I’m going to share 2 recipes with you today, both from our Easter Feast. First, our Intermezzo course, a very simple Italian Granita. I like to serve Granita when doing a big, fancy dinner. It acts as a palate cleanser and gives folks a chance to rest a bit between courses.
MELONE e MENTA GRANITA
HONEYDEW MELON and MINT GRANITA
1 Honeydew melon, seeded, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine
Zest of 1 lime
12 large mint leaves
Heat water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir sugar into the hot water until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large blender puree the melon, zest, wine and syrup (sugar water). At this point I put the puree in the fridge overnight and froze next day. When ready to freeze, pour puree into a large baking pan (I used a 9″ square metal pan which is the perfect size.) and place in the freezer. Stir the mixture with a fork about every 20 minutes until you have a nice grainy texture with fairly small crystals; about 3 hours.
My favorite course at Easter dinner this year was the Il Primo.
QUATTRO RAVIOLI di FORMAGGIO
FOUR CHEESE RAVIOLI
I served these raviolis in brown butter and garnished with fried sage leaves. The pasta recipe is from the cooking class my husband and I took when we were in Tuscany last summer. The only difference is, in the class we hand-rolled the pasta, and cut into fettucine. This rustic pasta is called STRANGLE THE PRIEST. There are lots of interpretations for the name of this pasta, but my favorite is this one: On Sunday’s women in villages across Tuscany would make a weeks worth of pasta for the parish priests. Sometimes their own husbands would feel neglected as the women toiled over mounds of pasta for the priests. The men would become enraged and were ready to STRANGLE THE PRIEST!
|Making pasta is fun!
|My husband, Jerry, very happy with his result!
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
Water (to moisten)
|Chef Marta starts incorporating the egg to make the pasta.
|Marta’s is perfect, but she has made this a few times!
Mound flour on a board or directly on your counter. Make a large well and drop the 2 eggs into it. Stir the eggs with a fork and as you stir gradually start incorporating the flour into the egg. Add water as needed to keep dough soft and together. Knead until smooth and elastic; about 5 minutes. The dough should feel very smooth and silky. Let dough sit for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into 2 portions and press on the dough to thin it down enough to fit into your pasta machine. Start rolling it out on the widest setting and keep folding and rolling until you are down to the #8 setting. Continue folding each time you run the pasta through. When finished you will almost be able to see through the pasta. Cut into ravioli shape. Add about 1 Tbsp. of the cheese filling. Top with a second ravioli. Moisten your fingers and crimp the edges together thoroughly so the raviolis don’t lose their filling while cooking. I also pressed a fork around the edges of the raviolis to ensure the filling stayed inside. Cover a large cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Top with a fairly thick coating of flour. Rest the raviolis on top of the flour uncovered for about 2 hours.
Add raviolis to gently boiling water that has about 1 tsp. of salt and a splash of olive oil. Cook until just al dente; about 3-4 minutes. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon.
To make brown butter:
Heat a stick of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat until the butter becomes brown and bubbly.
To fry sage leaves:
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan until hot, but not smoking. Drop in sage leaves and fry, turning once. Drain on a paper towel.
FOUR CHEESE FILLING:
3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan
2/3 cup Asiago
2/3 cup Pecorino Romano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt/Pepper to taste
Stir all ingredients together. As with most recipes there are endless variations to the filling (add garlic, herbs, different cheeses, etc.), but I wanted to keep fairly simple since it was only the first course of a big meal!
If you don’t have a pasta machine try making this pasta as we did in Italy, simply by rolling it out with a rolling pin. It will be a little inconsistent and not as thin as using a machine, but that is the charm!
NEXT TIME WE WILL GO RIGHT TO
IL SECONDO COURSE…THE PORK!
THANK YOU FOR TUNING IN
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