Monday, March 29, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Toasted Pine Nut Sauce

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter and PInenut sauce

It has been a busy month for me, hence, not a lot of posting. I had a midterm, went to Arizona for a week, and bought a house. The latter of which has caused all the deeply buried hate I have for the kitchen in my current apartment to explode out and I refused to cook until I was in the newly renovated, cockroach-free, garbage disposal and dishwasher-possesing kitchen in my new home. But that won't be for 8 more days and I still need to eat, so the cooking strike ended.

Last weekend my friend Alex came over and we finally made homemade ravioli after postponing several times. It was definitely worth the wait though. We adapted recipes from both The Gourmet Cookbook and Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Cooking. It was not as complicated as I thought it might be, although I am definitely adding a pasta machine to my wedding registry after rolling the dough out by hand (actually, I made Alex roll it out. I am fine with rolling pie dough or pizza crust, but ever since the Great Cracker Disaster of 2009, I get scared when something has to be very thin). Don't let that scare you though, Alex didn't really have any trouble rolling out the dough, it's all in my head. The recipe seems long and work-intensive, but it's really quite simple and everything came together quickly. Don't let all the steps scare you!

Spinach & Cheese Ravioli with Toasted Pine Nut Sauce
Serves 4

Fresh Pasta
Adapted from The Art of Simple Cooking

2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

Put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the eggs in the well and mix with a fork, incorporating the flour bit by bit. When it becomes too stiff to mix with a fork, mix by hand. (Note: If it is too crumbly, add small amounts of water until it is dough-like. You can also do this step in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).

Turn the dough on a floured surface and knead lightly, for about 4 minutes. Shape it into a disk, wrap in plastic, and let rest for at least one hour. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured board or using a machine. Roll the dough into rectangles. Pipe or spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling along each sheet of pasta, leaving about 1.5 inches inbetween. Fold the pasta over the blobs and seal the layers together with your fingers around each blob, making sure to gently squeeze the air out of each pocket. Cut the raviolis using a knife or pastry cutter. (Note: We also re-squeezed the sides together after cutting).

When finished, cook the ravioli in salted boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes or until done. Drain and serve.


Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 lb. baby spinach (the original recipe calls for arugula)
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Heat the butter in a skillet until the foam subsides. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and lemon zest and cook until the spinach is wilted. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer and extract the excess liquid. Finely chop mixture and then stir with cheeses in a bowl (Note: We chopped and added the cheese in the food processor).


Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup spinach leaves, chopped

Heat butter in a skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides (Note: I added the butter before realizing we had not chopped the garlic, so while Alex did that, the butter browned. This was the best mistake ever and I highly recommend browning the butter on purpose). Add pine nuts and toast, stirring frequently until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic turns golden, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and oil, swirling skillet to combine. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the spinach leaves over the raviloi and drizzle the sauce on top.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Butternut Cookies

Butternut Cookies

I randomly flipped to this recipe in my Moosewood Restaurant's Cooking for Health cookbook (that I am clearly obsessed with) and decided these cookies needed to be made immediately. I had some leftover squash in the freezer (I'm pretty sure it was acorn, but may have been butternut, who knows?) that was dying to be made into these little things. Plus, I had every single ingredient. Every single one. If fate was not calling, then I don't know who was.

The cookies themselves are not incredibly sweet (the chocolate chips help with that) but they are jam packed with healthy goods: squash, pumpkin seeds, nuts, raisins. Okay, yes, they are still cookies, but as far as cookies go, these babies are pretty damn healthy. According to the nutrition info provided with each recipe, they are just 103 calories a pop. Not bad, little cookies, not bad at all. This recipe is also easy to alter. If you don't have any of the add-ins or don't want to use nuts, for example, just double the amount of something else, like the raisins or chocolate chips. Anything goes!

Butternut Cookies
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant's Cooking for Health

1 1/2 cups pureed cooked butternut squash (or 12 oz frozen winter squash)
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chpped toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or pecans)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped raisins or dried cranberries (I used golden raisins)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped pumpkin seeds (I used whole pumpkins seeds because I'm lazy like that)
2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional, I did not use)

Butternut Squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the squash, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir in the nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds (if using).

Butternut Cookie Batter

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and use about a tablespoon of batter for each cookie. Mine didn't spread at all, so you can fit about 18 per sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Makes 36 cookies.