A Tale of Two Pizzas

Un Racconto di Due Pizze

Due PizzeFunny the convoluted paths that some of my posts take before being published. Today’s is a case in point. Originally this was to be a post about Naan pizzas. Originally.

For almost as long as I’ve lived in Chicago, Friday night has been “little or no cook” night. When I worked in The Loop, I often went out with my workmates for a “quick one” after work, which then led to several more before food somehow made its way to the table. On other Fridays, I met friends at a nearby watering hole and we often ended up at a restaurant or in one of our apartments ordering dinner before heading out for the night. Pizza was often a part of the remaining Fridays — but they were delivered.

Much has changed in my life since then but the 2 things that have remained constant are that I don’t do a lot of cooking on Friday nights and I still love pizza. Enter Naan pizza. With Naan as my pizza crust, I can easily prepare pizza with whatever toppings I want or that I have on-hand — just like my “clean out the fridge frittata”, another Friday night favorite. And that was to be the post: making Naan pizza. Then I went to the wrong grocery store.

Naan is available at all the grocery stores where I shop — save one and, of course, that’s where I found myself on a recent Friday afternoon. I’d been running errands all morning and, once I discovered my mistake, I didn’t feel much like heading to another grocery, That’s when inspiration struck. Realizing that I had some very active sourdough starter on my counter, I decided to go traditional and make my own pizza crust. My “Naan Pizza” post suddenly became “A Tale of Two Pizzas”, one old-style and one Naan.

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Prosciutto Pizza 1*     *     *

Prosciutto Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (Recipe follows)
  • a few tablespoons of Pistachio Pesto
  • marinated artichoke hearts, well-drained
  • several asparagus spears, chopped and briefly sautéed in butter or olive oil, drained
  • diced prosciutto
  • mozzarella (See Notes)
  • Fontina cheese, grated
  • diced prosciutto, garnish

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425˚ F (220˚ C). Lightly coat a 9 X 13″ (23 X 33 cm) baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Use a rolling-pin to create a rectangle with the dough. Do not try to make it as large as needed. Place the dough in the center of the baking sheet and, with your fingertips, gently move/stretch the dough until it covers the entire sheet. If the dough recoils, let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes before resuming.
  3. For a slightly thicker crust, pre-cook the crust for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven before proceeding.
  4. Apply a light coating of pesto to the top of the crust. The less oil used, the better.
  5. Place the artichokes, asparagus, and prosciutto on the crust.
  6. Evenly arrange the mozzarella cheese before covering the entire pizza with freshly grated Fontina cheese.
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, more or less depending upon your preference.
  8. Garnish with more diced prosciutto and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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Pizza Crust 1*     *     *

Pizza Dough Recipe

This dough recipe is based on the Celia’s Bread #101 — A Basic Tutorial recipe in her encyclopedic blog, Fig and Lime Cordial. (Seriously, if you’re looking for a bread recipe, forget Google and head over to Celia’s.) Her recipe makes 4 crusts which is too much for me. So, I reduced the amounts but not by half. I added 50g more flour to accommodate my addition of sourdough starter, which by the way, also, came from Celia. She’s named her sourdough starter “Priscilla”, while mine has been christened “Bart, son of Priscilla”.

Ingredients

  • 300 g bread flour
  • 5 g yeast (See Notes)
  • 1/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 5 g kosher salt
  • 160 ml water
  • 25 ml olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and, using a stand mixer’s dough hook, knead until a nice dough forms.
  2. Separate into 2 equal parts. (Mine were 280 grams apiece.)
  3. Place each in lightly oiled, container with lid, cover, and place in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down dough, re-cover, and let rise again till doubled — about 1 hour more.
  5. Take one ball of dough, wrap it tightly in plastic/cling wrap, and freeze. The night before it’s needed, place in the fridge to defrost.
  6. Prepare the remaining dough ball as you would normally when making pizza.

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Now that the traditional pizza is out-of-the-way, we can turn to the “I want pizza now!” pizza recipe. These pizzas shouldn’t take more than a half hour to prepare — and that’s from start to burning the roof of your mouth. Use whatever toppings and as much of each as you like. Following the prosciutto pizza, I’ve listed 3 more, 2 of which are meatless.

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Spinach~Prosciutto Naan Pizza

Prosciutto Pizza Topped 1*     *     *

Ingredients

  • Naan
  • Pesto Genovese – get recipe HERE.
  • mozzarella (See Notes)
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • hand-torn pickled cherry bomb peppers ( See Notes)
  • fresh baby spinach, very lightly dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper (See Notes)
  • thinly sliced prosciutto

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425˚ F (220 ˚C).
  2. Lightly coat top of the Naan with pesto.
  3. Place the mozzarella and then sprinkle with the grated goat cheese.
  4. Add the cherry bomb peppers.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, depending upon your preference.
  6. Remove from oven and immediately top with the dressed spinach leaves. Place torn slices of prosciutto on the top of the pizza and serve.

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Variations

Originally, the above 3 pizzas were to be part of a Naan Pizza post. Once I made a pizza using my own crust, however, these 3 took a back seat to the prosciutto pizzas. Still, they do prove my point that the topping possibilities are endless and oftentimes my Friday night pizza, much like my Friday night frittata, helps me clear out my fridge. On the left is a pizza topped with sardines and kale, the top right is an anchovy and caper pizza, while the bottom pie is made with spicy salami and kalamata olives. Click on an image to reveal that pizza’s remaining ingredients.

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Notes

When making these pizzas, I often use small mozzarella balls called ciliegine, so named because they are cherry-sized and ciliege is the Italian word for cherries. Other times, I use “mozzarella pearls” which are about half the size of ciliegine.

When using Naan for my crust, I use a baking sheet and wouldn’t suggest baking your pizza on a pizza stone. Naan is already fully cooked and it will likely burn on a pizza stone while your pizza’s toppings are being heated.

