Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ravioli al Pesce con Tartufo

This was definitely one of Dave's favorite recipes. "Ravioli with Halibut and Truffles". It was mouth watering delicious!!!

You will see that the pasta I made was inspired by my lessons in Italy at La Petraia. It was a lot of fun for me to make this at home, but I missed having my friend Krista beside me and making this together with her in Italy.

The ingredient for the pasta: 1 large egg (weighing 65 grams on a scale), 100 grams of flour (3/4 cup). I learned that weighing your liquids (in this recipe the liquid is considered the egg) and your flour with a scale, is better than measuring with (cups), so that you get consistent texture all the time. A side note: I learned that most Bakers use a scale to weigh their ingredients for consistency and are conscientious of the room temperature when making dough. AHA, that's the secret.

Make a well in the middle of your flour mound.

Place the egg in the middle of the well and begin to beat slightly with a fork. As you are beating the egg, start to incorporate the flower to the center of the well. As your dough starts to come together, sprinkle your surface with light flower so that your dough does not stick to the surface. Once it is all incorporated, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the dough feels smooth and a little stiff. Chef Susan Grant describes the consistency of the dough as "playdough".

You need a lot of patience for this recipe if you are making this by hand. I enjoyed every moment of it.

Kneading for approximately 10 minutes.

Roll out your dough by beginning in the middle. Rotate your dough frequently (both sides) as you are rolling it out. Once your dough is not able to roll out anymore, your dough is done. By this time, you should slightly see the bottom of your surface through the dough, but not TOO thin that it will tear.
Once the dough is rolled out, I folded it in half and then in half again, so that it fits in my pasta sheet rollers. I started on #1 on the pasta sheet roller and worked my way up to #7. Note: Each time you place the dough in the roller, you move up one number at a time. My pasta sheet roller goes up to 10, but I rarely go that thin with pasta. When my dough was ready, I made some plain dough cut-outs for the Ravioli in two different shapes. I then took the other half of the dough and pressed basil leaves and put it through the pasta sheet roller again to press it together.

Fresh Ravioli with Halibut and Truffles with a light tomatoe sauce (home made).

For the Stuffing: Sadie's Poached Halibut Cheek Recipe

One Halibut Cheek

2 Tbsp of butter

2 Tbsp of Dry Vermouth

1/2 lemon (juiced)

1 tsp truffle

salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in pre-heated saute pan. Add the vermouth and the juice of 1/2 lemon. On low heat, add halibut, salt and freshly ground black pepper and saute for about 1 minute. Turn, cover and finish cooking on the other side, for a total cooking time of about 5-8 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish. (Start with the lower amount; overcooked halibut is dry and stringy; cook until flaky and tender). Cool the halibut on a plate.

In a mixing bowl, place cooled halibut cheek and add the tsp of truffle and mix together.

That is it, you now have your stuffing for the Ravioli.

This recipe was made ad-hoc and I am sure I can add other spices to it, but the truffles was enough to make it taste DELICIOUS!!!

Penne with Beef Ragu

Typically, this recipe is made in Italy with Wild Boar, which is delicious and very tasty. However, here in Seattle, it's not so easy to find Wild Boar at Larry's Market and/or any grocery store that is readily available. You have to order it ahead of time and pay a healthy price for it. So, I selected a very nice cut of beef and I had my butcher at Larry's Market grind it for me with his special blades. When it is minced, the meat has the tiniest bits and not chunks, as you would buy when it is pre-minced in packages. Also, this recipe is best accompanied with Pappardelle pasta, but I selected to make it with Penne as it was easier for me on a work day. Over the weekend, I will have time to make my own Pappardelle and cook this recipe with Wild Boar (pre-ordered at Larry's).

The original recipe belongs to Chef Susan Grant from her cook book "PIANO PIANO PIENO" which is interpreted as "Slowly Slowly Full" in English. It's a lovely cook book and written by Chef Susan Grant with lots of passion for cooking and lots of love. I would totally recommend buying this book. The recipe you find in here is my own recipe with my interpretation of Ragu and with Chef Susan Grant's assistance, I was able to alter a few things in my recipe to make it MUCH MORE tastier than when I made it before my lessons in Italy!! Buon Appetito!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And More Zucchini Flowers from Mari's Garden

A few days after the first zucchini flowers were given to me by my friend Mari, she brings a bunch for me and my family to enjoy!! Look how beautiful they are and they were just as delicious!

Zucchini Flowers At Last

After going to several markets in our area (Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland and Seattle), and not having any luck finding zucchini flowers, all it took was a conversation with a friend at work (Mari) to find out that she's got loads of zucchini's in her garden. So, the next day, Mari brings me the most beautiful zucchini flowers, to my delight. I could not wait to get home and cook them along with some sage leaves. Yum. Thank you Mari!!Light batter for the flowers and the sage leaves.

Ready to eat....Zucchini flowers and sage leaves fried and sprinkled with Susan Grant's "Sale alla Lavanda" (which means lavender salt in English) from Italy.