Ciao amici! It's been a little while since posting, so I thought today I'd bring you all up to date with some life events, as well as a quick, easy recipe I invented this afternoon. This past Monday marked the two year anniversary of my wife and I meeting for the first time, back in Italy. It was such a dramatic beginning to what turned out to be a dramatic relationship. Guess it set the tone. She was there on a two-week class, and had met me two days before leaving. I knew she was the one for me since the first time she walked in the bar where I used to work at the time. I asked her out for a coffee the following afternoon, we chatted for a couple of hours. The last night, the night before she flew home, she came back to the bar and waited for me to finish my shift (3am!). We walked to a park and there I kissed her for the first time. It would have been more romantic if it hadn't been 25 degrees out, but even still, it was something out of a movie. Neither of us knew what would happen, or if we'd even stay in touch. But we did, spent eight months talking on FaceTime ... and now we're married. So glad she took a chance on this random Italian guy.
foreign, but I'm learning to take my Italian approach and mix it with the things around me. I've also learned that I invent best when I walk into the kitchen completely unprepared, and use whatever I've got at the moment. Trying to plan ahead of time just doesn't work for me. So, here's one of my first non-Italian recipes, which turned out really delicious, and also really healthy.
SAVORY & SWEET SEARED CHICKEN
WHAT YOU'LL NEED (serves 2):
WHAT YOU'LL DO:
Let me know how yours turns out - tag me in your Facebook or Instagram posts so I can share! Be sure to follow me for more cooking ideas (and romantic updates ;)
Ravioli are surely one of the most tasty handmade pasta all'uovo "egg pasta" you can ever make. In Italy we make a distinction between pasta all'uovo (ravioli, tagliatelle, fettuccine) and traditional pasta (spaghetti, linguine). The distinction basically concerns the use of eggs that make those kinds of pasta more tasty and heavier and we don't consider them as much an "every day meal" as the traditional ones. The flour I've been using is the usual caputo 00 flour that is not as heavy as the American "all purpose" and definitely makes the pasta taste completely different. It's non-GMO and organic, which definitely adds to the health benefits.
Making ravioli takes a decent amount of time and effort, and a lot of patience but the result is so good that you won't regret it, especially if you're a true foodie. The traditional ravioli recipe is filled with spinach and ricotta, with a square shape, but you can also make a round shape and fill them with almost anything. In this recipe I've used with sausages and ricotta, which was amazing and definitely worth trying!
Try pairing a full bodied red wine with this dish, like Chianti Classico.
If you're up for an afternoon or evening covered in flour, and have some good music, get both ready because we're about to get started!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
Ravioli: (Serves 2)
WHAT TO DO:
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Let me know how your ravioli turn out, and if you have any ideas or suggestions, send them my way! Also be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more cooking ideas and tips!
Let's kick this thing off by starting with one of my staple pastas that I use in many of my recipes. I make all my pasta by hand, using imported flour from Naples (which I buy on Amazon). It's a bit pricey, but it's worth it. Recently I had someone asking for the sub ingredients in the flour I use, and told me, "there should be around 8 ingredients in flour". Say WHAT. Flour should just be flour. I use Mulino Caputo, a wonderful brand that only has ONE listed ingredient on their flour: "Soft Wheat Flour 00".
Traditionally, pasta is made with '00' flour, which is a different grind than the 'all purpose' flour here in America. It leads to a lighter, softer, and more pleasant pasta than if you use the all purpose. (Trust me, we've experimented). Also, it is non-GMO.
The most simple pasta you can make is with water and flour, like spaghetti. For vegans, this will be the way to go if following my recipes. I will make a post on how to make spaghetti sometime soon. However, the pasta we're making today is with eggs and flour, and is called Tagliatelle. It is similar to fettuccine in it's makeup, and is a wonderful base for almost any pasta dish you could create. Andiamo! Let's make pasta!
(Note: If you want to use other pasta alternatives from local markets, feel free, and let me know which ones you find and if they work with the recipes!)
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1. A pasta maker (link to a cheap option here)
(or a rolling pin).
2. Two eggs - (due uova), preferably organic or free range...we use Nellies Free Range)
3. Four cups Caputo 00 Flour
4. A large bowl (optional)
5. Kitchen cloths (or cling film)
6. A sharp knife
7. A pasta rack (optional) - this is for hanging and drying the pasta. You can always lay it on a baking sheet, or drape it over other things, like your friends.
8. A fork (not optional, I will explain later why)
WHAT TO DO:
1. If using bowl, place two of the four cups of flour inside. Otherwise, make a large pile directly on the countertop and create a small crater in the center. (Basically make a volcano, and inside the volcano is where the eggs will go.)
2. Crack the eggs into the bowl, or center of the volcano, which will will name Vesuvius, since the flour we are using is from Napoli.
3. Grab the fork (told you you'd need it) and slowly mix the eggs, grabbing small bits of flour as you go. Once the eggs are slightly deconstructed and have a bit of flour mixed into them, get rid of that pesky fork and get in there with your hands. Knead the eggs thoroughly throughout the flour, until it is gooey, and evenly mixed.
4. Now it will be very sticky and gooey. Yum. Spread some extra flour onto the counter, and take your beautiful sticky flour ball (you should consider naming him at this point) and place him onto the counter. Sprinkle some flour and pat it into the pasta. Take your kitchen cloth and place it over top of your baby, and leave it for 30 minutes. If using cling film, pat extra flour around the entire ball of pasta, and wrap the whole thing in cling film. Leave for 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes take your baby out of the cling film or kitchen cloth. At this point sprinkle more flour all over the pasta ball, working it into the dough until it is no longer sticky. Take your knife and cut a slice off, about 1 inch thick.
6. Inside the slice is sticky, so sprinkle more flour on both sides, and using your hands or rolling pin, press the slice until it is about 1/4 thick or so. It should not be circular, it should be oblong - narrow and long.
7. If using pasta maker: Take the thin piece of dough, and using the first setting on your pasta maker ( setting 0) feed it through. Fold in half and feed it through again. Repeat the process 2 more times. Sprinkle flour on your dough, and increase the setting to 1. Feed dough through. Increase setting to 2 sprinkle flour, and feed it through. Repeat this process until you reach setting 5.*
8. The piece of dough may be long, so cut in half. Feed the pasta through the 'tagliatelle' setting on the other side of your pasta maker. Most have 2 settings, one for spaghetti, and one for tagliatelle, catching the pieces as the come through. Lay on a flour covered baking tray or hang on a pasta rack. Repeat until all your pasta has been made!
STORING YOUR PASTA
You can eat your pasta right away, boiling it for 4 - 5 minutes (not NEARLY as long as pasta from the market) or you can store it to eat another day. Leave it out until it is dry, (an hour or so) and then you can stack it, and freeze it.
Follow me on Instagram, and Facebook, and be sure to share tag me in photos of your master pasta creations. I LOVE seeing what you're making!
Ciao amici! Welcome to my home and my table. I love inventing new recipes and can't wait to see what we can cook up together!