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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wheat Pasta with Pesto and Tilapia

Since I had left over pesto from last week (still good!) I wanted to make sure I got made good use out of my basic but awesome creation. My sweet mom had made tilapia fish fillets for dinner (sauteed in a skillet) before I got home from work and I needed something else to accompany the tilapia.

I had some wheat pasta that I had frozen and was nearing its shelf life, so I let it defrost while I brought a small pot of water to boil. The thing I love about fresh pasta is that defrosting it is never painful and it doesn't take too long. Once my water came to a boil, I dropped in my pasta for about 5 minutes, I let it cook a bit longer since it was still somewhat frozen (so impatient!).

Once it was ready, I took 2 big tablespoons of pesto and added it to a bowl with 3 tablespoons of pasta water, chili flakes, and cracked black pepper. I gave it a quick mix, and added my pasta (already drained) to the mixture and tossed. Once coated, I transferred it to a plate, and added my tilapia and voila!

*Wish I took a better pix!* 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fresh Ravioli with Mushroom Filling

I was wandering around Sur la Table and I (naturally) found myself in the pasta section where I was greeted by ravioli cutters, drying racks and pasta machines. It was almost like candy land! I was excited, to say the least.

I figured since I have had many experiences making cut pasta, it was time to step it up a notch and venture into ravioli land. I've seen it done in a few YouTube videos while doing research and learning. So I figured now is the time! I first grabbed a hand held ravioli cutter and examined it a bit until my eyes wandered and landed on a ravioli tray. I took a look at the tray and figured it'd be better to have a "template" for uniform, perfect ravs! I ended up purchasing the Round Italian Ravioli Maker with Rolling Pin. Oh and the pasta drying rack (eeeek!!!). I'm sure you'll see it pop up in future posts, this is a sturdy rack, unlike the others I have come across that seem flimsy.


Let's get started on the ravioli's shall we!? 


Ingredients:

Mushroom filling:

2 c. Portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, diced
1/4 c. italian flat parsley
1 tsp. salt; 3 turns of freshly ground pepper
Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of lemon zest
1 c. ricotta cheese
3 tbsp. olive oil

In a large, heated skillet, add olive oil and give it a swirl in your skillet. Add garlic and mushrooms, let cook for 3-4 mins stirring occasionally. Once mushrooms have cooked down slightly, add parsley, salt, and black pepper and incorporate. Remove the skillet from the heat and add freshly ground nutmeg and lemon zest. Transfer the mushrooms to a separate bowl and let cool.

Once the mushrooms have cooled for about 10-15 minutes, go ahead and add ricotta cheese and mix. Your filling is ready!

Fresh Pasta:

2 1/4 c. flour
3 eggs
3 tbsp. olive oil (add when you feel your dough is drying out)

Go ahead and have two sheets of pasta ready for a tray of raviolis, which will yield a dozen per tray.


Lay one sheet down, and fill the rounds with your mushroom and ricotta filling. I used a teaspoon to fill the holes. Once I had the filling in, I tapped it down slightly with my finger to make sure it reached the bottom and filled the area.


Lay the second sheet on top of the filled rounds and get a rolling pin and roll down the sheet until the second sheet is firmly pressed down and you can see that the jagged edges have punctured the dough.  


Flip the tray upside down and give a little tap and the ravioli's should fall right out!


I made a total of 54 ravioli's, which is about 4.5 dozen. It took me about two hours from start to finish. Whew!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fresh Pesto

Whenever I think of Pesto, I think of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Pheobe saying, "Would you say your pesto is the best-o?" Awesome scene

So let's get back to basics, considering I never really started with the basics, hehe.

In another post you'll see that I made mushroom filled raviolis and they'll be topped with some pesto.

Ingredients:

2 c. basil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

Using your food processor - add in the basil, garlic and pine nuts and blend together. Drizzle in 1/4 c. of olive oil and let the processor continue to incorporate and blend the pesto until smooth. This should take a maximum of 3 minutes to complete.

When you are done, scrape the pesto into a bowl or pyrex container, like I did and drizzle the remainder of the olive oil on top.

