Homemade Fettucine

Homemade pasta is just to die for. Yes, it requires extra work but once you’ve done it once or twice, it’s far more enjoyable than you think. The pasta maker itself is about $70 and it’s definitely worth every penny. You’ll use it way more than you would expect and the bit of labor required is definitely worth it. Today was the first time I used to attachment for the maker, where it will cut your pasta for you into fettuccine. It is just AMAZING.
Now, the only explanation I will give for the pasta making will be brief here. When you go to roll your pasta, use a racquetball sized piece of dough every time. And make sure to really coat your dough with flour…trust me, you don’t want to learn the hard way of what happens if you don’t do this. Have the dough go through the machine at the widest setting, folding it into a rectangle every time. Add flour as needed! Once it has smoothed out, start changing the settings gradually until you get a nice, long sheet of thin pasta dough. Once again, make sure to COAT your pasta so it doesn’t stick. Once you have your sheets, put it through the fettuccine attachment, hang them to dry for 5-10 minutes, cover with flour and allow to dry in a “nest” on parchment paper.
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Dried pasta is just way too…chewy. Homemade pasta stays extremely light and feels like it’s melting in your mouth. And it surprisingly stays just as good for leftovers the next day. I won’t lie, the part I hate the most is kneading the dough. It seems like it’ll never become smooth but it really does.
Now here comes the super McGyver part. Usually, you need to use a pasta drying rack, which looks like a stripped down tree where you hang your pasta to dry. I never really thought I would need it when I was registering gifts for our wedding…lo and behold, the day came and I was pissed at myself for not getting one. But instead of going out and buying one, I improvised. With a clothing hanger. Hanging off my blinds. Was it extremely redneck of me? Yes, absolutely. But it worked and that’s all that matters.
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This weekend, we also decided to go to our local “Whole Foods” and bought a ton of salamis, cheese, and the lovely pancetta. Pancetta is cured pork belly that goes great with pasta. Usually, you will see it used in carbonara. It’s not a completely obscure ingredient and considering I was able to procure it in Pensacola means that it can virtually be purchased anywhere.
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Ingredients:
Pasta dough (see my Butternut Squash Ravioli recipe)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 pound diced pancetta
1/2 onion, finely diced
4-5 garlic cloves, finely diced
5-6 basil leaves
dash of pepper and salt
1. In a large sauce pan, heat up olive oil over medium heat. (Also start boiling your water)
2. Add your pancetta and allow it to cook until it starts turning light brown.
3. Add your onions and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add your garlic.
4. Start boiling your pasta; this will take about 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the heavy cream and about 2 ladles of the pasta water.
6. Add pepper, salt, and basil.
7. Toss your pasta in sauce and serve!
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Lasagna Bolognese

It’s Sunday! Meaning there’s only 4.5 days of work left until we drive a long ways away to the northeast for the holidays. Meaning, there’s more chances of crazy children this week. I will probably have to be institutionalized after this week of work.

Holidays means lots of gift giving. I don’t like receiving gifts as much I enjoy giving them. Is that weird? Maybe I should be institutionalized already.

I got an AMAZING cookbook from my lovely mother-in-law filled with drool worthy recipes. The pictures are the best part…I could so easily be entertained by pictures of food for hours.

Well in this cookbook, one recipe immediately stood out: lasagna bolognese. I just recently watched Anthony Bourdain in Naples, Italy, and in the episode, there was a grandmother (who stood about 3 feet tall) who made a ridiculously good looking bolognese. It was filled with veal, pork, and beef and simmered for what I believe at least 5 hours. Could you imagine?7

But one problem with today’s cooking expedition: dog problems and lack of grocery stores. The dog had her 3rd vet trip in 24 hours today so that was exhausting in itself. I was not in the mood to go hunting down for the ingredients called for in the recipe. But even if I did have the energy, I live in Pensacola. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until a couple months before we moved here. Here, in the land of Pensacola (and as I have said numerous times before), there is nothing. By nothing, I mean it’s hard to find a lot of ingredients, such as pancetta and veal. Not kidding, it’s hard to find veal. It’s simply not in demand here in the Panhandle. And when I need Asian ingredients? Forget it. There’s one Vietnamese store that doesn’t scream “murder house” and even in there, there’s not much. One time, when we were driving down from Atlanta, I randomly decided to look up “Korean grocery” on Yelp and indeed, there was one in Montgomery, Alabama. Yes, I went Korean food shopping 3 hours away from home because it does NOT exist here.

