ricotta and leek ravioli with pesto

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I bought myself a pasta roller almost a month ago now- It’s been sitting on my counter, ready to go, but I was too intimidated to use it. Finally today I just went for it! Ravioli has always been one of my favorite foods so I decided I’d try that first. And because I was making fresh pasta, I thought it would be best to make fresh ricotta as well! It’s definitely a time consuming process overall, but very fun, and very worth it!

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Ingredients

Pasta

2-3 cups of all purpose flour
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
tiny pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Ricotta

3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
pinch of salt
juice of one lemon

Filling

1 cup of ricotta (home made or store bought)
2 caramelized leeks & 1 clove of minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Pesto

a few handfuls of basil (remove stems)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
olive oil

Instructions

Ricotta

Add the heavy cream and milk to a large sauce pan or stock pot. Once it begins to boil and foam, add the juice of one lemon and turn off the stove. Give it a few stirs, and then allow to rest for a couple of minutes and form curds. Once the curds have formed, strain them through a cheese cloth and allow to separate from the whey. Refrigerate once everything is separated and to the desired consistency (for this I’d recommend a slightly thicker or stiffer ricotta).

Pasta

Make a little well in your all purpose flour and carefully crack your eggs into the center. Add the salt, nutmeg, and olive oil and slowly mix, starting with a fork, and then moving to your hands. When everything is combined and not too sticky (you may have to add more flour), split into four pieces. Make each piece into a patty, so it’s thin enough to go through the pasta roller. Continue rolling out until you get a pasta sheet of desired thickness. Put pasta sheets in the fridge while you assemble everything else.

Filling

Dice up your leeks and make sure to thoroughly clean. Add leeks, minced garlic, and a few tablespoons of butter to a sautee pan and allow to cook down until they are a nice golden brown. Once these are complete, you can either keep them at a rough dice, or quick throw them into your food processor to make a little bit more of a paste. Mix this with your ricotta.

Pesto

Add all of your ingredients into a food processor and blend, slowly adding olive oil until it reaches desired consistency.

Assemblage

Take one pasta sheet and dollop a teaspoon or so of filling, and make sure there will be enough room to cut into individual ravioli at the end! Take your second pasta sheet and carefully lay over the top, and lightly press down around the filling to form your ravioli. Cut apart and to make sure the pasta sheets are sealed together, stamp with the end of a fork.

Cook ravioli for 2-3 minutes, or until they float. Gently strain them and drizzle with pesto. Top with a bit of parmesan or romano and enjoy!

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brie, apple, and bacon turkey burger

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After a long bout with tonsillitis, I’m back! And because I feel so bad for my lack of posts, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes with you all. One of my favorite foods ever is the cheese burger- you can do so much with it and really mold the flavors that you are looking for.

Traditionally, I’m all for your typical ground beef burger, but after experimenting with ground turkey for a while, I’ve decided this combination is AMAZING!

Ingredients

ground turkey
seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley)
olive oil
bacon
onion
apple
ciabatta rolls

Instructions

Add your ground turkey and spices into a bowl and mix together- I also add a drizzle of olive oil because ground turkey doesn’t have a high fat content. Form your pattie- you can do sliders or full sized burgers for this so it’s up to you! I also never try to make my burger too thick because unlike beef, the turkey needs to be cooked all the way through.

At this point I start cooking my bacon. You can either do it in the pan or the microwave, though I prefer cooking it in a pan, so I can use the grease later on to cook my onions. Also when I cook bacon for a burger, I weave the pieces together so they stay on the burger better. Once the bacon is finished cooking, add some thinly sliced onion, and in a second small frying pan drizzle a bit of olive oil and begin to cook your burgers.

When your burgers and onions are nearly finished, give your ciabatta rolls a quick toast to help stand up to all the toppings, and slice your apple and brie. Add the cheese to your burger and allow to start melting. Once everything is finished cooking, put the bacon on the bottom half of your roll, then the burger and cheese, then the apple slice(s), and then the sauteed/ caramelized onions. Generally I would serve this burger with homemade sweet potato fries or kale chips. Enjoy!

