat everything. Granted I think it’s practically impossible to say no to good food, or any food…but I’m very thankful anyway. My understanding from friends is that my kids, who do try everything I put in front of them, are the exception.

Sunday, I made a treat, another homemade pasta. I was not in the slightest bit concerned: garlic and shrimp are always a perfect combination. I have had this on my list for 3 weeks, but with the activities associated with the end of the school year and spring sports, I needed to find the right day to make pasta.

This is another from the pasta cookbook I got for Christmas and it was another win.

Although, as is fairly typical, I started with dessert when I got back from the grocery store. A couple of weeks ago you may have noticed Bailey’s Cream Cheese Brownies on the list, I was not happy, they were cake-like instead of fudge-like even though the flavor was perfect. I threw a large chunk in the freezer to give it new life. Homemade ice cream is a wonderful treat, and even better with Bailey’s and brownies.

My favorite go-to book for ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s cookbook. There are lots of ideas in there, but the most important item is the sweet cream base.

Start with the eggs and whip them until they are light and foamy. Then add the sugar slowly and they become thick and creamy. For ice cream, I always use my vanilla sugar; every time I use a vanilla bean it goes in this container of sugar, until I use the next one and swap it out.

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Last add the milk, heavy cream, and in this case Bailey’s to create your base. After that follow your if cream maker’s instructions.

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While it froze, I chopped my chuck of brownie and with a few minutes left I added in the chopped pieces.

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From there I moved onto the pasta. The recipe said it served four so I increased it accordingly, I need not have bothered, with the increase I could have served 10-12.

I used a food processor recipe (still in my broken food processor). Starting with the flour and salt, then the eggs and oil all together.

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Although it appears to be a sticky mess when I turned it out on the floured pastry board, after kneading for several minutes it is a beautiful soft and smooth dough.

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Per the instructions I let it rest under a bowl while I began my preparations for rolling the pasta.

I divided it into six pieces and only worked with one piece at a time, leaving the others under the bowl while I rolled them out to thin sheets. (Thoroughly flour between the sheets so that they don’t stick together!)

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Then they went through the the linguine blade and I spread them out and hung them everywhere.

While it dried I moved onto my sauce, starting by rinsing and cleaning the shrimp.

I blanched my tomatoes in the boiling pasta water so that the skin came off easily.


I then proceeded to my chopping work before starting anything on the stove.

While the water was coming to a boil I started the sauce; the pasta went in about the same time as the shrimp.

The shrimp is added once the garlic is fragrant, once they are just opaque, the tomatoes, salt, and white wine are added. Once the wine had reduced off, the pasta was done and I tossed it all in a large bowl with the fresh parsley.

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As usual, my MIL made a wonderful salad (spinach, sprouts, and water chestnuts). And we had a garlic bread to round out the meal before serving the brownie ice cream for dessert with freshly sliced strawberries.

Linguine with Garlicky Shrimp

★★★★★

Entrées, Shellfish, Tested and Approved!

Makes 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ red pepper flakes
  • 2 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • sea salt
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. linguine

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot, bring 5 qt. water to a boil. While the water is heating, make the sauce.

In a frying pan large enough to accomodate the pasta later, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened but not browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté, turing once, until opaque, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the tomatoes, season with ~½ tsp. Sea salt, and stir to mix. Stir in the wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning, remove from the heat, and cover to keep warm.

When the water is boiling, check the package directions for the cooking time, then add 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt and the pasta to the boiling water, stir well, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just shy of being al dente.

Return the sauce to low heat. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce in the pan, and toss until the strands are well coated with the sauce. Transfer to a warmed large, shallow serving bowl, or individual shallow bowls, top with the remaining parsley, and serve immediately.

Paprika Recipe File

Egg Pasta

★★★★★

Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Prep 30 minutes ∙ Cook 0 minutes ∙ Makes Servings: 6 ∙ Source Williams-Sonoma | The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce (Weldon Owen, 2010)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or “00” flour (see note above), plus more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

DIRECTIONS

To make the dough by hand, measure the flour onto a work surface, mix in the salt and shape the flour into a mound. Using your fingertips, make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center of the well and add the olive oil. Using a fork, beat until the eggs and oil are blended, making sure the liquid does not breach the walls of the well

Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture and beat gently, always in the same direction, to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it will not flow over the wall.