End complaint rampage. So what I was originally attempting to say above was that I just wasn’t in the mood to go find veal and pancetta for this recipe. As I always do in cooking, improversation (google Michael Scott) is key. Or, just elimination of ingredients and still making it taste good. So I’ll be honest. I’m typing this post up as I lay in bed with the dog. If you’re a crazy dumbass like me, you’ll make the lasagna pasta sheets (see my ravioli recipes for how to make homemade pasta). It took quite a bit of work to make the pasta but I know it’ll be worth it.

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You’re going to look below and ask “What about ricotta cheese?” No ricotta cheese here. The recipe calls for a bechamel sauce, as well as whole milk in the bolognese. Strange but I’m excited. I know as Americans, we’re used to lasagna that has loads of ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese, along with tangy spaghetti sauce but not today. Not. Today. The bechamel sauce was basically a replacement for the ricotta cheese…I think. Let’s just go with that. But man…this bolognese sauce is just to die for. Yes, it takes a while. But it’s worth it. Really worth it.

So with that, I present to you my improversised (it’s a word now) lasagna bolognese.

Time: 3-4 hours (mostly from letting the sauce simmer)

Ingredients:

Bolognese sauce

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 red onion, diced
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 can tomatoes, blended until smooth
1 can tomato paste
2 cups water
Fresh parmigiano reggiano
extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes
dash of salt, pepper, and sugar

1. In a pot, heat up the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots.

2. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have become translucent.

3. Add garlic, ground beef, and ground pork.

4. Saute until the meat is cooked through. Add the blended tomatoes, tomato paste, red chili flakes, cheese, and water.

5. Allow to come to a boil while mixing.

6. Let simmer for 2.5 hours. Add salt, sugar, and pepper to your tasting.

Bechamel Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
dash of nutmeg and salt

1. In a pot, melt the butter over medium high heat.

2. In a separate pot, warm up the milk.

3. Add the flour and whisk. You want to cook the flour with the butter, so lower the heat and continue to whisk for about 1 minute.

4. Add warmed milk, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk.

5. Allow this mixture to boil until thickened, about 5 minutes.

6. Set aside and allow to cool.

Lasagna Preparation

Bolognese sauce
Bechamel sauce
Shredded fresh mozzarella
Fresh lasagna sheets

1. Butter your baking dish.

2. Layer the bottom with sauce.

3. Alternating with mozzarella cheese, bechamel sauce, bolognese sauce, and fresh pasta sheets (or store bought), assemble your lasagna! Top off with bechamel sauce and bolognese.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F until bubbly.

Enjoy!

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Balsamic Tortellini Salad

I LOVE tortellini. I can just eat a bowl of it without anything on it. But one of my favorite ways is to make a salad out of it.

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The one greatest thing about cooking is that you can really just do whatever you want. What I mean by that is if you want to add some onions, you can add some onions. If you want more garlic, add some more garlic. You get what I mean by now, I assume. This is also the reason why I do not get along with baking.

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So the reason I say the things above is that you can add absolutely anything you want to this tortellini salad. Olives, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers…I could go on forever! It is totally up to your preferences. But all I can say is that the combination of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and parsley with the pasta is to die for. It’s incredibly easy and super flavorful. It’ll also stay good for several days, meaning great for quick lunches.

