Warm Up With Pasta Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli

In a soup pot pour about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut one or two slices of onion and quarter them. Add it to the oil.Crush or dice a small clove of garlic. Add it to the oil. Heat the oil and lightly sauté the onion and garlic until tender. Don’t let them burn.

Put one can of petite diced or diced tomato into the pot and stir. Sauté for a few minutes just to lightly cook and blend the flavors.

Add three or four cans of unrinsed red kidney beans into the pot, add one can of refried beans and add about six or seven cans of water. Cut and add about 2 or 3 celery stalks with the leaves and a tablespoon of fresh Rosemary cut into smaller pieces. Make sure it is well stirred and the refried beans are dissolved.

Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer with the lid partially covering the pot for about an hour or two, stirring occasionally.

Add a box of Ditalini or small elbows into the soup, stir well and cook until al dente. Salt and pepper to taste.

The soup is ready to eat or for a real treat let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to thicken and blend flavors. Makes a great meal and goes well with homemade pizza. Some people also like to grate some Parmesan cheese over the top with a pinch of parsley. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Ravioli Recipe – with bonus!

Butternut Squash – Two-For-One Treat

Since a medium butternut squash will provide more than enough filling for the ravioli, the remainder can be used to make a fantastic hearty soup.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Pasta:

4 cups flour 4 eggs pinch of salt 1 or 2 tablespoons of water

Traditionally make a well with the flour and pour the slightly beaten eggs and 1 tablespoon of water into the center of the well and slowly mix the flour into the liquid until the pasta has a nice – not too wet – consistency. If it is too dry add just a bit more water. If too wet a little more flour. A Kitchen-Aid mixer with a dough hook works great too. Once the flour has absorbed all of the liquid, place the pasta ball on a floured cutting board and knead until the surface becomes smooth and a bit shiny. Be careful not to overdo it as the pasta will become too sturdy. Coat the pasta with a little olive oil and wrap it with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer to rest. This will make about 60 to 75 ravioli.

Filling:

1 medium butternut squash ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ¼ teaspoon cinnamon salt & pepper to taste olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Split the squash in half long ways. Remove the seeds. Place the two halves cut side up in a roasting pan and coat the tops with some olive oil. Fill the roasting pan about ¼” with water. Cook the squash in the oven for about 1 hour until very soft. Remove the squash from the oven and scrap the squash from the skin. Place the squash in a bowl and add the nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Mix it together well. I refrigerate it until cool to make it easier to work with.

Assembly:

Remove the pasta and filling from the refrigerator and let it warm for a few minutes. Cut a portion of the pasta and flatten it by hand on a floured board and roll it flat with a rolling pin or prepare it for a run through a pasta maker machine. Flatten the pasta to make it thin but not too fragile. At this point you can cut circles or squares about 2 to 2-1/2 inches across. Dampen the edges to the cut pasta with a little water on your fingertip. Place a small dollop of butternut squash on each piece. Fold the pasta in half,

seal the edges and place them on a cookie sheet. Keep out what you plan to cook now and the rest place in the freezer until they harden. Then take them off the cookie sheet and place them in a plastic bag and return them to the freezer for later use.

Cooking:

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter Five or six sage fresh sage leaves chopped or about 1 tablespoon of dried flakes 1 tablespoon of pine nuts Parmesan Cheese for grating or shaving

Fill a pot of water and salt it. Bring it to a boil. Pour the ravioli in and return to boiling. Once the ravioli all float to the top, let them boil for 1 minute longer. Drain the ravioli and set aside. In a large frying pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the pine nuts and cook of about 1 minute. Add the drained ravioli and sauté for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the sage over the top and mix. Sauté for about 1 more minute. Remove the ravioli from the frying pan and place portions on plates. Shave or grate some Parmesan cheese over the top if desired. Serve immediately. Pairs great with a lighter red wine like Pinot Noir or even Sangiovese.

Bonus – Butternut Squash Soup

Remaining butternut squash from your ravioli adventure 3 to 4 cups of organic low fat chicken stock 3 tablespoons unsalted butter ½ small onion diced 5 or 6 fresh sage leaves chopped ¼ cup heavy cream

Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pot and add the onion. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the butternut squash, heavy cream, sage leaves and chicken stock. Raise the heat to medium high, stir well and bring to a boil. Once the soup boils use an immersion blender to puree all the ingredients together. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer until thickened. Serve it with a nice slice of whole grain bread. If you want to show your artistic side and serve the soup with a little flair, carefully float about a half teaspoon of heavy cream on top of what you ladled into a bowl. Use a pointed knife to give the cream a little swirl to create a design on top of the soup. Finish with a light sprinkle of chopped sage leaves as garnish.

Now, I don’t know about you…but…for the final treat. Before decorating the soup with cream, slip a few of the ravioli into the bowl of soup. Wow! Enjoy.

Mangiare Bene e Godere, Bernie & Lynn

Cheese Making

We received some cheese making equipment for Christmas so we decided to use the past (snowy) weekend to try it out. With a little help from our nephew, a cook and self-proclaimed foodie, we did pretty good at creating cheese. The mascarpone was great and used in dessert, the ricotta was used for pizza and the whey was used in making pizza dough. What a feast!! Our final cheese, cheddar, is going through it’s drying out period and will be waxed in the next couple of days. Then to our “cheese cave” to be aged for at least a month.

Our weekend cheese making

Our weekend cheese making

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Tis the Season for Cappelletti

Of course you can make #cappelletti anytime (we encourage it!) – but the holidays are the most popular time for this amazing pasta. Our town, Old Forge, PA will be hosting #SnowForge on Sunday, December 6th. Check out our Main Street for crafts, Santa, tree decorating and sleigh rides….we hope to make it a great success! We will be there with our cappelletti makers, cutting boards, cutting board balm and spaghetti t-shirts. We hope to see you there!

Recipes From Mom – Biscotti

From Mom's Recipe Book

From Mom’s Recipe Book

I found my mother’s old recipe books and had a great time reading all the recipes she had used. One of the books had recipes typed, you know with a typewriter, on loose leaf paper. Here’s a biscotti recipe  – notice how some things about the process are just understood and not completely spelled out (baking time, temp). I will be trying this recipe soon but I won’t change anything about this vintage copy of it!!

WITR Flatbread

Flatbread

Flatbread made with whatever’s in the refrigerator.

So what is WITR Flatbread? A few nights ago it was cold and snowy. We decided we wanted to make something different for dinner but didn’t want to run out to the store. We opened the refrigerator and took a look around. We found a packet of Pizza dough yeast, some lonza, spinach, artichokes and a few slices of American cheese. I put my new pizza stone in the oven and heated it to 475 while I mixed the dough. Threw the dough on the stone and baked it for about 6 or 7 minutes. Cut up the WITR ingredients and tossed them on the shell along with a drizzle of olive oil…that goes with everything. About 10 minutes later we had some fantastic flatbread made with Whatever’s In The Refrigerator.

Give it a try sometime…it is fun and delicious.