"if you're afraid of butter, use cream." - Julia Child

Month: September 2017

Seared Scallops with Corn Cakes and Bacon Vinaigrette

Seared Scallops with Corn Cakes and Bacon Vinaigrette

  These seasonal transitions can be rough sometimes. The temperatures are all over the map —  do I braise, is it time yet? Should I grill? It can be tough to decide what mood to be in. But in the early fall, two things are […]

Coq Au Riesling

Coq Au Riesling

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Salmon Ravioli with Lemon Herbed Cream

Salmon Ravioli with Lemon Herbed Cream

 

I know a lot of people are intimidated by homemade pasta. I was hesitant for a long time before making it. I thought the sacred-sounding techniques of this-region-and-that-region seemed hotly debated; and like most contentious culinary issues, shrouded in mystery. It’s just flour, eggs and a little water after all, but the texture this magic combination yields is something I’d only had prepared in restaurants. What are the odds that I could achieve the same results by fumbling around in a cloud of flour in my own kitchen?

 

Turns out, odds are good. As far as dough work goes (which can be super intimidating at first, I know), pasta dough is pretty straight forward. There is still some muscle memory that needs to be developed before it becomes second nature, but it’s very achievable and intensely rewarding when you get there. The thing that makes pasta dough an easier thing to get the hang of is that the texture you’re looking for at the end of the kneading process is a perfect balance between a shaggy dough that won’t quite form a ball, and a sticky mixture that sticks to the side of the bowl (and your hand) as you’re checking it. You’ll know it’s in the right place when it’s holding its shape, you pinch a little and it doesn’t stick — it should feel smooth and elastic. The other piece of good news is this: It’s really hard to over-knead pasta dough. So if you find it too sticky while kneading, add some flour. Too shaggy, kind of falling apart? Add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time. It takes a minute or two for additions to work their way into the dough (whether doing this part by hand or by mixer), so be patient. It’ll get there, and there’s very little to risk by waiting it out until you get the texture you’re looking for.

 

 

Once you’re there, we have but to let it rest and roll it out. I know “let it rest and roll it out” sounds like some kind of awful motivational saying, but just bear with me. Ravioli is almost upon us.

 

 

I’m awfully partial to the pasta-making attachments to the KitchenAid stand mixer, but if you already own a manual crank-style pasta roller, you’re a better person than I am and you’re probably super buff. Go about your business and pay no attention to us. If you’re like me, follow the instructions that came with those attachments and you’ll have beautiful sheets of homemade pasta draped over every surface in your kitchen until you’re shooing your husband out with a broom lest he touch anything.

 

 

We’ll be draping these little guys we worked so hard on in a lovely lemon cream sauce laced with all the fresh herbs from the garden. You can use any mixture of herbs you prefer, but I think that parsley, chive, basil and just a touch of mint is a winning mixture and complements our ravioli filling nicely.

 

 

Salmon Ravioli with Lemon Herbed Cream

Adapted from The Italian Dish

Ingredients:

 

For the pasta:

2 1/4 cups flour, plus more as needed for rolling out the dough

3 eggs

Water amount: ¼ cup, plus more as needed

 

For the filling:

12 oz salmon, skin removed

2 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and light green parts only

1 shallot, finely diced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

A few grinds of black pepper

1 tablespoon chives, sliced thin

1 tablespoon parmesan, freshly grated

Zest of 1 lemon

For the sauce:

1 shallot, finely diced

½ cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chives, sliced thin

 

Directions:

First, make the pasta. Combine the flour, eggs, water and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir until well combined and a dough forms. Continue to knead the dough with the dough hook, adding flour and water as necessary, until the dough holds together without sticking to the sides of the bowl or your hand as you check it. This process should take about 15 min, but don’t stop until you’ve achieved the texture you want. Remember, it’s very hard to over-knead pasta dough. Once you’ve got it, turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it a couple more times by hand. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least an hour before rolling out.

Once the dough has rested, connect the roller attachment to your stand mixer and set the dial that controls the pasta thickness to zero. Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Take the first piece and flatten it a little with the palm of your hand. Turn the mixer on low and gently start feeding the dough through the machine. Once it’s through, run it  through twice more on the zero setting, then increase the setting by one each time you roll it through. Ravioli dough doesn’t need to be as thin as other pasta dough; and we want it to be sturdy enough to hold our filling, so I wouldn’t recommend rolling this any thinner than the number three setting.

Once you have your sheets, cut them each in half so they’ll be easier to work with. Scoop a tablespoon of filling at a time into the center of the sheet, spacing them out a couple of inches, until you have about 4 tablespoons of filling lined up, or until you run out of pasta sheet, whichever comes first.

In a small dish, beat 1 egg with a tablespoon of water. With a pastry brush, brush the edges and in between the filling mounds with the egg wash. Grab the other half of the pasta sheet and drape it gently over, being careful not to press down too much. With your hands, gently secure the two sheets together around the fillings, pressing out any extra air as you seal the sheets together. Using a pasta wheel or a pizza cutter, separate your raviolis and trim any excess pasta dough to your desired size. Have a tea towel spread out on a baking sheet to hold your finished ravioli as you’re done trimming them to size.

Place a large pot over medium high heat until it reaches a gentle boil. You don’t need the water to be at a full rolling boil like you would when cooking dried pasta — you don’t want the force of the water to cause your ravioli to fall apart. Boil for 2 min, they don’t need long; and we’re going to be finishing them in the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce for an additional  minutes. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice and zest and let it come to a gentle simmer in the pan. Add the ravioli, one by one and toss them gently to coat in the sauce. Once they’re warmed through, add the fresh herbs and toss gently to coat.

Place 3-4 ravioli on each plate and drape with the sauce. Garnish with more fresh herbs and parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes about 16 ravioli

Serves 4-6 as a main course

 

 

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Navajo Fry Bread Tostadas

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