Time: 20 minutes

1 package tortellini (I use Buitoni brand), cooked and cooled
1/4 sweet onion, diced finely
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly diced
10-12 quartered cherry tomatoes
1 handful of Italian parsley, chopped finely
1 large piece of roasted bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
dash of salt and pepper

1. Combine all ingredients except tortellini in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
2. Add the cooked tortellini (make sure it is cooled) and mixed thoroughly.
3. Allow to chill in the refrigerator.
4. Enjoy!

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Homemade Ravioli 2.0

I’ve been told by my husband that I need sensitivity training. On the daily.

Husband. Still weird to say. I don’t think I’ll be able to say it without cringing for a while…

So as per the wedding, we got many cooking tools. Mainly because the ENTIRE wedding registry consisted of every cooking tool I could think of choosing.

We received (I think by far) the best one from one of our law school friends: Imperia Pasta Machine.

The dog felt it was necessary to be part of the action:

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It’s not the cheapest tool but good lord, is it amazing. It’s worth the price, the pain in the ass cleaning involved, as well as the lovely arm work out you get while rolling out your pasta dough.

Homemade pasta is just divine. It’s not ridiculously chewy to the point where you think it may be made with some indigestible ingredients. It’s soft, light, and it just tastes fresh. And it’s insanely easy to make…well the dough part, not the ravioli assembling process. It’s definitely a weekend project…unless you don’t work during the week. If you think it’s too hard, well then go f…never mind. I guess that’s a prime example of why I need sensitivity training.

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I’m not going to lie. This was a laborious process. By the end, I just wanted to throw the ravioli out the window at the stupid stray cat that’s been torturing Lady. But once dinner was served…everything changed.

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The goat cheese filling was just…to die for. I just don’t understand when people don’t like goat cheese. It makes me want to slap people. It’s tart, rich, and matches perfectly with garlic and spinach. Add in some caramelized onions and bam, you’re in heaven.

Time: 1.5-2 hours

Ingredients:

Pasta dough (see: https://kimchiandkogi.com/2014/07/21/roasted-butternut-squash-garlic-ravioli/)

Goat Cheese & Spinach Filling:
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
1 large bunch spinach
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup diced caramelized onions

Sausage Filling:
2 hot italian sausages, casing removed
1/4 cup diced caramelized onions

1. Sautee your spinach with olive oil in a large pan on medium high heat.

2. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.

3. Set aside to cool.

4. Mix your sausage and caramelized onions. (see: https://kimchiandkogi.com/2014/09/15/three-flatbreads/). Add ground pepper.

5. Chop your cooked spinach relatively small. Add onions and mix.

6. Once your spinach is cool, add the cheeses and mix.

7. Assemble your ravioli. (see link above in Ingredients for Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Ravioli)

8. When prepared, boil your ravioli for 4-5 minutes (for the sausage) and 3-4 minutes for the goat cheese.

9. Serve with homemade pasta sauce and enjoy!

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*If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can roll out the dough by hand. But after using this pasta machine, there is no way I will return to the old method. The pasta sheets come out incredibly thin, almost see through, and is the reason why the ravioli doesn’t get overpowered by chewy pasta dough.

*Make sure you flour your pasta dough really thoroughly at all times.

Three Flatbreads

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Walnuts. No seriously, walnuts on a flatbread is what I came up with yesterday and it was amazing. The texture and the richness of the walnut combined with balsamic vinegar and pesto was to die for.

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Sundays are usually the big meal days. Aka, the meals that take a bit more effort and thinking compared to a weekday meal such as spaghetti. Well, Sundays were the big meal days for a while because I was working and had recuperated enough over the weekend to cook a nice meal. I don’t work yet but…I decided to keep the tradition alive.

Honestly, I’m not sure what the difference between a flatbread and pizza is. I assume it’s the thickness and shape of the dough that alters the name. Okay, I just googled it. I guess it’s the difference between unleavened and leavened dough, as well as the optional use of toppings (sometimes) with flatbreads. Regardless, whether you want to call this pizza or flatbread, all I care is that it tasted amazing.