When the mixture is too stiff to use the fork, begin using both hands, gradually drawing in the flour from the bottom of the wall, until you have a soft, moist, but not sticky ball of dough. If the dough will not absorb more flour without becoming stiff, do not use it all. If it is too soft, add more flour, a spoonful at a time. Clean the work surface, dust it lightly with flour and flatten the ball of dough into a disk.

To make the dough with a food processor, fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but 1/2 cup of the flour and the salt to the work bowl and pulse to mix. You will use the reserved 1/2 cup flour later to adjust the consistency of the dough.
Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the olive oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the work bowl. Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk.

For both methods: Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry. Makes 1 lb. dough.

Paprika Recipe File

Ice Cream (Sweet Cream Base)

★★★★★

Desserts, Ice Cream and Custards, Tested and Approved!

Cook 30 minutes ∙ Makes ~1 quart ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature

DIRECTIONS

Use an electric mixer and whisk the eggs, until they turn light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).

Slowly, add the sugar while whisking the eggs. I usually use an electric mixer in one hand and then use the other hand to pour the sugar in a little bit at a time. Slower is better. When it’s all in there, mix it a minute or so more.

Then pour in the rest of the cream and milk and mix it all together.

  • Vanilla Ice Cream: Add 2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract.
  • Alcohol Flavored: Add ½ cup of liqour(s).

Chill the mix (either covered in the fridge, or using the double-bowl and ice method) until it’s below 40°F (5°C). It helps to chill the mix before it’s run through the machine, so it freezes faster. The faster the mix freezes, the smaller the ice crystals will be, and the smoother the texture.

If you have a machine with a built-in freezer, turn it on and let it get good and cold. Then turn on the motor so the dasher starts spinning, and pour in the mix.

It’ll take about 30 minutes, more or less, to churn. You’ll probably be able to hear the motor slowing down when it gets close, and you should probably stop it before it really starts having trouble, just so you don’t damage it. It’ll come out like stiff soft-serve ice cream.

Speed counts now. Get all the ice cream out of the machine, into containers, and into the freezer, as quickly as possible. After a few hours in the freezer, the ice cream will harden and be like what you buy in the store. Smaller, pre-chilled containers allow the ice cream to freeze faster, which is what you want to keep it from getting icy.

Paprika Recipe File

Not Your Ordinary Saltimbocca

My first comment is that everyone should go get the Essential New York Times Cookbook Classical Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser, copyright 2010. Each time I go to this cookbook it’s a success.

On a regular basis, my husband tells me that I should consider easier options for Sunday dinner so that I can enjoy the day and not be chained to the kitchen. The simple answer is that I do enjoy a day I get to spend in the kitchen. Today however was almost 70, sunny, in Michigan, in November and enjoying  some if it outside was high on my list of things to do. So I pulled out this cookbook knowing that within its pages of over 1000 recipes I would find what I was looking for. I flipped to the the section Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Pork and began to read. I considered a few different options, stews that I wouldn’t have to watch, I had Beef Burgandy or Stroganoff in my head, and then I landed on the Saltimbocca recipe, with the proscuitto nestled inside the veal.

I continued my reading and proceed onto the recommended pairings, she recommended a few different items, I had potatoes and a vegetable so that’s where I headed in the book, both also simple. The author also recommended panna cotta for dessert, I recalled that in the intro she mentioned that this cookbook contained the best Panna Cotta she had ever tasted, a bit of flipping and I confirmed that this was indeed the one she was referring to, with buttermilk as a main ingredient.

All of the recipes were as easy as promised. I made the panna cotta first, when I got home from the grocery store, I started at 1, it was in ramekins in the fridge by 2.

I then relaxed, read outside, did a few other Sunday tasks, but overall enjoyed my afternoon. At 5 I got my ingredients for dinner out, and began the potatoes, once those were in the pan, I started on the zucchini. At 5:40 the oven was preheated and the potatoes went in. The zucchini only took a few minutes longer to prep and I set it off to the side. I pounded out the veal and folded in he proscuitto as described; I set those off to the side as well. At 6:35, I put the zucchini in the oven, and then at 6:45, I began the veal cooking it in batches so as not to crowd the skillet.