I used yeast this time around because I wasn’t sure that I’d have enough time to allow the sourdough to rise, having spent the day running errands. Normally, I start the dough in the morning and, when it’s ready, pre-bake the crust, then hold it until I’m ready to fix dinner.

Use as much or as little of any ingredient listed, according to your own preferences.

The pickled cherry bomb peppers I used here came from my garden and added a bit of heat to the pizza. Use whatever pepper/chile you prefer.

Dress the spinach leaves sparingly with oil and vinegar. Remember that any excess will drain on to your pizza.

I prefer to place the spinach on the pizza first so that the pizza’s heat will lightly wilt the leaves. You may prefer to place the prosciutto on first.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Pasta al SalmoneToday’s look back features Pasta al Salmone, Pasta with Salmon. I first tasted this delicious pasta while in Italy for the first time. It was love at first bite. It took me a number of years to replicate that dish but I finally did and now I can enjoy Pasta al Salmone without having to deal with airports and surly flight attendants. You can see the recipe by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Homemade GarganelliHomemade Garganelli Pasta

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Try This One For Thighs

Coscie di Pollo con Harissa

Harissa Thighs 1Little did I know when I used harissa to braise goat last October that I would become obsessed with the spicy sauce. Initially, I bought harissa from a Middle Eastern bakery that prepares the sauce on-site and provides it to a number of restaurants here in Chicago. Celia, though, suggested I make my own. Now, if you’ve been to her amazing blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, you know that Celia makes just about everything and does so with a deft hand. Still, I was hesitant.

The truth is that many recipes say to use red or green chiles. Well, being a chile neophyte, I never know which ones to use and it’s not like there’s a big selection here. Then I came upon Mimi’s harissa recipe. (Take some time to get to know her blog, the Chef Mimi Blog, too, for some incredibly delicious recipes.) Her recipe took a different tack and I decided to give it a try.

Well, as luck would have it, when I went shopping for ingredients, there they were, a large display of red Fresno peppers. I bought a dozen, deciding I would take inspiration from both of their recipes, and since that afternoon, I’ve made several batches of harissa.

Over time, I’ve adjusted the spice mix to get to a flavor profile I prefer and now I’m working on the heat level. Right now, this sauce has a nice even heat when raw — there’s a roasted vegetable salad post in the works — but it dissipates a bit when cooked. Those with a higher tolerance for chiles may wish to include the peppers’ ribs and seeds, or, add another Habanero to the recipe below.

Like my harissa sauce, today’s chicken recipe is a work in progress, although I have prepared it in much the same manner 4 or 5 times now. In some ways, it reminds me of a cacciatore with a North African twist. I think you’ll find the recipe easy enough to follow without experiencing any problems.

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Chicken Thighs with Harissa

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • 3 tbsp harissa sauce – recipe follows
  • 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper/capsicum, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • about 12 oz (340 g) olive salad (See Notes)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • lemon zest
  • mint leaves for garnish – optional

Directions

  1. Combine harissa, cinnamon, and chicken stock in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan with a cover over med-high heat.
  3. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add to frying pan, skin-side down. Sauté until brown, 6 to 8 minutes, before turning over and browning the other side. Remove thighs from the pan.
  4. Remove all but 2 tbsp of fat from the pan. Add onions and peppers to the pan and sauté until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic for the final minute.
  5. Add olive salad and harissa sauce mix, stir, and heat through.
  6. Add thighs back to the pan, skin-side down, before adding the cherry tomatoes and preserved lemon. Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium.
  7. After 15 minutes, turn over the thighs so that they’re skin-side up. Do not cover the pan, giving the sauce a chance to thicken while the chicken finishes cooking.
  8. After the thighs have cooked for a total of 30 minutes, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the largest thigh. When the temperature reaches 165˚ F (75˚ C) the thighs are done.
  9. Remove to serving platter, sprinkle with lemon zest, and garnish with torn mint leaves, if desired.
  10. Serve immediately.

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Harissa Thighs 7

Someone forgot the mint leaves.

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Notes

I prefer to use a variety of olives here. Most of the groceries in this area offer olive salads, some even have more than 1 type. When they’re available, I’ll use the Mediterranean or Spanish olive salad. In today’s recipe, I combined both. Use whatever combination of olives you prefer and that are available. Use as little or as much as you like.

The chicken was served over tri-color “pearl” couscous that had been tossed with chopped scallions (spring onions) and sun-dried tomatoes.

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Homemade Harissa*     *     *

Harissa Recipe

yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 12 Fresno peppers, seeds removed
  • 3 whole roasted red peppers — well-drained if store-bought
  • 1 Habanero chile, seeds removed
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander seed
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 30 mint leaves, more or less to taste
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • water

Directions

  1. Place cumin seeds in a small frying pan over med-high heat. Keep the pan moving and toast the seeds until uniformly brown and fragrant — no more than 2 minutes. Immediately remove from pan and reserve.  Repeat with coriander seeds and then the caraway. Once all are cool, place in spice mill or mortar and grind. (See Notes)
  2. Place the ground spices. Habanero and Fresno chiles, paprika, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and run until a thick paste has formed.
  3. Add the mint leaves and pulse the contents until mixed.
  4. Add the oil and process. If you prefer your harissa sauce to be thinner, add water until it reaches the consistency you like.
  5. Harissa is ready to use as-is, though it will be better after a few days, once the flavors have a chance to blend a bit.

Refrigerate in an airtight container. Celia recommends adding a thin coat of olive oil before storing. Harissa should be used within a couple of weeks.