Keep in mind, this is a post focused on the toppings, not the process of making the pizzbread (new name). Although I will include some tips.

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Tip #1: Your dough needs ample time to rise. Try not to use the hot-0ven-proofing method if you have the time. I find that the dough just gets too mushy and tastes more yeast-y.

Tip #2: Use good yeast. Like I’ve said time and time again, I only use Dr. Oetker’s. This is just my opinion on a good yeast but I promise, there is a huge difference between using this and Fleischmann’s. If I could, I would use live yeast but have no idea where I can buy it.

Tip #3: You need a cast iron pizza pan or a pizza stone. The biggest issue with using a cookie sheet is that it’s temperature fluctuates way too easily. It just doesn’t retain it’s heat like a cast iron pan does. Using cast iron makes the crust have a thin layer of crunch on the bottom (which all pizzas should have) rather than some chewy piece of somewhat cooked dough. I promise, if you buy the cast iron pan, you won’t regret it. And it’s quite inexpensive too.

Tip #4: Use proper mozzarella, do not use shredded mozzarella in a bag. Not living in New Jersey puts me at a disadvantage because I had access to all the fresh mozzarella in the world. But I resort to using Belgioso cheese from Sam’s Club. It’s not what I normally use but it’s what I got. So yes, I am a cheese snob. But using good cheese makes a world’s difference. Bagged (or that white block of what people call cheese for a reason) shredded cheese is equivalent to rubber to me. You want that white, stringy, non-greasy cheese on your pizza, not opaque, rubbery, chewy cheese.

Tip #5: Blind bake your crust before putting toppings on.

Tip #6: Use the highest temperature possible for the oven. Most ovens only go up to 500 degrees F. And let the oven properly preheat; don’t just throw your pizza in there once the oven claims it’s at that temperature; you need the pan or stone to be heated all the way through.

Tip #7: Bake your pizza at 500 degrees F just until the crust starts to turn light brown. Once at that stage, blast it with the broiler at 500 degrees F again. It gets the cheese bubbling; there has been one too many times in my practicing of pizza making where the crust is dark brown and the cheese in the center is just barely melted. No good.

Tip #8: Let your pizza cool before cutting it. Sounds basic but let the cheese set before diving in and having a soupy mess on your table.

Tip #9: As you can see, my pizzas are on top of parchment paper. This is because although I normally like to put the pizza directly on the pizza pan, not having a pizza peel puts me at a disadvantage. So I place parchment on a large cutting board, put the toppings on, and just slide the whole thing onto the pan. Trust me, I’ve had incidents where I dropped the entire pizza because I was trying to balance it on two spatulas.

Here are the toppings I used for three different pizzbreads (this name is really sticking). Please refer to my previous foccacia and pizza recipe for proper instructions for dough making and pizza assembling. I mean, pizzbread (https://kimchiandkogi.com/2014/07/20/rosemary-focaccia/ and https://kimchiandkogi.com/2014/07/28/margherita-pizza/)

Toppings:

Pizzbread #1:
Thinly sliced shallots
Thinly sliced sweet pepper
Tomato sauce
Feta cheese
Mozzarella

Flizza #2:
Balsamic reduction
Pesto
Feta cheese
Mozzarella
Chopped walnuts
Caramelized onions

Flatzza #3:
Diced cooked chicken
Barbeque sauce of your choice
Caramelized onions
Mozzarella
My favorite was #2; it was just completely addicting. Enjoy!

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Tortellini Pasta Salad

Summer time = cold pasta salads. At least for me.

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There’s this tiny market, here in Pensacola, that has a ton of international food products. Ranging from Greek to Lebanese foods, this place is packed with mysterious items. But the best part about this place is the prepared lunch items. Homemade hummus to fresh tabouli, the store is hard to walk out of without buying a ton of food. It might also be the fact that the Greek owner is quite the salesman. I tried to go in there just to buy red curry paste, but instead I walked out with $40 worth of things. Damn it. The fact that he gives you samples of everything never helps…

Anyways, during that trip, we were talked into buying his tortellini salad. It was filled with flavors, mixed with ingredients like olives, parsley, and green onions. And of course, the best part, tortellini.

