And they are amazing. they came over and let our heathen dogs jump all over them, they didn’t make me feel uncomfortable when I went a little over-board on our menu and they brought over a delicious garlic packed bruschetta. It was love and after last week’s post I realized that I was feeling a little sorry for myself and playing around in that dangerous “the grass is always greener” territory. Once I got over my pity party I realized that I neglected to share with you our new friends and how we opened up our kitchen and home to them.
When I cook for guests I get really excited, especially the first time, and want to cook something extravagant like Thomas Keller’s Roulade of Duck. Steve usually brings me back to earth reminding me to do something we know so that 5 minutes before our guests show up we aren’t ordering take-out. This, however, was not that kind of dinner. I had been deprived of laboring in the kitchen for hours and I was going to take my chances with something rich, delicious and a little challenging.
The day began at my Disneyland – Chino’s farm where like a kid hyped up on sugar and excitement I picked up the season’s first zucchini, a handful of squash blossoms, and a couple heads of freshly cut lettuce, edible flowers, basil and strawberries. Then it was off to the market to get fresh eggs, locally made seeded baguettes, ricotta, mascarpone and my favorite, proscuitto.
The menu was shaping up nicely. A cheese and proscuitto plate to nibble on before the meal, zucchini soup with fried squash blossoms, salad greens with vinegar soaked shallots and homemade croutons, and my three cheese and egg raviolo followed by homemade strawberry shortcakes.
I’m sure that by the photos you’ve seen so far you know I’m about to hand over a magnificent, delicate but extremely rich pasta dish recipe. Don’t be afraid. Anyone can tackle this dish with a little patience, a lot of flour and a pasta roller. If the task of making homemade pasta seems a little daunting you can buy fresh pasta sheets from specialty Italian stores which seem to be popping up everywhere these days.
If you are making fresh pasta, begin with that since it will need to rest before you roll it out. Next, fold together the ricotta, mascarpone and Parmesan. Then season with lemon zest, salt and fresh nutmeg. The nutmeg is key and the only description I have for the flavor it gives the dish is Unami. Indefinable amazingness. Put the mixture in the fridge and roll out (or unpackage) your pasta and begin to assemble your ravioli’s with hopefully minimal cussing. Once they are sealed and snug you can drop them in boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes and then finish them with a generous dose of brown butter.
My mouth is watering, I hope yours is too.
Three Cheese and Egg Ravioli with a Sage and Brown Butter Sauce
Serves 4. Prep time with pasta, 1 hour (includes resting the dough), cook time, 20 minutes
1/2 cup (4oz) Mascarpone
1 cup (4oz) Ricotta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt & White Pepper
Zest of one Lemon
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (you can buy whole nutmeg at most grocery stores)
4 egg yolks (reserve the whites for breakfast)
1/2 cup (1stick) of good quality butter. I like Pulgra.
Small handful of fresh Sage leaves
1. Put a pot of water on to boil. Once boiling add a generous amount of salt.
2. Mix all three cheeses in a bowl and then season with salt, pepper, zest and nutmeg. Use a micro planer to grate the nutmeg.
3. Prepare your dough. You’ll want sheets that are equal in width and length. Use a small melon baller or spoon to scoop the cheese mixture onto the center of the pasta sheet. Create a small mound in the mixture with the back of a spoon and gently fill it with the egg yolk.
4. Lightly brush the edges of the dough with water and then cover the raviolo with the other sheet trying to make sure there aren’t any air bubbles. Take your time here, this is an important part. Set the raviolo on a well-floured baking sheet while you finish the others.
5. Once you make the four raviolis with egg you can finish the rest of the cheese mixture off by making smaller raviolis to accompany the ones with the egg.
6. Now it’s time to make the brown butter sauce. Begin melting the butter on medium high heat. The butter will foam, separate and then start to brown. You’ll want to turn the heat off when the butter starts to smell nutty and have a nice caramel color to it. Toss in the chopped sage and set aside.
7. Add the raviolis to the boiling water in batches and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove and put them into your serving dishes. Dress with the brown butter and sprinkle with Parmesan.
8. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy an amazing meal.