With special thanks to Celia, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and Mimi, Chef Mimi Blog

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Notes

It is best to toast seeds of varying sizes separately. When toasted together, the smallest seeds will likely burn while you wait for the larger ones to toast.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Swordfish 1Today’s blast from the past, swordfish served with salsa verde, carries with it a message. See those grill marks, Old Man Winter? We want to start grilling but can’t so long as you stick around. Take the hint, vacate the North, and head to the Southern Hemisphere, where they eagerly await your cooler temps and much-needed rain. The rest of you can click HERE to learn how to prepare this dish.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Pasta e Fagioli 2Pasta and Beans

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Asparagus, Crimini Mushroom, and Ricotta Ravioli Filling

Yes, it’s another ravioli filling recipe, though not the one I had originally intended to post. Today’s filling recipe was to include ramps, a dish Zia and I developed during my last visit home. Well, ramp season has passed and I doubt that any of the wild onions are to be found anywhere. Asparagus, on the other hand, is still around, though it’s numbers have greatly decreased over the last 2 weekends. (The ramps post is written and will be published soon.) Seeing that asparagus season is also fleeting, I thought it best to post a recipe using the spears now, while you can still get some that are locally grown. In fact, all 3 recipes presented in today’s post will take advantage of the current harvest. The “Déjà vu” recipe will feature strawberries, while “Coming soon” is a pasta recipe that includes a number of fresh ingredients. 

Today’s post will only detail how to make asparagus ravioli filling. If you’re interested in seeing how to use ravioli molds/dies to create the stuffed pasta pillows, you can see step-by-step instructions by clicking HERE. For serving suggestions, see Notes below.

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Asparagus, Crimini Mushroom, & Ricotta Ravioli Filling Recipe

Yield: See Notes below. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz (228 g) fresh asparagus, chopped
  • 8 oz (228 g) fresh crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 oz (86 g) Spring onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 3/4 cup (12 oz, 340 g) ricotta, well-drained
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Roman cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Clean and roughly chop the asparagus (see Notes), mushrooms, onion, & garlic
  2. Heat olive oil and butter over med-high heat. Add asparagus, mushroom, and onion, lower heat to medium, and sauté until mixture just begins to change color — about 6 or 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and continue to sauté until liquids are gone. Do not allow to burn.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully before proceeding.
  5. If using a food processor:
    1. Place the asparagus mixture into the processor, add the ricotta and Romano cheeses, and process until uniformly smooth.
  6. If not using a food processor:
    1. Chop the asparagus mixture as finely as possible.
    2. Add the cheeses and stir to thoroughly combine.
  7. Filling may now be used with your favorite stuffed pasta recipe.

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Notes

Using this recipe and my large, 2 inch (5 cm), ravioli die/mold , I made 90 ravioli. You might make more or less, depending upon the size of the die or stamp used.

Whether you use homemade or store-bought ricotta, place the cheese in a clean coffee filter, where it can drain for at least a few hours to remove the excess liquid.  The drier the better. 

You can serve your asparagus ravioli in a number of ways. I’ve found that a brown butter and sage sauce works very well, as do cream and “light” tomato sauces. For those who really enjoy asparagus, simply sauté a few chopped asparagus spears in butter and use that to dress freshly cooked ravioli. A bit of lemon zest on top works very well. In all the examples given, grated cheese should be sprinkled atop the dressed ravioli.

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Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

I’ve made this and a couple other ravioli fillings over the course of the past couple of  months and it gave me an opportunity to experiment with a few things.

  1. All Purpose V Double 0 Flour. Last Fall I, finally, located a source for “00″ flour, doppio 0. This is the finely ground durum flour used to make pasta and pizza dough in Italy. Although it’s roughly twice as expensive as AP flour, both Zia and I agree that using it creates pasta dough with a great feel. When cooked al dente, the pasta has a good bite, just as it should, and I’ll continue to buy and use it. Decisions have consequences, however, and I now have yet another container of flour in my kitchen. For those keeping track, that makes  6 — AP, bread, wheat, spelt, semolina, and now 00.  
  2. Attachment V Ravioli Die/Mold. I decided to pull out the KitchenAid ravioli maker and give it another shot. In the past I’ve found it less than perfect and, frankly, more trouble than it’s worth. All along, I thought that the fault may lie with the fillings I used, that the attachment would work best if a softer filling was in the hopper. Today’s asparagus ravioli filling was used to test my theory. I must admit that the ravioli maker worked better than it ever has and waste — which was a big problem with earlier trials — was minimal. Even if a bit cumbersome to operate, probably due to my inexperience, it did produce row after row of perfect ravioli. All’s not well, though. In order to get perfect ravioli, the dough sheets must be thick, more than double the thickness that we normally would use. That means you need to make at least twice the amount of pasta dough than would normally be required when using ravioli molds/dies. It, also, means the ratio of filling to pasta is different from the ravioli to which I’m accustomed. (Yes, my generation of Bartolini are a spoiled lot.)  In short, the ravioli attachment is back on the shelf, waiting for me to give it another go, probably in 2015 sometime.
  3. Chicken V Duck Eggs. Recently, while waiting to buy eggs at the farmers market, the customer before me bought a half-dozen duck eggs. Prior to this, I thought they were only sold by the dozen. So, I 86′ed the chicken and went duck. A couple of days later, I used them to make the pasta dough used in the ravioli pictured throughout this post. For those unfamiliar, Mom’s pasta dough recipe calls for 4 eggs and enough water to make a cup of liquid. Because they’re larger, only 3 duck eggs plus less than a tbsp of water will yield the required cup of liquid. Once made, the dough was much more yellow than normal but, to be fair, that may be due to the eggs’ freshness more than anything else. As for taste, I really could not detect a difference but, then again, without side-by-side taste tests, I should really say that I don’t “remember” a difference. Given that duck eggs are twice the price of chicken eggs, I’m not sure that I’ll be a regular customer for them anytime soon.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

As was mentioned, we’re just about at the end of asparagus season here in the Chicago area. The tables upon tables of the tasty spears have been replaced — by strawberries! Pictured on the right is just one vendor’s berries at the Evanston farmers market. Believe me, there are many more and I defy anyone, save those with allergies, to walk around that market without buying at least one quart. So, what will you do with these sweet & juicy red gems? Why, make strawberry jam, of course! You can see Mom’s recipe by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Farmers Market Pasta

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Porcini Mushroom, Leek, and Goat Cheese Ravioli Filling

Last week I demonstrated how easy it is to make ravioli, tortelloni, and manicotti using wonton wrappers. Now that you know what to do with the wrappers, today I’ll show you how to make a filling.