Well, lo and behold, we devoured this pasta salad within two days. $11 worth of pasta = GONE. Pricey, I know. So, guess what? I decided to make my own.

This pasta is great for lunch, since it stays good for at least a couple days. It’s also great to bring to any picnics or barbecues!

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Serves: 2-4 people
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups tortellini, uncooked
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup roughly chopped green olives (I used thrown spanish olives stuffed with pimentos)
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped (I only put this in for flavor, not to actually eat the chunks)
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano (if you have fresh, even better)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1. Cook your tortellini al dente
2. In a big bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3. Once the tortellini has cooked, make sure to allow it to cool.
4. Add tortellini to the oil/olive/parsley/etc mixture and mix.
5. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
6. Enjoy with fresh bread!

Extras:
1. If I had fresh feta cheese, I would have definitely added it. So you should too.
2. The more chilled, the better it tastes. It allows the flavors to really bind together.
3. Use any olives you like, I preferred the saltier kind for this salad.
4. Add sliced salami.
5. This salad and it’s “sauce” is an amazing dipping sauce for fresh bread.

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Pizza !

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I love pizza. I seem to start off many of my posts like that…

Anyway, being from New Jersey, I’m spoiled by great pizza (and bagels). Pizza anywhere else has never, EVER tasted as good. And I’m pretty certain it’s not because of my huge pizza-ego. It’s just true.

To me, there’s two kinds of pizzas. The kind you get at the local pizzeria, made with regular shredded mozzarella you find in a store and the works. You eat it with a good amount of garlic powder and red chili flakes. But my favorite, oh boy, my favorite is the wood burning oven kind of pizza. The kind of pizza that has fresh mozzarella and crispy yet chewy dough, and you eat with a fork and knife. The kind where you almost die of happiness.

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I’ve had a fair share of terrible pizza. Especially having lived in San Diego, there just wasn’t anything close to what I had at home. Well there was one…somewhat decent but the crust had the texture of dried wood chips. I’ve had the pizza where the crust was so paper thin (and by the way, when we say paper thin pizza in New Jersey and New York, we don’t literally mean it), everything just absorbed through the crust and became soggy. I’ve also had the kind where the dough is so thick, it takes a few minutes to get through one bite. And of course, one of the worst offenders, is the terrible choices in cheese that I’ve seen. Far too rubbery, far too much, and my newest experience, far too goopy. It was weird. It was somewhat opaque and really runny. So strange.

So, with all that said, I have been making pizzas since high school. Primarily because I worked in an Italian bakery for several years and there was always an abundance of pizza dough.

The first few years were horrible. I made it, loud and proud, and would serve it to my family. The slight smiles and many pauses in how “good” it was made it clear that I had failed. Failure.

So I practiced and I practiced. I perfected my dough recipe and figured out the best techniques to have a perfect pizza.

Couple things: I highly suggest using a cast iron pizza pan. I do not like pizza stones. Maybe it’s because one of my friends sat on mine and it shattered, but regardless, I don’t think they’re as good as cast iron.

Fresh mozzarella can be tough to come by. So shredded mozzarella is okay…as long as you have explored at least the 100 mile radius around you for the fresh kind. Extreme? Yes. Makes sense? Of course.

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Sad Dog

You also want to blind bake the crust. Since I obviously (and most people) don’t have a wood burning oven, I blast my oven at 500 degrees F. But this also means the temperature can fluctuate greatly. So, in my many failures in the past, I would have not-done crust with burnt cheese on top. There were just many things that went wrong. So back to blind baking. By this, I mean roll out your crust and bake by itself on the pan for 3 minutes, take it out, and then put your toppings on. This gets the cooking process started on the crust so by the time you put it back in the oven, everything cooks evenly.