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oven roasted lamb shank with eggplant parm bake and creamy chard and beans

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Yesterday I was feeling the need for something warm, filling, and different. I saw the recipe for a similar eggplant parmesan au gratin, and I knew I wanted to do something similar. So what goes great with eggplant? Lamb. I had never cooked it on my own before, and I was very nervous for how it would come out. Luckily, everything turned out perfectly, and it was a great addition to this hearty meal! I also had some swiss chard sitting in my fridge, and I remembered this great risotto I made a while back that had greens and small white beans in it, so instead of doing it that way, I ditched the rice and transformed it into a creamy side!

Ingredients

Lamb

lamb shanks (or a cut you feel comfortable with)
rosemary & thyme (fresh)
garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper
wine (normally I would recommend a hearty red wine but all I had when I was making this was a dry white wine and it turned out ok!)

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

one medium sized eggplant
roma or heirloom tomatos (i used a mix of both)
breadcrumbs
olive oil
salt & pepper
fresh grated parmesan (romano will work as well)
fresh mozzarella

Creamy Swiss Chard & Cannellini Beans

one can of cannellini beans, drained
a few sliced of pancetta, chopped (optional)
swiss chard
salt & pepper
rosemary
half a container of creme fraiche

Instructions

Throw all of the ingredient for the lamb in a gallon sized zipper bag and let it marinade for a few hours. When it is finished marinading, pour the contents of the bag into a baking pan, and add some more fresh herbs on top of the shanks. For medium rare, you will want the lamb to be anywhere from 130 degrees to 140 degrees internally. I baked mine at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, with an addition 10 minutes to rest. The size of the shanks will affect the cooking times, so I would check the temperature after 30 minutes to check where the meat is at.

Meanwhile, peel the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise so you can cut half moon shaped slices. Once the eggplant is sliced, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil and put it in the oven with the lamb for a few minutes to start the cooking process. While the eggplant is roasting, slice up your tomatoes and mozzarella. When the eggplant is mostly cooked, take it out of the oven and start layering in an au gratin pan. I layered the eggplant, then the tomatoes, bread crumbs, and parmesan, and repeated. Then I added the mozzarella on top, along with breadcrumbs that I mixed a touch of olive oil and some more parmesan. When there is about 5 minutes of cooking time left on your lamb, put this back in the oven and allow to bake until the lamb is finished resting, for a total of about 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Last but not least are the creamy swiss chard and beans. This takes the least amount of time so do this as the end when the eggplant is about half way finished baking, add your chopped pancetta to a sauce pan and brown. Add the beans, salt, pepper, rosemary, and creme fraiche to the pan and let cook down to a rich a creamy sauce. Add the swiss chard last- it just needs to soften up a bit. This will only take 2 or 3 minutes.

Once everything is finished, you can plate and enjoy!

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bacon, brusselsprout, and brie grilled cheese

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I don’t know about you guys, but my weekend was full of shenanigans. After the late nights, crazy parties, and ridiculous dancing, all I wanted was some relaxing food- and what better than grilled cheese! I adapted this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen – the original was a vegetarian dish, but I thought adding some bacon would put this recipe over the top!

Ingredients

2-3 slices of thick cut bacon
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons of butter
6-7 Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
Brie cheese
salt & pepper
2 slices bread of choice

Instructions

Dice a few slices of bacon and cook them most of the way, releasing most of the fat. Add in minced shallots, thinly sliced brussel sprouts, dijon, and a pinch of salt and pepper. If you need to, add a little bit of butter or olive oil to bacon fat to extend it. While these are cooking down (it should only take about five minutes once you add the brussel sprouts), slice a few pieces of brie to fit your bread. I used Ezekiel bread for my sandwich, but you can use Italian bread, french bread, rye, etc- what ever your favorite bread is!

