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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who Said Pasta Has to Come From a Box?

I told you that Sally Sue is a puppy school delinquent, right?
In her first three weeks of school she missed two classes, so yesterday we made up one of them. It was pretty fun to have the one on one time with the trainer, and Sally really loved all of the personalized attention.
It was a little bit somber, though, as we found out that one of Sally's classmates suffered a horrible accident last week, and passed away. Poor little Bailey. She was a real trooper, too. She was the tiniest little puppy in the class, still fitting in the palm of her "momma's" hand, yet she was always willing to get right in there with all the "big dogs" like Sally Sue and Care Bear and Bristol. Little ole' Bailey didn't let her tiny size get in the way of her doing anything.
My heart goes out to Bailey's family.
The day made a 180 degree turn though.
Last night was a real hoot and a half!
At the last minute we ended up with plans for friends to come over and I decided to try out a new pasta recipe I found, given the willing guinea pigs for my culinary experiments.
Wine was consumed. Laughter was shared. Stories were told.
And, the Wifester and I met a new friend. *waves at ya!*
It's always a good time when we gather with these folks, and last night was no exception.
It's good to have good friends, the kind of friends who you know well and know you well. The kind of friends you can laugh with, cry with, and even bitch and complain with when need be.
Sometimes the Wifester and I can get so caught up in our own routines that we forget to make time in our lives to nurture those friendships with outside people. We need to remember to do that more.
Oh, and the pasta? Primo! I mean, you know you aren't getting away from this blog without a recipe after I tell you how I cooked something new, right?

So here's the low down on my Home Made Seafood Ravioli

First, for the pasta. Now, honestly, I thought making the pasta itself would be a lot more difficult than it proved to be. Once again, I have to give props to my Kitchen Aid! Still the
Best. Present. EVER.
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
5 eggs
1 tsp. olive oil
a splash of water (just enough to make the dough soft and pliable)

I simply dumped all of this into my mixer bowl, turned it on and let it mix for for a couple of minutes with the mixing attachment, then switched out for the dough attachment and left it to kneed for 10 minutes. Then let it sit for about 20 minutes which allows the proteins in the dough to relax and makes rolling much easier. Rest the dough covered under the mixing bowl so it doesn't dry out too much.
The dough is a little moist, and for the ravioli, this works perfectly.

While the dough is sitting, you can make your filling. I chose crab, lobster, mushrooms, spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic and onion. Mostly because it is still Lent, and though I don't adhere to the rules, my guests do. Next time, though, I think I'll try these with my home made Italian sausage and red sauce, YUM!
I sauteed my onions until almost translucent, added the garlic, seasoned with Creole seasoning, but you can really experiment here and use whatever you like. Then I added the mushrooms and my diced crab meat, lobster and cooked chopped spinach. Let this cook for about 5-10 minutes, just until the seafood is done, then add the ricotta cheese. Let it incorporate well and then pour it into a nice big bowl and carry it to the area where you are working with your dough.
I rolled the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick and used a small juice glass to cut little circles, and set them aside. When they are all cut out and ready, drop a spoon full of the crab meat mixture into the center of a pasta circle, place another pasta circle on top, smash the edges together all the way around making sure to completely seal it. If you need to, you can dip your fingers in water to help seal the edges. Place each completed ravioli on a tray or towel to dry. When finished filling all the raviolis, you can boil them in water, or as I did, in chicken stock. I like boiling pasta in chicken stock. It gives it a nice light hint of flavor. Try it sometime!
raw, stuffed ravioli, waiting to be boiled

You'll know when they are done, they'll pop up to the top! Fish the floating ones out and set them aside. I placed them in a casserole dish and poured Alfredo sauce over them, one layer at a time as they came out of the chicken stock. Then I topped the whole thing off with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Let me tell you, I may never buy Bertoli's again!

Sorry, we were all just too busy eating them up to get any photos of the raviolis after they boiled and had the sauce on them...

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