Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Here's My #RomanticIdea For Upcoming Blog Exchange and a Ravioli Recipe

I do blog exchanges with a group of author friends, (we do the #EggcerptExchange) and Tina Gayle, the coordinator, is having us write a "Romantic Idea" along with our blog posts. Here's mine:

 Cook an authentic Italian meal: cheese ravioli with homemade marinara sauce, garlic bread, a salad with Italian olive oil, a fine Italian red wine, and a sweet gelato for dessert. Then put on some Sinatra and dance the night away!

I grew up with Sinatra playing on our phonograph and one of my fav albums was Come Dance With Me. Nearly everyone from Hoboken or anywhere near Hoboken has a Sinatra story, here's mine (from Jersey City)--my great grandmother, known as Josie Red, and Frank's mother Dolly were very good friends. Would I have loved to be a fly on the wall to hear their gossip & chat!

Here's a great ravioli (we call them ravvi's for short) and sauce recipe:


2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for the baking sheet

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 large sprigs fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped


For the ravioli: Put the flour in a mound on a clean work surface and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Use your fingers to make a well in the middle of the mound. Crack 2 of the eggs into the well. Add 2 of the egg yolks to the well, followed by the  heavy cream. Use your fingers to break up the eggs and yolks and combine with the cream. Work the flour into the egg mixture by gradually incorporating the flour from the inside of the well. When the flour is completely incorporated, knead the dough vigorously for 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky to knead, dust with 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until you are able to knead it. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, wrap in plastic and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, remaining egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate.

For the sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, sugar and crushed red pepper and stir to combine. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered, for 30 minutes. Discard the oregano and season with salt and pepper if needed. Cover and reserve.

To make the ravioli: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside. Roll one of the pieces of dough into a 6-by-18-inch rectangle on a lightly-floured work surface (the dough should be very thin). Cut the sheet of dough in half lengthwise to create two 3-by-18-inch sheets.

Brush the entire surface of one of the pasta sheets with the egg wash. Working down the center, spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of the ricotta filling into 8 evenly spaced mounds. Gently lay the second pasta sheet over the first, matching up the sides. Gently press between the mounds of cheese to define 8 separate ravioli. Carefully push out air bubbles around the mounds and seal the seams. Trim any jagged edges and discard the scraps. Cut the pasta between each mound, separating the ravioli. Transfer the ravioli to the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining pasta and filling. You should have about 32 ravioli.

Working in 2 to 3 batches so the ravioli don't stick to one another, cook the ravioli in the boiling water until they float to the surface and the dough is cooked through and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the marinara sauce and serve topped with the Parmesan and basil.


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