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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swiss chard, fennel, goat cheese & ricotta pizza

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swiss chard, fennel, goat cheese & ricotta pizza

I’m a fan of any and all types of pizza… why wouldn’t you want tomatoes and bread and cheese, all in one? At least that’s how I originally looked at it. Now I still love my classic New York cheese pizza, but I love pies that use fresh and healthy ingredients as well! So, when I was scavenging for food in my fridge today, this is what I came up with! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Pizza Dough
2 packets of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
4 cups of flour (1/2 AP, 1/2 whole wheat)

Topping
a medium fennel bulb, sliced thinly
one onion, sliced
one bunch of swiss chard
bacon
goat cheese
home made ricotta

Ricotta
4 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
2 tbsp of lemon juice

Instructions

In a large pot, add your whole milk and your heavy cream. While you are waiting for this to boil, add 2 packets of active dry yeast to the cup and a half of warm (about 110 degrees) water. This will need to sit for about five minutes before you do anything else. Once you see your milk start to develop foam on the top, watch carefully because it will begin to boil soon. As the milk begins to boil, add in two tablespoons of lemon juice and give one quick stir. Let rest for about two minutes. You will see curds have formed and at this point you can strain through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer. Let your curds separate from the whey and you will soon have ricotta! Depending on how stiff or moist you’d like your cheese, draining times will vary.

Now you can finish your dough. The water and yeast should have developed a slight foam on top, and at this point you can whisk in the olive oil, salt, and sugar. Once they are combined being to stir in your flour. If it gets to difficult to do with a spoon, feel free to get in there with your hands! You don’t want to overwork the dough at this point though, so once everything is combined, coat a new bowl with a touch of olive oil and put your dough in there to rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep somewhere warm to rise and double in size.

At this point you can begin all of your chopping and rinsing. Slice your fennel thinly and caramelize- this will take a while, fennel is a strong veggie and needs time and patience to break down. Once they are soft and brown you can add in your sliced onion (I also added a splash of white wine!), and begin to cook it. Put the fennel and onion into a dish, and start to wilt your swiss chard- don’t even worry about washing the pan! While the chard is cooking down, throw a few pieces of bacon in a skillet and cook until crispy.

Once all of your toppings are ready, your dough should be good to go! There will be enough dough for a couple pizza’s- cut in half and save half the dough for later. Gently knead the dough on a floured surface and start to stretch to whatever shape pizza you’d like to make. For really thin crust I flatten out the dough even more with my rolling pin. Transfer your dough to a cookie sheet or pizza stone and throw on your toppings (for a vegetarian option, omit bacon)! I cooked my pizza at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes and then bumped the temperature up to 500 to finish off and get a nice crispy crust. I knew mine was ready when I could smell the pizza and when I looked in the oven, my crust was a golden brown!

I topped my pizza with some garlic powder, fresh parmesan, and salt and pepper. Divide up and enjoy!

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green garden soup and savory scones

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i first saw the recipe for a garden soup on le pirate and knew right away that i wanted to try it. it was simple enough to make and it turned out better than i imagined! i tweaked the recipe a little, but was pretty true to form.

Six or seven large (very large) zucchini, chopped
One big head of broccoli, chopped
One leek, white parts only, chopped
Four cloves of garlic, minced
One onion, diced
500ml of chicken consomme
Sea salt and cracked pepper
A big handful of basil
A big handful of mint
A handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

“In a large pot, saute the garlic and onion and the leek in a little olive oil until transparent. Add the zucchini and the broccoli and stir about for two to three minutes. Then add the stock. Put a lid on the saucepan and let it come to the boil. Simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Then add in your big handful of basil leaves. And your Parmesan. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Then, use a hand blender, or a food processor, to blend it all until smooth. This isn’t a thirty second job, persevere for at least five or ten minutes in order to attain the most glorious and velvety consistency that you ever did imagine. Divide between bowls, reheating first back in the pot if necessary.”

i added a few handfuls of spinach as well, and while blending i added a few scoops of ricotta cheese and a little bit of cream cheese to add to the creamy texture! i topped with some crispy bacon bits, another scoop of ricotta, and a spring of fresh mint!

i also needed something to go on the side of course, so i tried my hand at making a savory scone. most scone recipes are pretty basic, and then you just throw in whatever you want. i followed this basic recipe:

4 cups of flour

3/4 cup of buttermilk

a few tablespoons of sugar

4 tablespoons of baking powder

1-2 teaspoons of salt

2 eggs

1 stick of butter

to this, i added some crumbled italian sausage, caramelized onion, rosmary, fennel seeds, sage, and lots of fresh cracked pepper. i just eyeballed most of these measurements so dont worry about being super specific. to mix the batter, add together dry ingredients and cut in the butter. then mix in the wet ingredients, and whatever else you want to put in the scones. once all mixed i just plop the batter onto a cookie sheet, and back for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

i really enjoyed this meal and i hope you will too!

a filling breakfast!

i started my new job this week, and unfortunately i don’t get a break during my four hour shift. so, to make sure i don’t get hungry while i’m working, i made sure i had a very filling, long lasting breakfast!

