Hearth Shaped Cheese Ravioli! (homemade)

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 9:59 PM

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Gentleman, Do you need help making an epic Valentine's day dinner? Here is something that might help woo her heart! Being single, I decided to get a little practice in with presentation and how things look.  After all, appearances are the first impression.  Right, ladies? 

So I thought to myself, "Self, What would a your valentine want, if you had a valentine?"  I figured she'd want a home cooked pasta meal that looked great and came from the heart.  

Ha!  So, out came homemade, heart-shaped cheese ravioli's!

Make some fresh pasta into thin sheets.  You can find my recipe here!

Cheese Filling recipe:
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese (drained)
1/2 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and chill for 1 hour to firm up the cheese.

Next take the sheets of pasta and put dollops of  the cheese mixture approximately 2-3 inches apart from each other.  Brush around the cheese with an egg wash and place another sheet of pasta over it.   seal and shape with your fingers.  If you have a cookie cutter it makes it so much easier.  I didn't have one so I cut each one by hand.  It was quite a challenge. 

After you have each one made, make sure you dust them with flour really well.  place them on a cookie sheet and freeze.  This helps the ravioli stay together when you cook them.  Boil in salted water for 4 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.   

The Sauce:
I used a very simple tomato sauce.  It's a sauced I learned by watching random you tube videos! It's a simple San Marzano Basil Sauce.  This sauce is so tasty it doesn't need anything else!!

Ingredients:
3 Garlic Cloves (Chopped)
1 28 Oz. Can of San Marzano Tomatoes (Crushed by hand)
Chopped basil
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by heating the oil in a pan over medium heat.  When the oil starts to break apart a bit add the garlic and let it saute for a bit do not burn the garlic so stir it often. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes.  You'll get a nice sizzle when you add in the tomato sauce. reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes.   Add in the basil and cook for an additional two minutes. 

Plating: I ladle some sauce on the bottom of the plate,  Place two raviolis on top of the sauce and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and some more basil.  

I love visiting the Italian side of my family!  ;-)

Molto Bene!  Mangia!

Happy Valentines Day!
Don Jimmy

Homemade Chicken Alfredo and Fresh Pasta

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 2:09 PM

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Happy Pre-Valentines Day everyone! Even though I am currently single, I feel like I can celebrate this day because of the amount of love I have for everyone!!   Cheesy right?  haha!                   

This past Friday I was graced with the presence of a buddy that I've been getting to know better these past few months.   We've been enjoying each others company and banter about life, God and women.  We have such different personalities but it's been really good to have a friend with counter points to you.

I invited him over for dinner on Friday night because I felt like making some fresh pasta.  I had all the right ingredients (Except the Parmesan Reggiano)  So making this pasta was really cheap.  If you find a good Italian place that makes their pasta fresh, You'll be spending well over $15 a plate for it.  At home, You can make 4 portions of this for about the same price and you won't have to leave a tip!

First let's start off with making Fresh Pasta.  I searched different recipes and got many different ideas but here is a recipe that I came up with on my own using basic pasta ratios.  I love pasta making.  It feeds your tactile sensations while making it.  Prep time: 45 minutes

Pasta Ingredients:
4 Large Eggs
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Semolina Flour
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
Water

Directions:
I put all the ingredients together and mix with my stand mixer adding enough water until the dough can form a ball on the hook.  Let the mixer "Knead" the dough for about 15 minutes.  The dough should be slightly sticky but not enough to stick to the side of the bowl.  Alternatively if you do not have a stand mixer you can follow the directions on Mario Batali's recipe to knead by hand. After you're done kneading let the dough rest for 20 minutes.   Cut into 4-8 equal size portions, Roll out and Cut.  My stand mixer has all the pasta maker attachments so rolling the dough out is super easy.  We opted to cut the pasta by hand to give it a more Homemade feel.  Make sure you dust your pasta with flour so they don't stick together. 

Cook in salted water for 4 minutes until Al Dente, Drain, Toss with your favorite sauce and serve!   It's so easy and it's especially fun to do if you have kids.


The sauce we used was a classic Alfredo Sauce.  It's a simple recipe I learned from working in the kitchen.  The danger in this sauce is it's very heavy but you just can't seem to get enough of it.  It's so rich and tasty that you want to eat the whole plate and lick the remaining sauce! Prep time: 10 minutes

Alfredo Sauce recipe
Ingredients:
1 stick of unsalted butter
4 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Grated Fresh Parmesan Reggiano
1/4 Tsp Ground White Pepper
1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 Egg yolks
Salt to taste

Directions: 
Melt the butter over low flame.  After the butter is fully melted, add the cream and spices and bring it up to a Luke-warm temperature.   Add the grated cheese and whisk to make sure the cheese gets properly melted into the sauce.   When all the cheese is properly incorporated add in egg yolks and keep stirring till the sauce begins to thicken.  DO NOT ever bring it to a boil, you will scramble the eggs inside the sauce and have a nasty egg drop and cream soup and not a smooth alfredo sauce!  >.< 

Salt and add the sauce to your freshly made pasta and toss.  Top with any kind of protein you want, chicken, shrimp, even salmon and garnish with fresh cracked pepper, chopped parsley, and grated Parmesan cheese.  I topped mine with pan seared Chicken!

I guarantee you that if you make this for your valentines, I guarantee you that she will be impressed.  You will grow pleasantly plump and as you grow old with your love interest. =) I hope you guys try your hand at making fresh pasta, It's quick and totally worth it.

Happy Valentines Day and happy cooking!
Chef de Amore Jimmy