Red Wine Perciatelli with Spinach

Spaghetti cooked in red wine is a pretty traditional Italian dish, but since I had left over Perciatelli noodles from a previous recipe…I decided to use them instead. It turned out great! The pasta is flavorful and colorful/beautiful.

This is also great to serve family style, which would make 6 generous side servings. It would be delicious along side chicken wrapped in prosciutto!

Red Wine Perciatelli with Spinach – 4 servings
10 ounces frozen spinach
1 lb Perciatelli
1 bottle red wine
1 teaspoon sugar
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

First prepare the spinach according to package instructions, and after straining in a colander – press between paper towels. Set aside.

Bring salted water to a boil and cook perciatelli, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, the pasta will not be fully cooked. Drain in the colander. Return to the empty pot and place on stovetop. Add wine and sugar to pot and boil for 2 minutes. Add perciatelli and shake the pot to prevent the pasta from sticking. Carefully stir with tongs until pasta is coated and boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes. The pasta will now be al dente.

After adding the perciatelli to the wine mixture, cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a large saute pan over medium low heat, shaking pan occasionally, until the garlic is pale golden, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Increase the heat to high and pour spaghetti mixture into skillet, tossing with tongs to combine (skillet will be very full). Cook, stirring, until all of wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parmigiana.

Seperate between 4 bowls, and serve extra parmigiana at the table.


Chocolate S’Mores Gelato

I had the pleasure of hosting my friend Jessica and Danny’s rehearsal dinner – the party was outdoors and indoors, and Jessica and Danny looked fantastic! But besides that, for dessert I made 2 different ice cream flavors – the flavor below and PB & J gelato.

The gelato below is just as it sounds, chocolate ice cream, graham crackers and marshmallows. It’s perfect for all ages. The only special equipment needed is a candy thermometer and an ice cream machine.

Chocolate S’Mores Gelato – 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped graham crackers
1/2 cup mini marshmallows, chilled (or Jet-Puffed, Marshmallow Creme)

In a saucepan, combine milk and cream over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally so that skin doesn’t form. The temperature will reach 170 degrees F, turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

Meanwhile, in a heat-proof bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring in the hot milk, while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir frequently until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Hint: Run your finger along the back of the spoon through the custard, if the line stays you are done.

Prepare an ice bath, and place a clean bowl over ice bath. Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl. Let sit until it’s completely cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the custard from the refrigerator, stir in chopped graham crackers. Pour the mixture into the machine and set according to instructions. About 5 minutes before it’s complete, add the mini marshmallows or if your using marshmallow creme, use a butter knife to quickly swirl into the ice cream. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

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Walleye with Artichoke Stew

This was inspired by a recipe in Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. Unfortunately I had nothing the recipe actually called for, but after reading the recipe I realized that the dish was about sweet and salty – what I believe most dishes should be about. So give it a try, my friend Karen who doesn’t like fish gave hesitantly tried it, and ate the entire plate!

Walleye is part of the pike family, it’s a white fish, with a light sweet flavor. It also has a few bones, don’t panic, ask your fish monger to properly clean the fish. And once cooked, if there’s anything left, pull out with tweezers, or warn guests 🙂

Walleye with Artichoke Stew – 3 servings
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of baby carrots or 1 large carrot, sliced
1 can of 8 whole artichoke hearts, drained and halved
4 sprigs of thyme
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low sodium chicken stock, plus extra
1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
3 6-ounce pieces walleye fillet, with skin on
Canola oil
Unsalted butter

Cover the bottom of a large sauce pan with olive oil, place over low heat, add onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened and add the carrots, mix well and cook until carrots have softened.

Add the halved artichoke hearts, lemon juice, white wine and chicken stock to the sauce pan. Add enough stock to cover everything and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile clean and season walleye with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When all the liquid has cooked off from the artichoke mixture, turn heat to low, add ½ cup chicken stock. Have two pans on hand. Prepare one oven safe pan with canola oil, over medium-high heat. Once hot, place fish in pan skin side down, and place the other pan on top to make sure the fish doesn’t curl, hold for 30 to 40 seconds. Remove the top pan, set aside, and continue to cook the fish in the pan, place a pat of butter on each piece of fish, cook for about 2 minutes, move pan to the oven to continue to cook; bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until fully cooked.