Everything was done at 7, and we started the meal with a goat cheese, dried cherry, and pear salad from my MIL (perfect as always).

The meal was perfect, each item exactly as promised.


Nesting the proscuitto inside the veal protects it from the skillet and still keeps the veal moist. The sage adds a subtle touch of flavor.


Saltimbocca

prep 15 mins ∙ cook 10 min ∙ makes 4 servings ∙ difficulty Medium ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 561

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 thin slices proscuitto
  • 4 small veal cutlets, pounded very thin
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 sage leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Splash of dry white wine

DIRECTIONS
1. Place 2 pieces of prosciutto on each piece of veal so they hang over the ends and overlap in the middle. Fold each piece of veal in half, securing it wit toothpicks in 2 places.

2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a medium non-stick pan until foamy. Add the veal packages and sage leaves, and cook for about 1 minute on each side, turning once, until slightly brown. Season with salt as the packages cook, and sprinkle white wine into the pan as they finish. Discard sage and serve.


NOTES

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat.

These are perfectly crispy, I added extra garlic since we love it. I used a large cookie sheet rather than a roasting pan.


Italian Roasted Potatoes

prep 20 mintues ∙ cook 1 hour 15 mintues ∙ makes 6 servings ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 300

INGREDIENTS

  • 2½ pounds waxy potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine potatoes, garlic, oregano, and oil in a large roasting pan. Stir until potatoes are well-coated, and spread them evenly in pan.

2. Place in the oven, and roast until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 1 to 1¼ hours. (If the potatoes are crowded in the pan, they will take longer to crisp.)

3. Remove potatoes and garlic from oven, and transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with salt to taste, and serve immediately.

NOTES
Use a coarse sea salt at the end.

This recipe was the only recipe that concerned me, I knew the flavor would be good, and the recipe notes assured me it would not be mush, but…  As you can see from the nip ages I could not find baby zucchini, only small, so I also cut them in half. My only edit would be to reduce the olive oil to ¼ cup.


Baked Zucchini with Herbs and Tomatoes

prep 20 minutes ∙ cook 20 minutes ∙ makes 6 servings ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 250

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 firm baby zucchini, or 5 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick sticks
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • Leaves from 3 inner stalks celery
  • 6 basil leaves
  • About ¼ cup flour
  • 2 whole ripe plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine zucchini, onion, and scallions in a colander. Tear celery and basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle on top. Sprinkle flour over all. Using one hand, press and toss ingredients together until well mixed and coated (it will get a little moist, but not gooey). Add tomatoes, season with salt and toss once more.

2. Pour half the olive oil into a medium baking dish or ceramic pie plate. Fill dish with zucchini mixture, then grind pepper over top. Sprinkle remaining oil on top, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until ingredients are just cooked but still firm.


Although Amanda recommended a blueberry sauce, I opted for blackberries, I described both options in the notes.

Panna Cotta

cook 15 minutes ∙ makes 6 servings ∙ difficulty Medium ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 840

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 package powdered gelatin
  • 1⅔ cups buttermilk
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh fruit for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. Place the cream and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Stir the gelatin into the warm cream until dissolved. Stir in the buttermilk and salt and remove from heat.

4. Ladle the mixture into six 6-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate, loosely covered, until set, at least 2 hours.

5. To serve, run the tip of a small knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the panna cotta, and unmold onto individual plates.

6. Let stand until almost at room temperature, about 1 hour. Surround with fruit and serve.

NOTES
From the cookbook:

To unfold, dip the ramekins in a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds then dry the bottoms of the ramekins before inverting onto serving plates and tapping out the panna cotta.

For serving, I brought, ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, added 1 cup blueberries and 1 star anise pod, turned off the heat, and let the mixture steep 20 minutes (remove the star anise before serving the sauce).
My notes:

For serving, I set 24 blackberries aside and brought the remainder to a boil in a small saucepan with 3 tbsp. sugar and 3 tbsp. water and let them boil until the berries were soft. I remove it from the heat and crushed the berries. Just prior to serving I stirred in the remaining fresh berries.