Given the stated purpose of these two posts, it wouldn’t make much sense to use a filling that was overly complicated to prepare or that required a dozen ingredients. Using only dried porcini mushrooms, leeks, garlic, and goat cheese, this filling could not be easier to make and yet packs a great deal of flavor into each pasta. With the longest step in the process being the wait for the mushroom-leek mixture to cool after being sautéed, you can easily make enough wonton wrapper ravioli in an afternoon for that evening’s dinner. Yes, you can do this.

Thursday I’ll be leaving for Michigan, where the Dial-Up Modem is King. As a result, the Kitchens must close temporarily and there can be no post next Wednesday. My next entry is scheduled for Wednesday, June 5th.

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Porcini Mushroom, Leek, & Goat Cheese Ravioli Filling Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • .7 oz (20 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 oz (85 g) leeks, chopped fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 10.5 oz (298 g) goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper

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Directions

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, remove from heat, and add mushrooms. Allow mushrooms to soak for at least 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms to paper towels, being careful not to disturb sediments in liquid. (Reserve mushroom liquid. See Notes.) Use another paper towel to blot the mushrooms dry before chopping them to a small dice. Put aside.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter over med-high heat. Add leeks and mushrooms, lower heat to medium, and sauté until mixture just begins to change color — about 6 or 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and continue to sauté until liquids are gone. Do not allow to burn.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully before proceeding.
  5. Once cooled, combine mushroom-leek mixture with goat cheese and stir to thoroughly combine.
  6. Filling may now be used to fill you favorite pasta.

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Variations

This recipe is not set in stone. Don’t have any leeks? Use half the amount listed in sweet onions. Don’t like goat cheese? Use ricotta. No porcini? Use 3 to 4 oz (85 to 113 g) fresh crimini mushrooms. Don’t like this filling at all? Don’t worry. You may prefer to use either of these 2 fillings: the traditional Bartolini ravioli filling or the Bartolini sausage ravioli filling. Still not quite what you’re looking for? In a few weeks I’ll be posting an asparagus-based filling recipe.

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Notes

There’s really no way of determining how much pasta you’ll be able to fill with today’s recipe. That will depend upon the type and size of the pasta you wish to make. Because of this, I wouldn’t invite 10 guests to dinner the first time you make a homemade stuffed pasta, whether or not you use wonton wrappers. Better to wait until your 2nd attempt or at least wait to make your guest list until after the pasta is made.

When making this filling, I allowed the goat cheese to warm a bit so that it would be easier to combine with the other ingredients. Depending upon the pasta to be filled, you may find it easier to chill it again before using it to stuff your pasta.

Do not discard the liquid used to rehydrate the porcini mushrooms. Once the sediments have settled, pour off the liquid, leaving those sediments behind. The liquid can then be stored/frozen for later use in soups, sauces, risotto, or pasta dishes, to name a few.

Although you can use any sauce yo wish to dress pasta using this filling, I chose to, again, keep it simple. Once it was cooked and drained, I gently tossed the raviolo in some melted butter and garnished it with flaked Parmesan cheese, as seen in this post’s opening photo.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

BBQ Shrimp

Gamberetti alla Griglia

This weekend is a 3-day weekend and start of the grilling season. I thought it only fitting to feature Grandpa’s Barbecued Shrimp as this week’s blast from the past. Easy to prepare, whether you serve them as a snack, appetizer, or main course, you and your guests will love them. You can learn how Grandpa did it by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Baked Haddock

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Bartolini Sausage Ravioli

Ravioli della Salsiccia dei Bartolini

Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, and Thanksgiving all featured one dish, each and every year, and that was a platter of ravioli. Oh, to be sure, there was the obligatory roast of beef, or pork, or lamb, or turkey cooked to perfection on the table, too, along with all the customary fixin’s. None of it made any difference to me, for my eyes were fixated on the platter of pasta pillows. Everything else was a distraction to which “The Others”, my ravioli-eating competition, would, hopefully, fall prey. “Have some more turkey.” “Want some potatoes with that?” “Save room for dessert.” All music to my ears. As they sampled — and re-sampled — each and every one of Mom’s lovingly prepared dishes, only I remained true to the cause. It was ravioli all the way!

Back then we only had two filling recipes for our ravioli. The meat filling recipe I shared HERE and another, not yet shared, that’s used in soup ravioli (cappelletti) which is traditionally served for lunch on Christmas Day, as well as on other special occasions throughout the year. Well, that was until a few years ago. I had finally mastered the family sausage recipe when a friend asked if I’d ever made his favorite, sausage ravioli. I hadn’t and a subsequent phone call to Zia confirmed that no other Bartolini had either. Well, that just wouldn’t do.

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It wasn’t long before I had made a half-recipe of ricotta and followed that with a couple of pounds of sausage, setting aside a pound of the seasoned meat. After cooking some chopped spinach and gathering some grated Pecorino Romano cheese, I was ready to go. I didn’t pay too much attention to amounts. This was just a test to see if these flavors would blend successfully — and they did. My next trip home, Zia and I made a batch of the filling, paying close attention to the ingredients’ amounts. The ravioli not only passed her taste tests, we devoted an entire Ravioli Day to the making of the new Bartolini Sausage Ravioli. If that isn’t acceptance, I don’t know what is. Today’s recipe is the result our collaboration.