The artichoke stew should be pretty dry, distribute evenly onto three dishes, serve with the fish.

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Homemade Raviolis

One of John and I’s favorite things to do together in the kitchen is make ravioli – the first time was a disaster! He was rolling out the pasta faster than I could fill them, so we ended up with dry pasta and lots of filling, and we had to start all over again. Now we are pros, cranking out about 50 raviolis in 1 hour! : ) What I love about making pasta is that you don’t have to use it immediately, you can freeze it following instructions below!

The best way to make the raviolis is to make the filling first, so that they can cool while the dough rests. Also you don’t have to make both fillings below, just double up the one you prefer, but I can guarantee they are both amazing with homemade tomato sauce, or tossed in brown butter with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Roasted Tomatoes and Cheese Filling
20 small cherry or grape tomatoes, score an X on tomato base
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
7 oz drained ricotta
6 oz freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl combine scored tomatoes, olive oil, thyme and garlic. Mix well, and spread onto baking sheet – bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile combine the rest of the ingredients and set aside, remove tomatoes from the oven.

To assemble the raviolis: For a 2 ½ inch round or square cutter, I recommend using 1 tablespoon. Lay one sheet out, make mounds with about 1-inch apart from other mound, then lay a roasted cherry tomato on top of each mound. Lay another sheet on top, and gently press down the sheet in between the mounds. Using the cutter press down around each mound then pull away excess dough to re-use later.

If you are not preparing immediately (according to instructions below) then place raviolis on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat and freeze for 1 hour. Then separate into Ziploc bags.

Porkopolis Filling
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ lb ground pork
½ onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 ounces mortadella, finely chopped
1 once prosciutto, finely chopped
1 large egg

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter in olive oil over medium heat. Add ground pork, onions and garlic. Cook until the meat is done and the onions are tender. Place the meat mixture into a food processor and pulse until the meat is finely chopped. Combine the meat filling, with the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

To assemble the raviolis: For a 2 ½ inch round or square cutter, I recommend using 1 tablespoon. Lay one sheet out, make mounds with about 1-inch apart from other mound. Lay another sheet on top, and gently press down the sheet in between the mounds. Using the cutter press down around each mound then pull away excess dough to re-use later.

John’s Basic Pasta Dough makes 1 ½ lbs dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
8 large egg yolks + (maybe 1 egg)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, egg yolks, salt, olive oil, and water. Turn on the machine, and mix until it comes together. Feel the dough and if it’s too dry, add 1 egg, mix until combined – you want the dough to be a moist ball – if it’s too moist add a tablespoon at a time of flour. Unfortunately the weather will have an effect on how the dough turns out, so sometimes it’s trial and error.

Remove the dough from mixer, form a ball and loosely wrap in plastic wrap. Rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Using a hand-cranked pasta machine follow the instructions to make thin sheets. If you are working alone you will have to make sheets on a need to use basis, otherwise the sheets will dry out.

To assemble raviolis:
Depending on the size of the shapes you are using to cut the pasta, the amount of filling will vary. For a 2 ½ inch round or square cutter, I recommend using 1 tablespoon. Lay one sheet out, make mounds with about 1-inch apart from other mound. Lay another sheet on top, and gently press down the sheet in between the mounds. Using the cutter press down around each mound – then pull away excess dough to reuse later.

To serve: Over high heat bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the raviolis you would like to cook, boil for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente. Strain and serve with favorite sauce.

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Happy Cooking!

Also I wanted to mention that this is a great way to get friends together for an interesting night. Having a pasta party is easy and fun! Just ask friends to bring at least one filling to share, and you can prepare the dough before they arrive along with a cheese filling enough for everyone. Each person can take turns to roll out the dough…while drinking plenty of wine – spend the day making raviolis that will last months!