Archive for ‘Pasta’

January 11, 2011

Winter Kitchen | White Bolognese with Fresh Pasta

You can’t find a fresh, ripe, beautiful red tomato here in Ohio in January.  You just can’t.  So how could you possibly make a bolognese in the depths of winter?  Make a white bolognese.  Skip the tomatoes altogether and make a very Italian specialty.  In doing so, you will make my single most favorite thing to cook.

It is my most favorite of all favorites.  Really, truly.  The kind that my small family of three will piggishly devour an entire pound of pasta, with Cherub (remember, she’s three) helping herself to thirds.  It is, in a word, delicious.  Amazingly delicious.  Well, that’s two.  But I mean it: if you have yet to make a recipe from this blog, you should make this one.

White Bolognese, adapted from The Silver Spoon

1 T olive oil

2 strips of bacon

1/2 finely chopped yellow onion

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December 29, 2010

“Wow” | Crab, Leek and Ricotta Rollatini (with Truffles)

There are fireworks on New Year’s Eve for a reason.  It’s a time for the best we’ve got.  A dinner like this requires a lot of you.  But oh my, is it worth it.  And the one you make it for will think so, too.  And I’m sure they’ll be grateful.

I cooked a lot today.  I picked one and a half pounds of snow crab.  Kind of tedious.  Made a stock from the crab shells and froze it.  Easy.  Cooked up a batch of ricotta.  Simple, but a little time-consuming.  Mixed up a big batch of homemade pasta.  Great workout.  Rolled said pasta into lasagna noodles.  Time consuming, but simple.  Assembled said pasta and crab, etc. into rollatini.  Pretty simple.  Bake.  But my oh my, look what happened to the time!  Nothing today was difficult, but it all took time.

That seductive, elusive siren:  time.  Everyone (hello, Thirty Minute Meals) will tell you that you don’t have enough of it, that you have to squeeze more out of what you’re given.  Don’t believe them.   Take pleasure in the cooking tasks in front of you.  Your end results are what nurture you and those you love.  For a real wow factor, make something at home that is worth both your effort and your time.

Crab, Leek and Ricotta Rollatini, serves 4

STEP ONE:  Make Ricotta

STEP TWO:  Make the filling

Mix 2 cups of cooked crab, 2 cups of ricotta, 1 leek that’s been sautéed in olive oil, 6 stems’ worth of picked thyme leaves, salt and pepper to taste.  Reserve a spoonful of the filling for garnish.

STEP THREE:  Make the pasta

You will find a large variety of fresh pasta recipes online and in cookbooks.  A quick guideline ratio is 1 cup of flour to 1 egg plus one egg yolk.  I follow the recommendation of the flawless Marco Pierre White.  Easy.  Accurate.  Delicious.  I grated the remainder of our truffles (three tiny ones) into the dough.  Please try to add this if you can.  It makes a world of difference.

STEP FOUR:  Assemble the dish

I rolled the mixture into rollatini (heaping bits of the mix along the length of the pasta), greased the dish with truffle butter (thank you, Snowville and Greener Grocer) and baked for 20 minutes at 350 F.  You may do as you wish.  Cut your pasta into strips for papardelle and toss with the crab mixture.  Make ravioli and use the crab as the filling.  Just know that by making your own pasta you will attain new heights of flavor.

At the end of the day, this dish is about the transformative power of cooking.  The pasta is flour and eggs.  The cheese is simply warmed milk and a bit of lemon.  The truffles and leeks are pure earthiness.  Do yourself a favor – take the time to make something extraordinary.  It’s that time of year for fireworks.

Serve with Prosecco.

Playlist included Wow, by Kylie Minogue.  On repeat.

November 8, 2010

Sunday Dinner, Porch to Table | Roasted Pumpkin with Italian Sausage

If you have friends or family coming over for an unexpected Sunday dinner at your house, don’t be alarmed.  You may already have what you need and have to look no further than your front porch

I couldn’t bear to just let the beautiful green Hokkaido pumpkin go to waste that we brought home from Rennick’s Family Farm a few weekends ago.  I came up with a dinner that requires almost no clean up aside from a pasta pot, but is still kind of a showstopper.  You’ll be surprised how easy this recipe is, requiring only about 15 minutes of hands-on time.  Italian sausage, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and lots of fresh sage and thyme roasted in the pumpkin for about an hour turns these ingredients into a melange of marvelous Fall flavors for a bed of pasta.  Serve with a nice wine, some crusty ciabatta and a good olive oil, you’ll have a table full of happy company amazed at your skill in the kitchen.

Roasted Hokkaido Pumpkin Stuffed with Italian Sausage and Mushrooms

1 large, about 4 pounds, or 2 medium about 2 or 2 1/2 pounds heirloom pumpkins (Long Island Cheese or Green Hokkaido are good choices)

1 pound Italian sausage, a combination of sweet and hot, if you like, sliced in 1-inch pieces

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October 28, 2010

Butternut Squash “Pasta” and Stuffed Squab

There’s been something appealing about trying difficult recipes lately.  Some days – well let’s be honest, a lot of days – all I want to cook is something familiar and easy (i.e., Japanese noodles and salmon).  And tonight’s recipe seemed, at first, to fit into the difficult category.  Although, as it turned out, it wasn’t hard, just slightly exotic.  And exotic can seem hard at first blush. 

The squab were beautiful and from the food heroes at d’Artagnan, so I had extra incentive to do my very best cooking to pay proper homage.  I had been kicking around the idea of making “pasta” from a butternut squash (remember it’s Week of Gourd) so I figured it’d be a good time to give that a shot, too.  This wasn’t pasta at all, just thin ribbons of butternut squash cooked for 30 seconds in boiling water, then finished in a saute pan with butter, a little grated nutmeg and some parmesan.  The result was a remarkably fast dinner (it did require some afternoon prep time) that wasn’t too low on the sophistication scale. 

Chestnut-Stuffed Squab with Butternut Squash “Pasta”

2  squab, each about a pound, necks and wings removed

Zest of 1 orange

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October 17, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Lasagna, Meatballs, Sausage and “Gravy”

For those of you who have been following the goings on in Persephone’s Kitchen, you’ll know most important things to me are techniques, tradition and family.  I’m determined not to lose the family history that is contained in recipes handed down generation to generation. 

As a result, Persephone doesn’t always do the cooking.  This morning, while the marathoners made their way to the finish line, I sat in Rhea‘s kitchen and watched her start the involved process of a big Italian-American Sunday dinner.  Her lasagna and meatballs require the patient efforts of a Thanksgiving dinner.  So when she decides to make Italian, everybody gathers ’round.  Cronus is especially happy.  All day the sausages and homemade meatballs braised in scratch tomato sauce.  The long day’s work meant that tonight we were treated to her homemade gravy (for those of you not from Jersey, that’s the tomato sauce), meatballs, sausage and lasagna.  Food coma heaven.  And Cronus, bless him, broke out a Red from A.D. 1991 to properly celebrate Mom’s hard work.

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