Please note. When making sausage ravioli, there is but one commandment to follow: Know Thy Sausage. Compared to most store-bought or strongly seasoned homemade sausage, Bartolini sausage is rather mild – no fennel seed, for example — so I use a little less ricotta than specified in the recipe. That allows the sausage’s flavors to be more predominant. Most sausage meat tends to run on the salty side, as does Pecorino Romano cheese. Because of this, no salt is added to the ravioli filling. Before making your filling, be sure to fry a little of the sausage meat for a taste, adjusting the filling’s seasoning and, if necessary, ingredient amounts, accordingly.

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Bartolini Sausage Ravioli Filling Recipe

Yield: See Notes below. 

Ingredients

  • pasta dough — recipe found HERE.
  • 1 lb. sausage meat, cooked and well-drained — recipe found HERE.
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well-drained
  • 1 cup ricotta — recipe found HERE.
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions

  1. Sauté meat over med-high heat until browned.
  2. Use meat grinder to finely process the meat. (See Notes.) Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until well-combined.
  3. Cover the filling and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Once the filling has rested, you can begin making your ravioli.

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Ravioli Recap

To see a more complete set of instructions for making ravioli with dies, click HERE.

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Notes

When I recently made these ravioli, I made 1 batch of this filling and 2 batches (8 eggs) of Mom’s pasta dough. I came away with 22 doz ravioli and 10 oz (284 g) of excess pasta dough, with which I made hand-cut linguine.  Now, I probably could have gotten away with using 6 eggs to make the pasta but that would have cut it close. I’d rather have too much pasta dough than find out I’ve not enough and have to make more. Besides, the linguine were delicious!

You do not need a meat grinder to make sausage; a food processor may be used instead. Place some meat into the bowl and pulse the blades until a coarse grind is achieved. Do not just turn it on and let it process. You’re not making pâté. When using sausage meat for ravioli, after it’s cooked, place it in the bowl and pulse it a few times until a smaller grind is achieved.

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Pasta Equipment

I’ve been asked by a few people to talk about the pasta making equipment that I own. Since this is a ravioli post, I’ll start there.

I’ve two ravioli making attachments. One is for my stand mixer and the other attaches to my hand-cranked pasta machine. I’m not all that impressed with either of them. Both have a hopper, situated in the center, for the filling. Dough sheets are fed on either sides of the hopper, passing over a die as the filling drops. The ravioli are formed by the pressure exerted by rollers. My problem with both is that the dough sheets are thicker than what I am accustomed to using. The resultant ravioli have more dough than those of my youth. (Yes, I’m spoilt, but in the best possible way.) You, however, may very well find these ravioli to be acceptable — and that’s just fine. Be forewarned, though, that if the dough sheets are not thick enough, the filling will “run” between the ravioli, making one big mess.

Here is an instructional video to show you how the stand mixer attachment works. The hand-cranked pasta machine attachment works in very much the same way.

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Anyone who has seen my ravioli posts will know that I prefer to use ravioli dies to make my filled pastas. Each will result in a ravioli of a unique size. Starting top-left in the photo below, this die will create 12 ravioli that are 2 inches (5 cm) square. (Bear in mind that, no matter the die used, each raviolo will expand a bit when cooked.) It’s interesting to note that this was the original size of the ravioli that Mom and Zia made by hand until we bambini came into the picture. These were too large for us to handle on our own and our parents had to cut them for us to eat. To help our ravioli dinners go more smoothly, Mom and Zia began making ravioli that were small enough for us little ones to handle on our own.

Which brings us to the die top-right of the picture. This will create 24 ravioli that are 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) square and this most closely resembles the size Mom & Zia made, and Zia continues to make, to this day.

Moving to the bottom-left of the photo, this die will create 40 raviolini that are 3/4 inch (2 cm) square.  Mom used these raviolini, calling them cappelletti, in soup. Try as I might, I’ve never gotten the hang of this die. The filling bowl is mighty small, the dough must be mighty pliable, and I end up mighty frustrated, which brings us to …

… the die located bottom-right of the photo. I use this die to make my cappelletti. Each cappelletti is 1 inch (2.5 cm) square and the die will make 48 of the pasta pillows. They may not be as petite as Mom’s but I can make these.

In the center of the photo is a round cappelletti stamp. This is the traditional shape for cappelletti. There was just no way Mom would ever have found the time to individually stamp enough cappelletti for a family of five. Frankly, I don’t know how she did it with the smallest of these dies but she did, repeatedly.

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Lastly, in a recent post, I mentioned that Santa gave me a stand mixer attachment that makes a number of pastas — spaghetti, macaroni of 2 sizes, bucatini, fusilli, and rigatoni. I mentioned that the spaghetti was perfectly made but that some of the other pastas were thicker than what one would purchase at a grocery. This is not a problem for me for the superior taste of homemade pasta far outweighs any concerns about its thickness. Thinking that the eggs in my pasta dough may have been the cause for the difference, I said I’m make some dough using water and semolina flour to see if thinner pasta would result. Well, last week I made the dough and the pasta was no different from that which was made with the “egg dough.” Although I’ve no photos of rigatoni made with a pasta dough made with eggs, I did take pictures of rigatoni made with “eggless” pasta dough and compared it to a manufactured brand.

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In the photo on the top, the raw, store-bought rigatoni is on the left and a freshly made specimen is on the right. Beneath that photo is another, similarly arranged picture, and both pastas are cooked. You can see that the homemade rigatoni are thicker than store-bought. The same holds true for the homemade bucatini, both macaroni, and fusilli. It is yours to decide whether that difference in thickness is a deal breaker.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

I know. It’s still Christmas in your home and the last thing you want to consider right now is dinner on New Year’s Day. Well, if you want to make that dinner truly special, you’ll need plenty of time so that you can find a picnic ham, skin-on, to make a Bartolini family favorite on the first day of the New Year. Pork Roast with Fennel, Porchetta con Finnocchio, is a spectacular dish, one sure to impress you dinner guests as you start 2013 off on the right foot. You can find the recipe by clicking HERE.

