Sunday, May 8, 2011
Traditional Pasta Making Party
Making homemade ravioli with a house full of friends and family is a tradition from my upbringing. Though miles from home, this custom is alive and well in my house. The goal is to have fun, enjoy the company of friends and make a little pasta.
Imagine a room full of people working toward a common goal - to eat pasta! Some people need a little coaxing to get their hands dirty and some have flour in their hands before wine.
Over the years we have friends who have come every year and are now so comfortable with the process that they now help newbies, pasta virgins if you will, learn the trade.
Every year I create two new fillings; this year a third filling made it into the spotlight. The bacon and butternut squash filling was the star of the show; but the roasted parsnip and goat cheese was super lovely and a hit with the vegetarians in the crowd. But my personal favorite was the egg yolk pasta. My love for a runny yolk is no secret and for about a year I've been thinking about how good that delectable, warm and succulent egg would be in a fresh homemade pasta. I can honestly now say - it's delicious!
Noses, chests and floors get floured, stress is relieved through kneading and many bottles of wine are emptied - yes this is Fat and Happy Easter and to quote our friend Karen: "One of my favorite parties of the year!"
Tips and techniques: Remember this party is about learning, playing and letting people feel empowered in the kitchen. Let the guest have fun with the pasta, you can always make more the next day.
Homemade Pasta and Ravioli
Follow this link for my directions for homemade pasta and handmade ravioli directions. Quite simply, you need to seal a filling into a pocket of dough.
Keep in mind these recipes are forgiving and can be loosely interpreted- use more garlic if you want, add more cheese or substitute carrots for the parsnips.
Egg Yolk Ravioli
1 medium size yolk (1 per ravioli)
1 scoop of garlic four cheese filling
Layer a scoop of cheese filling on the bottom half of the ravioli, make an indent in the cheese (like a little nest for the egg), add the raw yolk into the cheese nest and carefully seal with the upper ravioli piece.
Slide the egg ravioli in salted, boiling water and cook until the ravioli floats. Serve one yolk ravioli with a few just plain cheese ravioli - one yolk is enough per person. Add a touch of fresh black pepper, olive oil and a grated Parmesan cheese. Yum
Bacon Butternut Squash Ravioli Filling
4 slices of bacon
1/2 small butternut squash, finely cubed
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
2 cloves garlic
10 sage leaves, chopped
handful of chopped parsley
1/8 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg (optional)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Cook the bacon in a large fry pan, set aside. Add the butternut squash and cook in the remaining bacon grease for about 3 minutes. Add in the onions, cook for another 5 minutes, tossing often; add in the garlic and sage leaves to just warm the garlic, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool before adding in the bacon, cheese, parsley and bread crumbs. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste and finally the egg to hold it all together.
Cool the filling before stuffing in the ravioli. Carefully slide the ravioli into salted, boiling water until the ravioli floats. Serve in a brown butter sauce with a few fried sage leaves, crumbled goat cheese and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Roasted Parsnip Ravioli Filling
4 large parsnips, peeled and quartered
2 shallots, quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2-3 sprigs of thyme
2-3 sprigs of oregano
1/4 cup of half and half, milk or water
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) cup goat cheese
2 Tbls shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Toss the parsnips, shallots, garlic cloves and thyme in a drizzle of olive oil. Roast in a 400 degree oven roasted and soft. Place ingredients in a blender or Cuisinart, blend until smooth adding a few drizzles of half and half as needed for creaminess. Stir in goat cheese, the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
Cool the filling before stuffing the ravioli. Drop into salted, boiling water until the ravioli float. Serve with a little olive oil and fresh grated Parmesan. I made a simple white wine cream sauce with hint of orange and grainy mustard - it plays very nicely with the roasted parsnips.