If you want to use your pesto immediately, pour the remainder of the olive oil and stir in parmesan cheese (1/2 c).

(Note: My pyrex container holds about 2 cups, so this recipe should yield about 1.5 cups).


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fresh Pappardelle Pasta with Mushrooms

I have been itching to make pappardelle pasta ever since I was able to get my pasta dough down to a science. It was that next step I wanted to take, getting away from the cutters that I used with my machine.


Ingredients:
3 tbsp. olive oil
6 tbsp. butter - divided
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 pack of Mushrooms (large portobello mushroom caps) - Thinly sliced
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. Italian flat leaf parsley
Dash of salt and freshly ground pepper
Dash of chili flakes


Instructions:

Fresh Pasta:
2.25 c. flour
3 eggs
1/4 c. olive oil

Let the dough stand for 30 minutes and run it through your pasta machine to flatten it out. I let these pasta sheets dry for about 15 minutes so I could roll them and cut them properly for the pappardelle.

Bring a pot of water to boil and drop in your pappardelle to cook for 3-4 minutes.

Mushroom mix:

Grab a skillet and coat the bottom with two turns of olive oil and 3 tbsp. of butter, drop in your mushrooms and garlic and sautee for 5 minutes. Drop in the parsley, salt, freshly ground pepper, chili flakes and incorporate.

Once your pappardelle is complete and drained, transfer the pasta to your skillet and being tossing the mushrooms and pasta together. Add in the remaining 3 tbsp. of butter to coat the pasta.



I made this dish in a rush, on Valentine's day for my family to test. Well my sister-in-law and I were the only ones who took a crack at it. There was tons of other food on the table (that my sweet Mama made) to stuff our faces with too. 

Hindsight: Slow down, this is a fabulously simple meal. Treat it with care. Add more butter, more olive oil, garlic, add some wine and more mushrooms and maybe some asparagus. I felt that the silky pappardelle didn't get the love it truly deserved from the sauce. In the ingredients, I added the appropriate measurements needed to truly complete the dish.

Trust me, I'll be back to love you a little more. I promise.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Shrimp Scampi with Fresh Fettuccine

I had been watching Robert Irvine's Restaurant Impossible (and I'm slightly obsessed). I was really impressed with a simple and quick Shrimp Scampi that he created for an Italian restaurant. I figured, you know what, I want to make that. I did a little research on the recipe to refresh my memory. I didn't adopt anyones recipe but did a comparison of a few off the Food Network and just did my own thing.

It was a Saturday night and I decided to treat my parents to a quick dinner. I ran out an bought a little over a pound of fresh black tiger shrimp from my near by Korean grocery market. Luckily, they are cleaned and deveined already! Not so luckily, I still had to remove the shells and tails, sad face.


Ingredients:
1 lb. shrimp
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. chili flakes
4 garlic cloves, diced (less if you don't like garlic)
Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. parsley
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. linguine (half a packet, if using dried pasta. Fresh pasta, about two handfuls)

Instructions:

Add water to a pot to boil your linguine. Follow directions as instructed on packaging. If boiling fresh pasta, then you will only need about 3 minutes of cooking time after water has boiled.

In a large skillet, add olive oil and butter and melt butter. Add garlic and sautee for 2 mins. Once garlic is fragrant, add shrimp and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn shrimp once sides begin turning pink to cook thoroughly.

Once shrimp is pink and cooked through on both sides (about 7-8 mins). Reduce heat to low and remove skillet from heat and add lemon juice, parsley, chili flakes and add cooked linguine and toss together. Let pasta heat up on low and serve in 2-3 minutes!


In hind sight, I needed more lemon juice, butter and white wine to deglaze the skillet and to give it more of a saucy feel. Don't you worry. I will do this again! Practice makes perfect. I'm so happy my Dad is a willing taste tester. Honest man that he is!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Turkey Bolognese with Fresh Whole Wheat Pasta

I invited my cousin and her boyfriend over for a dinner, and we were all on a "lifestyle change" diet and were being cautious with our food. Well, I'd be pretty surprised if each serving was about 350 calories. 