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The Bartolini Clan hopes that Yours was a Wonderful Christmas

and

May Peace Reign in 2013.

Happy New Year!

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Bartolini Sausage

Laws are like sausages,” wrote Bismarck. “It’s better not to see them being made.” Well, I know little of the backroom dealings that are integral to our legislative process but today I intend to pull back the veil on sausage making, at least my family’s sausage making, that is. And why today? Because Zia taught me how to make sausage and today is her 89th birthday!!!

Allora, buon compleanno, Cara Zia! Cent’ anni e tanti baci!

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You'll have no beef with this burger!

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For as long as I can remember, the Bartolini Girls made sausage and served them at any meal. They’d cut up a few, add some beaten eggs, and we had a frittata for breakfast. As kids, many is the time we had sausages instead of hot dogs for lunch while, for supper, the sausages were either served alone, roasted with veggies & potatoes, or cooked in a tomato sauce and served with pasta instead of meatballs. Truth be told, we were much more likely to have sausage than we were to have meat balls.  Even after I moved away, Mom always made sure I had at least one container of frozen sausage patties to enjoy once I got home. And to this very day, whenever I make sausage, that first whiff of the seasoned ground pork is a trip on the Wayback Machine to my youth, watching Mom at work. Sure, there are many kinds of sausage available at the local groceries and butchers, not to mention the ethnic markets, but not a one reminds me of home. That’s reason enough for me to keep making these.

Now, for you sausage novices, there is at least 1 reason for Bismarck’s comment. You see, pork sausage requires a certain amount of fat, with some recipes calling for as much as 25% fat content. This recipe doesn’t come near that percentage but fat content is an issue. If you buy a cut of meat that’s too lean, like the pork loin I purchased early in my sausage making career, you will be very disappointed with the result. Look for a good, not too lean, pork butt roast when you make sausage. Even then, you may find that you need to add pork fat to the ground meat, although it wasn’t always this way. Years ago, pork  products had a much higher fat content and one rarely, if ever, needed to add more fat to the mix. Then, without warning to our fellow sausage makers, hog breeders began to develop a leaner, healthier product and the “Other White Meat” campaign was born. Unfortunately, getting rid of the fat got rid of a good deal of flavor, so much so that Mom and Zia quit making sausage altogether! I eventually convinced Zia to try making it again so that I could learn the recipe and, at first, I bought some extra pork belly fat to compensate for today’s leaner pork. It worked, I learned the recipe, and all was well — or should have been. One fateful day, I attempted to make sausage on my own and over-compensated with the fat. What a greasy mess! After that, I quit using additional fat and switched to pancetta. For a 4 lb. pork butt, I use about a half-pound of pancetta. Not only does it add some much-needed fat without going overboard, it brings a nice flavor to our sausage, as well. Most importantly, Zia approved the addition. In fact, the picture to the left was taken at her home and that’s pancetta on top of the pork. (See Notes below for a tip on grinding the meat.)

When you look over our recipe, you’ll quickly notice that there is a surprising lack of spices used but, because it’s so simple, it can easily be modified to suit your tastes. Mom didn’t like fennel seed in her sausage but I don’t think she’d mind if you added some to yours. She, also, didn’t like her sausage spicy but I’m sure she’d look the other way if you wanted to add some red pepper flakes or a couple shakes of cayenne pepper. And I bet Zia would find it interesting if you were to, say, add a little ground sage or marjoram to the ground meat. As for me, I’m a garlic lover and have been known to add a couple of cloves of minced garlic, in addition to the garlic-flavored wine. And if none of those suggestions hit their mark, check out Greg’s recipe at the Rufus Guide. Just remember that no matter what spices you use and how much, be sure to start with less than you think necessary and cook a small amount of pork for a taste test. You can always add more if need be.

Now, one more thing probably should be mentioned. Some may be wondering where the sausages are, being this is a posting about sausage making. Well, you can blame me for that.  As I mentioned, Mom always sent me home with a container of sausage patties after I visited and I grew to prefer them. Cooked on the grill, they are a great alternative to hamburgers. Not only that, but a patty or 2 can be easily crumbled for addition to a tomato sauce, meatloaf, pizza, or some other dish. Well, during one of our Sausage Days, I convinced Zia to just make patties that afternoon and we haven’t made a sausage since. If you’re a sausage person, however, feel free to stuff those casings!

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Bartolini Sausage Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs pork butt, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 lbs. pancetta, coarsely ground
  • 6 oz dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt, more or less to taste
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper, more or less to taste

Directions

  1. At least 2 hours before beginning, place garlic and wine into a glass and set aside.
  2. Once garlic and wine have “married,” combine ground meats and spread in an even layer, about 2 inches thick, on a work surface.
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Use your fingertips to create dimples in the meat’s surface.
  4. Strain the garlic from the wine and discard. Sprinkle the now flavored wine evenly across the meat. Begin mixing the meat until the seasoning and wine are evenly distributed. Recreate the meat layer and let rest for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors meld. (Caution should be taken if you are doing this on a hot Summer’s day or in a very warm room.)
  5. Once rested, make a mini-patty and cook it in a small frying pan. After tasting, you may need to adjust your seasoning. If you do add seasoning, let it rest 15 minutes before tasting again.
  6. Once the sausage meat has passed your taste tests, begin making patties. Place them in single layers on baking sheets and into the freezer. Once frozen, you can bag them or place them into containers until needed.

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Notes

Our preference is to grind the pork using the plate with the largest holes. This will create a coarse grind. When grinding meat for ravioli or cappelletti, use a smaller holed plate for a finer grind. No matter what size the end-result, you’ll find that your grinder, whether machine run or hand-cranked, will perform better and produce a more consistent result if the meat is cut into strips and partly frozen before you begin. Cut the pork butt into strips, layer them on baking sheets, and place them into the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes. Do not let them freeze solid or you will have to thaw them somewhat before grinding.