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yesterday, i made myself a spinach and gruyere omelet with quick home fries! omelets are great because you can use up a bunch of stuff from your fridge and they’re so easy. first, i sauteed my spinach with some butter, salt, and pepper in a pan until it was wilted and dark green. then i poured 2 or 3 eggs right over the spinach and let it cook most of the way. to finish it off i added my cheese (gruyere and some ricotta) and put a lid over it to melt the cheese and cook the rest of the egg. after a couple minutes, i folded the egg over and, voila! a perfectly delicious omelet. and because i can’t just half do anything, while preparing the omelet, i had thrown some chopped potatoes in a pan with some butter, onion, rosemary, salt, pepper, and a touch of cayenne pepper. this was such a good breakfast and it lasted me all day at work.

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also this weekend i made oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes. i got the idea originally from Nuts and Bolts, but ended up changing up the recipe a little bit. the main reason i did that was because i didn’t have a lot of the ingredients from that recipe, so i made a basic pancake batter i found on martha stewarts website, found here. i just eyeballed the oatmeal and chocolate chip amounts, mixed, and served! they were also very yummy, and a nice sweet treat to start the day. the oatmeal makes them much more filling than regular pancakes which was pretty cool!

i hope everyone had a great weekend!

spinach and feta pie

my first few days in the blogging community have been great so far! i’ve been exposed to so many people who love the same things i do, and in that process i stumbled upon this recipe for spinach and feta pie on rosa’s yummy yums blog!

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Whole Wheat Spinach and Feta Pie
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, October 2012.

Serves 4-6/makes a 24cm pie.

Ingredients For The “Whole Wheat Shortcrust Pastry”:
380g Whole wheat flour
1 2/3 Tsps Fine sea salt
100g Lard, cold & cut into small cubes
90g Unsalted butter, cold & cut into small cubes
Enough water to blend (~90-100ml)
1 Beaten egg, for glazing the top of the pie
Ingredients For The “Filling”:
1 Tbs Olive oil
3 Medium onions, chopped finely
4 Cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 1/2 Tsp Dried dill
600g Frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped finely
3 Eggs (~63g)
250g Ricotta
250g Feta, finely chopped
50g Mature Gruyère,  cut into small cubes
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Method For The “Shortcrust Pastry”:
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl/bassin.
2. Add the lard and butter. Rub between the fingers until the mixture is flaky.
3. Pour in the water, gradually, while continuously cutting and stirring with a knife (stop adding water when the dough is stiff – it should not be sticky or wet). Gather up into a soft ball and place it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Method For The “Filling”:
4. In a hot frying pan/skillet, add the oil and chopped onion. Fry until translucid.
5. Add the garlic and dill. Cook for another minute.
6. Add the spinach and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
7. Put the mixture in a big bowl and let cool completely.
8. Incorporate the eggs, ricotta, feta and Gruyère to the spinach mixture.
9. Salt and pepper to taste.
Method For “Assembling The Pie”:
10. Heat the oven to 200°C (400° F).
11. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and line the base of a 24cm (9 1/2 inches) pie plate.
12. Fill with the spinach mixture and brush the edges of the pastry with water.
13. Roll out the remaining dough (1/3) and cover the pie.
14. Press the edges of the pastry to seal and trim off the excess.
15. With the remaining pastry, decorate the pie top as desired (leaves, flowers, et…).
16. Prick the top of the pastry case to allow steam to escape and glaze the top with the beaten egg
17. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.
18. Serve.

when i was making this recipe i did improvise a little bit; i used regular bleached flour and shortening for the pastry instead of whole wheat flour and lard because i didn’t have either on hand! i also added fingerling potatoes (the cute purple and red ones!) to the filling because i didn’t have enough spinach! i’ve never made homemade pie crust before this and although in the end it tasted delicious, it looked far from pretty when i was trying to roll it out. so i ended up rolling the dough back into a ball and pressing it into my pie plate by hand and rolling the left over dough the best i could for the top. it ended up looking very rustic for lack of a better word! i also had a side of leftover corned beef hash from st. patricks day which is a recipe of my fathers that i will share with you all soon!