The whole wheat pasta was made fresh using whole wheat flour. The marinara sauce was made from scratch, using roma tomatoes, garlic, 1/2 cup of red wine, olive oil, garlic and onion. I made the turkey separately and combined with the marinara sauce. For the turkey, I used ground lean turkey, using a no-salt seasoning from Costco, dried oregano, chili flakes, celery, carrots, and freshly ground black pepper. Once the turkey was cooked through, I added it to my marinara sauce and let it simmer. I topped the whole wheat pasta with turkey bolognese, a heaping of freshly chopped basil, freshly grated parmesan-reggiano and a dash of chili flakes.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Coconut Curried Shrimp with Coconut Rice

I adopted this recipe from What's Gaby Cooking.  This was a delicious dish! I had my cousin over and and she definitely loved the dish, she even had seconds! The only change I wish I made was adding the juiced lime earlier, I may have forgotten to add it in when directed. Next time I make this, I will definitely soak my rice (I used Calrose rice) and I will add the juice of two limes to ensure that the consistency of the coconut milk is thinned out to create a thinner consistency overall.




Coconut Curried Shrimp with Coconut Rice
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups coconut milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tsp spicy curry powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • kosher salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Instructions
  1. Make sure the shrimp and cleaned and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Place 1 tbsp of butter in a medium pot. Add the white rice and saute for about 1 minute, just to toast the rice. Add the water and 1 cup of the coconut milk and turn heat to medium. Cook the rice until all the liquid has evaporated and the rice is tender.
  3. Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl and let cool for a few minutes before adding the cilantro, lime zest, lime juice and salt. Toss to combine and set the rice aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining cup of coconut milk and the curry powder and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter over medium high heat. Add the scallions, garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until pink. Add the curried coconut milk and let the shrimp finish cooking for about 1-2 more minutes while the coconut milk slightly reduced. Remove the shrimp from the heat and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed, or you can add more chili flakes if you want more heat.
  6. Serve a few pieces of the shrimp over a spoonful of rice immediately.

Recipe Source: What's Gaby Cooking

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Making Fresh Pasta


I was very excited to purchase my very first Imperia Pasta Machine from Williams Sonoma. I was inspired after having a delicious dinner at Sinatra restaurant at the Encore in Las Vegas, where I thoroughly enjoyed eating Frank’s Clams Posilipo (Manilla clams, tomato, garlic, oregano served over spaghetti). 




So I started with a classic recipe for the pasta:

2.25 cups of all purpose flour
3 eggs
Dash of salt
Olive oil (reserved in case you feel pasta is dry, add enough to bring the consistency back together)

I created a well of flour and added my eggs into the well. I whisked the eggs with a fork and began incorporating the flour to create a pancake batter-like consistency. Once you can no longer incorporate the flour with the fork, roll up your sleeves and begin to incorporate the flour with your hands. You should incorporate the flour and it will begin to form into a ball, keep kneeding the dough for 7-10 mins until you feel that the dough is incorporated and not crumbly. The key is to keep kneeding, that'll really work the dough.

If your dough is dry, add some water or olive oil. If your dough is too sticky, add a dusting of flour to your ball and keep kneeding. If this continues to happen, keep dusting the dough ball until it is no longer sticky. 

Once this is complete, wrap your dough ball in saran wrap and set it aside for 30 minutes. Once the time has passed, unwrap your dough (it should be smooth after unwrapping) and divide it into four by using a scraper to ensure a clean cut. 

Flatten one of the pieces and roll it through your pasta machine at the widest setting. Once it comes out, fold it in three, and run it through again. Keep doing this through each setting, folding and running it through each setting twice. Your small piece of dough will end up being long and smooth, beautiful sheet of dough! 



Imperia Pasta Machine


Rolled Sheets of Pasta

After you have completed rolling out your sheets, let them rest for 10 minutes before running through your cutters. Below is what cut pasta looks like!


Cut Spaghetti and Linguine


I truly believe that fresh pasta is the best pasta. It is so simple to make and the finished product cannot be compared to the packaged dried pasta from the store. I love making fresh pasta!


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