In a way, this recipe represents a milestone in the long and storied history of Bartolini sausage making. Never before were the wine, salt, and pepper measured so that they could be recorded in a recipe. It was always, “Grab some salt. Grab a little pepper. Put some wine in a glass. No, that’s too much. … ” To write this recipe, Zia worked her magic using wine and seasoning that I had pre-measured and placed in containers on her counter. When a mini-sausage patty passed her palate’s inspection, I simply measured the salt, pepper, and wine that remained. Still, as I cautioned earlier, start out with less spice than you think you’ll need. Be especially careful with the salt if you add pancetta to the ground pork, for its salt content can vary.

Just One Thing More

You didn’t think I would end this post without at least 1 picture of sausages, did you? This one is from the Bartolini Sausage Archives.

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Filling for Ravioli dei Bartolini

The Bartolini Girls made 2 versions of filling for their pasta. One, used in cappelletti, was served in soup while the other was for ravioli and dressed in sauce. A couple of years ago, I decided to try my hand at making sausage ravioli, using our family sausage recipe. The results were good enough to serve Zia, gain her approval, and now the Bartolini Clan has 3 ravioli fillings made with meat. Today I’m going to share the “saucy” filling; we’ll get to the “soupy” and sausage fillings in later posts.

I have 2 versions of Mom’s recipe. The original, which is little more than a few notes, and the one that’s part of a recipe book she gave to me after I moved to Chicago. Both are pictured below and, for obvious reasons, I follow the more complete version of the two. This is the same recipe that Zia follows when we have Ravioli Day. Similar to Sausage Day, once or twice a year we’ll devote a day to making ravioli so that she’ll have plenty for her family when they visit. We work well together as a team and that night’s dinner is always a good one. Never one to wait for dinner, however, Max has been known to steal a few errant ravioli that may have wandered too close to the pasta board’s edge. On one memorable Ravioli Day, he managed to inhale 35 of the pasta pillows. That was about 10% of that afternoon’s production and, not so coincidentally, the last ravioli that Max has enjoyed, to date.

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When you look at the recipe, you’ll note that in the original version, Mom used nutmeg but cloves is used in the version she gave me. I’ve no idea why or when she modified the recipe, only that she gave me the book in the early ’80′s.  As is the case with any of our ravioli fillings, the meat is cooked before being ground in a meat grinder. I once tried using a food processor but did not like the results at all. The filling became a thick purée without any real texture, and I definitely prefer some texture. The recipe, also, calls for ground pork and veal but if Mom couldn’t find veal, she often substituted chicken or turkey. Living here, I’ve no problem finding any of the ingredients but it’s good to know that there are alternatives should you run into problems or be averse to using veal. The rest of the recipe is easy enough. The “fun” part will come when we make the ravioli and you can see how we do that HERE.

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Filling Recipe for Ravioli dei Bartolini

Yield: Enough filling to be used with 8 eggs of pasta dough. Recipe found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground veal (chicken or turkey may be substituted)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) chopped spinach (cooked and well-drained)
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese – your choice
  • 2 or 3 eggs slightly beaten
  • dash of cloves (optional)

Directions

  1. Sauté meat in butter. Season lightly with salt.
  2. Use meat grinder to process the meats. Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until well-combined.
  3. Cover the filling and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Once the filling has rested, you can begin making your ravioli.

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Notes

Pictured above  is ravioli filling pre-formed into “balls.” Sometimes, while the pasta dough rests, Zia & I will use the time to create some, giving us a jump on the day’s production.

Mom and Zia used this filling exclusively for ravioli. I’ve used it in a few other dishes - i.e., stuffed shells, cannelloni, and, on occasion, a rotello. We’ll get to these recipes, too.

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Stracciatella Soup

Stracciatella is an Italian egg drop soup that is common to San Marino and Le Marche, as well as Rome and Emilia-Romagna. The name is derived from the Italian word that means “torn apart” or “rags” and that’s an apt description for the dish. The eggs look like tiny torn rags in the broth. A tasty soup, this easy-to-prepare dish makes a perfect lunch or first course.

The foundation of any good bowl of soup is the broth. Sunday mornings, from late Fall through early Spring, it was fairly common to find a large stock pot, simmering atop Mom’s stove, filled with vegetables, chicken, and a piece of beef.  The resultant broth, brodo, formed the basis of that week’s soup and the occasional batch of risotto. Stracciatella, being so relatively plain, needs that kind of rich, full-bodied broth. I highly recommend making your own stock — be it vegetable or meat-based — for this soup but I, also, realize that not everyone has the time to do so. As a result, if you do use store-bought stock, be sure it’s low-sodium. Once you’ve added the egg and cheese mixture to the broth, you can taste the soup and add salt, if need be.

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Stracciatella Soup Recipe

total time: approx.  15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 cups (2 quarts) chicken stock (vegetable stock may be substituted for a vegetarian diet)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Combine eggs, cheese, parsley, and nutmeg in a bowl or container with a pouring spout and mix well.
  2. Place stock into a sauce pan and heat over a med-high heat.
  3. When it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, use one hand to gently stir the stock in a circular motion and, with the other hand, slowly pour the egg mixture into the pan.
  4. When all the egg mixture has been added, stop stirring and continue simmering for another minute or so.
  5. Taste the soup and season with salt & pepper, if needed.
  6. Serve immediately with additional grated parmesan cheese.

Variations

I’ve seen stracciatella prepared with spinach several times by television cooks and, in fact, I’ve prepared it this way, too. Strictly speaking, it is not a “true” stracciatella but it is a tasty alternative and just about as easy to make as the original. Take either frozen chopped spinach or fresh spinach that’s been chopped and add it to the simmering stock. Let the stock cook the spinach for a few minutes before stirring and adding the egg mixture. Whether or not you include spinach, with so few ingredients, a delicious bowl of stracciatella is only minutes away.