Once the brussel sprout mixture is done cooking, add a good chunk of butter to a skillet (I used cast iron but non stick will also be fine!), and slowly heat up the pan and melt the butter. You don’t want the pan to be too hot because then the bread will cook to fast and be nice and crunchy, but the cheese won’t melt! While it’s heating, top your brie and bread with the brussel sprout mixture and gently transfer to your skillet. While it’s starting to brown, I even like to cover the skillet for a couple minutes so the cheese will melt even nicer. Once the first side is golden brown, carefully flip and continue to cook the other side, again until golden brown.

Transfer to a plate and cut in half- then enjoy!

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rustic pizza

so i don’t know about you, but the past week and a half has flown by for me. i wake up, go to school or work, come home and go to sleep. which means, i haven’t been spending nearly as much time as i usually do since starting my new job. which also means i haven’t been posting enough! so i finally forced myself to slow down and make something delicious to share with everyone! i mentioned this pizza in a past post, and it is one of my favorite foods. i found the recipe for this rustic potato pizza on green kitchen stories which is an awesome blog that has so many healthy, vegetarian option recipes. since following their blog i find that i’ve been much more adventurous in the kitchen and much more willing to try new things! anyways, on to the pizza:

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the crust:

this part is fairly easy; if you don’t want to make your own crust, most grocery stores sell pizza dough premade and ready to go. if you do want to make your own pizza crust, theres a few companies that make fast acting yeast which will make this whole process a lot easier!

1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cup of your favorite flour (i used whole wheat)
2 tbsp olive oil

also when i was making this crust, i threw in some flaxseed meal and some whole flaxseed. it adds an interesting texture and flaxseed is awesome for you! when mixing this, you’re going to want to dissolve the yeast well in the warm water before starting to add in the other ingredients. add in most of your flour and your salt and knead the dough until it begins to come together and form a ball. if the dough is sticking to your hands you can add more flour until it is all incorporated. drizzle the dough with your olive oil and make sure the whole dough ball is covered. set the dough aside in a warm area while you prepare the rest of your pizza.

the filling:
set aside a little time for this, as well as some patience! now is the time to put your knife skills to the test and slice these ingredients very thin (or take out your mandolin!).

3 medium size firm potatoes
2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 small spring onions
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
100 g goat cheese (the small log or small container)
salt & black pepper

optional: a hand full of shredded mozzarella

directions:

as you’re slicing your potatoes put them in a bowl of salt and cold water, and let them sit in there while preparing the other ingredients. slice the onions very thin and chop your goat cheese. once you are done with this, check on your dough; it should have risen a bit by now! since we used instant rise yeast it does not need to sit out overnight or anything. prepare a surface with flour and begin to roll out your dough. once this is done put it on your pizza pan and brush with olive oil. if you are using the shredded mozzarella, add a thin covering to the dough. then start to take your potatoes out of the water and dry them off before arranging them on the dough. once the whole pizza is covered with potato, scatter the onion slices, rosemary, and goat cheese over the rest of it! season with salt and pepper and we are ready to bake! you want to put the oven on a really high temperature, between 475 and 500 degrees (fahrenheit). the pizza usually cooks in under twenty minutes, so i would check it at around 15 minutes and then continue baking until you reach how crunchy you want the crust. be prepared to devour this pizza in minutes!

thing’s i’ve been craving…

with spring beginning this week, i’ve been craving quite a few things besides the season change! this winter has seemed to drag on for way too long, and tuesday’s blizzard didn’t help at all! so here are some of my favorite memories of the warmer weather (in food of course!)

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braised short rib grilled cheese from the beehive in boston, along with their signature ‘queen bee’

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black truffle and guanciale pizza at the tarry lodge in port chester, ny

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pork saltimbucca, also from the tarry lodge, port chester

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white truffle agnolotti with alfredo sauce, fresh italian sausage, and sauteèd spinach, courtesy of my dad

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and rustic potato, onion, goat cheese and rosemary pizza (my discovery)!

these are just a couple of the amazing things i have eaten over the past few months, and i am dying to have them all again!