Adventures in Cooking – Week 7

Since Dad’s birthday was last weekend, all of us girls went down and spent a fun afternoon at the movies and at Pizza Hut to help celebrate.  While I was there, I was able to sneak in eating a plate of my mother’s lasagna.  I’ve tried many lasagna’s, but I will always love my mom’s recipe the best.  When I came back home, I was still craving pasta so I decided I would try using up the tofu in my fridge by making ravioli completely from scratch.

The tomato sauce and the ravioli recipes I based my recipes are both by Fabio Viviani from Chow Ciao!

Tofu and Ricotta Stuffed Ravioli

Tofu and Ricotta Stuffed Ravioli

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 1 large pinch fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup herb and garlic tofu (yum!)
  • 1/4 cup ricotta

Instructions:

  1. Add 4 eggs, the olive oil, salt and pepper to a food processor with the blade attachment in it and pulse a few time to combine.
  2. Add 1/2 cup flour to the processor and pulse until well mixed, test for the stickiness of the pasta.  Gradually keep adding flour (about 1/4 cup more) to the processor and pulse until well mixed and the pasta is no longer sticky.  You should start to see a small dough ball form in the processor.  Remove dough and form into a ball.
  3. If you have a pasta machine, roll out the dough to flat sheets, dusting with flour to help flatten.  If you do not have a pasta machine, tear off about 3 tbsp of dough and flatten into a rectangle using a rolling-pin until the past is thin enough.
  4. Mix together the tofu and ricotta.  Dollop 1 tbsp of the mixture per ravioli on the sheet of pasta.  Brush the edges of the pasta sheet with water, fold the sheet over the ricotta and press down seal.  Cut a circle around each dollop using the rim of a glass or jar.  Shape the ravioli as desired and set aside.  Make sure to keep the pasta covered by a moist towel so it does not dry out!
  5. While waiting on a pot of water to boil, start on to the tomato sauce below.

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 28 oz jar of fire-roasted whole plum tomatoes (packed in only tomato juice).  You can usually find this at your local Whole Foods.  I recommend never using canned tomatoes because of the higher BPA levels.
  • Seasoning mixture – I use a mixture of basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram.
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Smash 6 cloves of garlic with the back of a knife.
  2. Over medium heat, cook garlic in 3 tbsp of olive oil until golden brown (not dark brown!)
  3. Add tomatoes, seasoning, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until thick ( about 8 to 10 minutes) and no longer watery in consistency.  Start cooking the ravioli in the boiling water.  They should only cook for about 2 minutes each.
  5. Add 4 more tbsp of olive oil and turn up the heat to high.
  6. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.  Start adding the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce so that it can soak up the flavor.
  7. Cook until the oil turns red; this will tell you the sauce is done.
  8. Serve the pasta garnished with parmesan.

Because of the tofu, I can only have about 2 or 3 ravioli before I am full so prepare for lots of leftovers!  The sauce is very yummy and I use it for various other dishes so you might want to make a big batch and can the rest.  Enjoy!

Adventures in Cooking – Week 3

Well, this week’s experiment was disappointing and a big lesson on a cooking method that I will never try again…frying. What could make me detest something that provides such scrumptious treats as funnel cake, doughnuts, and fried turkey? My apartment and my clothes smelled like a fast-food restaurant for two whole days! If any of you have worked at a fast-food joint you know exactly what I’m talking about. Your hair smells like grease, your coat smells like grease, everything smells like grease and it’s gross.

Now that I’m done with my rant on how much I now detest frying foods, I should probably get to the actual recipe. I will occasionally catch an episode or two of Chow Ciao! on shine.yahoo.com because he makes everything look so easy and delicious. A recipe for Ricotta Fritters caught my eye and so I decided that this week I would make these simple snacks for a friend’s birthday party. Let’s just say that the first attempt went straight into the trash can; not because the recipe itself wasn’t good, but because I made a couple of substitutions that did not work out well (fyi, extra-virgin olive oil should never be used for frying). Never one to let an unsuccessful attempt get me down, I decided that on my second try I would use a different recipe for ricotta fritters. Ugh, they turned out more like dense doughnut balls that, again, went into the trash can. I’ll post the recipe for the original batch that I made, since the second one was a big disappointment. I honestly think that this recipe could turn out very well if I had actually followed the ingredient list and maybe added some sugar to the mixture.

Doesn

RICOTTA CHOCOLATE CHIP FRITTERS

Makes 15 fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts light olive oil
  • Sugar for dusting

This is how my attempt turned out

Instructions:

  1. Mix the ricotta cheese, mini chocolate chips and flour until well combined.
  2. Fill a sauté pan with light olive oil and place over medium high heat.
  3. Using two tablespoons, scoop mixture into individual fritters and place into hot oil.
  4. Let the fritters cook until they are crisp and brown on the outside.
  5. Use a spider to pull them out of the hot oil.
  6. As they cool, coat with sugar.

Hopefully, your attempt at this recipe turns out better than mine. I probably won’t try this again just because I hated smelling like fried food for those two days.

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