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Stracciatella (soup)

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Pesto

Pesto Genovese

Since tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll go green for this week’s recipe. Pesto was one of those dishes that I had enjoyed eating but never thought to make myself. Several years ago, before I moved to my present home, a good friend taught me how to make pesto using basil grown in my garden. I haven’t bought another drop since. Sure, we all know that pesto is great when combined with hot pasta but that’s only part of the story. Pesto-dressed pasta can, also, be served at room temperature and, if chilled, the addition of a few ingredients will make a great pasta salad. Moving beyond pasta, I’ll use a couple of tablespoons of pesto to flavor soups, sauces, in sandwiches, and in meat marinades. When roasting a chicken or game hen, a little pesto between the bird’s flesh and skin results in a very flavorful main course. The fact is that pesto isn’t just for pasta anymore.

As easy as pesto is to prepare, there are a few things to remember. First off, be sure to use only fresh ingredients. This is not the time to use dried basil or powdered garlic. Although I use a food processor to make my pesto, a high-speed blender may be used, as well. No matter which appliance you use, do not over-process the basil. If you do, your basil will darken considerably. Lastly, pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to one week and frozen for much longer. If you choose to freeze your pesto, however, do not add any cheese to it because it will not thaw properly. Instead, make your pesto without the cheese, freeze it, and after you thaw it, mix the pesto into your pasta, adding cheese as you do. And if you are going to freeze it, consider putting your pesto into an ice-cube tray. Once frozen, remove the cubes, place them in a bag, and store the bag in the freezer. Doing so will ensure that you’ll defrost only what you need.

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Pesto Recipe

total time: approx. 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil leaves, about 2 oz
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. To your food processor or blender, add the pine nuts and garlic. Process about 20 seconds to chop the ingredients.
  2. Add the basil, salt, and pepper and pulse for a few seconds, about 3 or 4 times. This should give the basil a rough chop.
  3. Start the processor and pour the olive oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream. Stop the processor about 5 seconds after all the oil has been added.
  4. At this point, the pesto may be frozen for later use (see above).
  5. If you are not going to freeze the pesto, add the grated cheese and process just long enough to combine the ingredients.
  6. Pesto is now ready and may be served over your favorite pasta.

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Variations

There are far too many variations to serving pesto for listing here. I mentioned a few in the introduction above and that was by no means a complete list. Pictured here is a dish of farfalle with chopped asparagus spears and marinated artichoke hearts, all of which has been dressed in pesto. I served it warm but I could have easily added some halved cherry tomatoes, a little chopped onion and maybe some chopped olives, stuck it in the fridge to chill, and served it as a pasta salad. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Notes

The amount of oil I use in this recipe will vary depending upon how I intend to use the pesto. If I’m going to use the it right away, I’ll use what’s indicated in the recipe above. If I’m going to make a chilled pasta salad, I may add a little more oil to the dish. If I’m going to freeze the pesto, I’ll reduce the amount of oil, as well as skip the cheese, making more of a paste. When I eventually use it, I’ll defrost it and coat my pasta with olive oil before adding the pesto. You, too, may wish to adjust the amount of oil to correspond with your own likes and dislikes.

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Spianata

When I was a boy, Mom occasionally treated us all to home-made pizza. She’d make standard pepperoni or sausage pizzas for us kids but Dad’s was a special order. His pizza was called spianata and, unlike our kiddie versions, his was topped with only garlic, onion, rosemary, salt and pepper, resembling a rather plain focaccia. Yet, for so few ingredients, it made a very tasty pizza back then, while Zia and I use it today as a perfect accompaniment for any number of dishes.

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The recipe I’m about to share starts with what is called a “sponge.” Fairly common to many Italian/European breads, it’s a mixture of water, yeast, and flour that’s allowed to rise overnight. The mixture, in a sense, ferments and the resultant bread is more flavorful, almost sourdough-like. (In fact, I often add some of my sourdough starter to the sponge instead of yeast.) Of course, you needn’t start with a sponge but the spianata is so much more flavorful if you do. Once the sponge has “spent the night,” the rest of the recipe is pretty straight-forward and you should have no trouble following it.

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Spianata Recipe

Ingredients

For the sponge

A Sponge Worthy of Spianata

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp active yeast

For the spianata

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour

For the topping

  • 1/2 of a small onion, sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thin or grated
  • 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Proof the yeast in warm water, add to the flour to make the sponge, mix well, cover, and set aside. The sponge should be allowed to rise for at least 8 hours but no more than 20. 12 to 16 hours is usually best, in my experience. When you are ready to proceed, the sponge’s surface should be mottled with bubbles and it should have a strong yeast scent.
  2. To the sponge, add the flour, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt. Knead dough for 5 minutes. Dough should not be sticky. If it is, sprinkle with flour and continue kneading until absorbed.
  3. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled — from 1 to 2 hours. (If using only sourdough starter, it could take longer.)
  4. Punch the dough down, turn it onto a floured work surface, cover with a towel, and let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, coat a 9″ x 12″ sheet pan with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  5. After resting 15 minutes, place dough onto the pan and use your fingers to begin stretching it to fit the pan. When it covers about 2/3 of the pan, flip the dough over and continue stretching the dough until the entire pan is covered and there’s enough dough to create a ridge around the pan’s edge. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled again, about 1 hour.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 425*. Place garlic and onion into a small bowl and moisten lightly with olive oil.
  7. Once doubled, remove towel and, with your fingers, poke the surface of the dough repeatedly. Sprinkle surface with garlic, onion, rosemary, coarse salt & pepper.
  8. Bake on oven’s center rack for about 25 minutes. The spianata should be lightly browned.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Notes

Like most breads, spianata can be frozen easily. Once it is fully cooled, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place in your freezer. When you are ready to serve it, place it, still wrapped in foil, in a pre-heated 350* oven for about 25 minutes. Enjoy!

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