Thursday, December 29, 2011

Italy Redux mains

From Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen:

Spinach, ricotta and pine nut ravioli with sage butter

Pasta dough:
Pinch of saffron strands
1 Tbsp boiling water
4 cups Italian "00" flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 medium eggs, plus 6 egg yolks
2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
1 lb spinach leaves
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper
2/3 c ricotta cheese
2 3/4 oz Parmesan, grated
2/3 c pine nuts, toasted
Squeeze of lemon, to taste
Beaten egg, for brushing

Sage butter:
5 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp heavy cream
6 sage sprigs, leaves shredded

For the pasta, lightly crush the saffron in a bowl, pour the boiling water over it and let infuse until cooled. Spout rest of the ingredients into a food processor, add the saffron water, and whiz until the mix resembles coarse crumbs; add a little more water if needed. Tip into a bowl and press into a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth. The dough should be soft but not sticky; if it feels too wet, knead in a little more flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and pan fry the garlic until lightly golden. Add the spinach and cool for 2-3 minutes until the liquid released has been absorbed. Increase the heat slightly and stir in the butter, nutmeg an seasoning. Drained roughly chop the spinach. In a large bowl, beat together with the ricotta, Parmesan and the toasted pine nuts. Stir in the spinach and touch of lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the pasts into 8 pieces, roll into balls, and keep each wrapped until needed. Using a pasta machine, roll each ball into a long sheet about 32" x 5".cover with damp dish towel. Prepare ravioli with filling.

For sage butter, melt butter until it begins to brown. Take off heat and let stand one minute then strain through a strainer into a clean pan. Heat slowly then stir in cream and sage.

Bring large pan of lightly salted water to boil, add ravioli and cook 2-3 mins. Drain well and toss with sage butter. Serve with extra Parmesan.

On page 38-39 of the cookbook, there are some fairly detailed photos of Ramsay making ravioli. Since I am not an expert, I definitely found this helpful! To be clear, while I enjoy Ramsay's cooking I cannot stand his cooking shows where he berates everyone except himself in the kitchen. Isn't good food about good life and enjoyable living?

We also made the marinated mushrooms from the first Italian dinner.

The following recipes are from Alvaro's Mamma Toscana: The authentic Tuscan cookbook by Alvaro Maccioni.

Fagiolini alla Fiorentina (Florentine French Beans)
150g French green beans
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp tomato purée diluted with a little water

Clean the beans and then soak in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and cook in boiling, salted water for 10 mins. Drain.
Heat oil in flameproof casserole and brown the onion in it with the fennel seeds. Add the diluted tomato paste and simmer 3-4 mins. Stir in the beans, season to taste. Cover and cook a further 15 mins. We didn't cooked for this extra time since we like the beans crunchy!

The beans are in the middle of the table - sorry, no close up this time!

Cipolla alla Grossetana (Tuscan stuffed onions)
8 onions
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
4 oz minced veal
4 oz Italian sausage, skinned and chopped
1 egg
Salt, pepper, grated nutmeg

Peel the onions and boil them for approximately 10 mins (I would go for 15-20 mins if I make them again). Drain. Carefully scoop out insides of the onions and chop them finely. Put aside the outer shells, ready for stuffing.
Meanwhile, soften the mushrooms in tepid water forms few minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid and squeeze to remove excess water.
Chop the mushrooms and fry them in butter. Add a Tbsp of water from the mushrooms and after 3 mins stir in the veal and sausage. Sauté until meat is cooked about 10 mins.
Pour the meat and mushrooms into a bowl and mix with the chopped onion flesh, the egg, a pinch of salt and pepper and nutmeg.
Place the onion shells in an oiled, deep casserole. Stuff them with the meat mixture. Pour a ladleful of water and/or mushroom liquid over the onions, cover and cook. Sprinkle now and then with own juices for about 10 mins.

Gnocchi di Spinaci al Forno (Oven baked Gnocchi)
1 lb, 2 oz spinach
2 1/4 c milk
1 Tbsp butter
7 oz semolina
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c grated Parmesan

White sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 1/4 milk
Salt and nutmeg
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 F.
To make gnocchi:
Wash spinach, then cook in the water clinging to the leaves.
Let spinach cool, then squeeze dry in your hands. Finely chop it by hand or in a food processor.
Bring the milk to a boil. Melt butter into it and then rain in the semolina a little t a time, stirring constantly. Cook over a low heat for around 10 mins.
Remove from heat and blend in the spinach, the beaten eggs, the Parmesan and a pinch of salt, stirring vigorously. This step took FOREVER for us, so make sure you completely drain the spinach and boil the milk.... I love gnocchi, but I'm not sure if I'd make this one again...there must be a secret step that we didn't figure out!

To make white sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring energetically to a smooth paste. Stir in the milk and continue to cook, stirring all the time, until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and nutmeg and add the Parmesan.

Shape the gnocchi mixture into small pieces, place them in a buttered ovenproof dish and cover them with the white sauce. Bake for 20-25 mins.

Tonno Ubriaco (Drunken Tuna Fish)
1/2 c olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 onion sliced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 fresh tuna steaks
1 Tbsp white flour
3/4 c Chianti wine
Salt and pepper

Put the oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic, onion and parsley for a few minutes.
When the garlic has turned golden, remove it. Arrange the fish steaks in the pan and cook until done, about 1 min on each side. Season with. Salt and pepper and sprinkle the flour into the pan to thicken the cooking juices. After 2-3 minutes, stir in the wine.
Cook for a further 5 mins and then serve.

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