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Serves 4 people
Time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

Crust:

3 cups flour
1 packet yeast
1.5 cups hot water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon salt

1. Follow the directions for foccacia: https://kimchiandkogi.com/2014/07/20/rosemary-focaccia/; allow to rise for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Toppings:

3/4 cup diced grape tomatoes
1 cup diced fresh mozzarella
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1/3 cup feta cheese
fresh basil

1. Clearly, you are welcome to use any toppings you would like.
2. P.S. remember my balsamic reduction from my chicken & peach sandwich? It is amazing with pizza.
3. Cut your dough into two pieces.
4. Take one piece and place on floured surface.
5. With your fingers, start to shape your dough into a 12 inch circle. You can also use a rolling pin; I just prefer using my fingers because the dough is very delicate at this point.
6. Carefully place onto your cast iron pan. I don’t have a pizza peel (it’s in New Jersey :() so I just fold my crust (very quickly!) into quarters and unfold it onto the pan. It’s an annoying procedure but the easiest.
7. Bake for 4 minutes and remove.
8. Put all of your toppings on your semi-baked crust. Return to the oven. At this point, I put the crust on a floured cutting board and then slide it back onto the pan when it has all of it’s toppings on.
9. Cook until golden brown and the cheese is melted.
10. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before cutting.
11. Enjoy!

There are a few things that may happen:

1. Water from the mozzarella; I’ve seen this happen over and over. It’s hard to avoid because in reality, 500 degrees F isn’t the ideal heat. I have avoided this water by either letting the cut mozzarella drain on paper towel or cutting it very thin.
2. Crust is done but toppings aren’t; blast the broiler and watch carefully until done.
3. I ate too much. Answer? No surprise.

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Roasted Butternut Squash & Garlic Ravioli

Oh my god. Preparing this meal took forever. Hours of preparation and we literally ate it in less than 20 minutes. Oh well.

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It was worth it though. The rich and savory butternut squash complemented by slow roasted garlic, covered in browned butter with sage was perfect.

I warn you though. This requires a few hours of your day. And lots of arm power.

I’ve always been a fan of handmade pasta. Raviolis, fettuccine, gnocchi, all of it. But it’s tough to make. In a sense. Not having a pasta roller was the hardest part, meaning I hand rolled the pasta dough. With my handy $3 rolling pin from Walmart, I was able to roll out the dough to be paper thin…while brushing away bits of wood falling off of the pin. Too much pressure for it, I suppose.

Slow roasting the garlic was the key component to this rich ravioli. The garlic becomes sweet and loses it’s pungency, making it a great background flavor to the butternut squash.

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If you’re daring, try this recipe out.

Ingredients:

Filling:
1 small butternut squash, halved and seeded
3 large garlic cloves, skins on
1/2 teaspoon sage powder (or fresh sage, finely sliced)

1. Halve your squash, hollow it out and drizzle olive oil all over.
2. Place on parchment paper (on baking sheet) cut side down and roast at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
3. Place your garlic cloves in the oven as well.
4. When done roasting, scoop out the flesh of the squash into a food processor (or blender) along with the peeled roasted garlic and sage powder. Puree and let cool.

Dough:
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

1. Make a large mound with your flour and create a well.
2. Add your remaining ingredients.
3. Start mixing the eggs, slowly adding in the flour.
4. You will probably experience an explosion of egg flowing uncontrollably at some point. Don’t worry, just keep mixing and combining the ingredients. If your dough is still too wet, add more flour. Add more water if it is too dry to knead.
5. Once flour has been incorporated, start kneading. Knead for 10 minutes.
6. The dough will become smooth and elastic. Once you are at this point, cut into 2 parts and wrap lightly with saran wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sage powder (or fresh sage, sliced thin)

1. Place the butter in a saucepan and let simmer over medium high heat.
2. Once butter has browned, add sage. Pour onto cooked ravioli.

Assembling the ravioli:

1. If you have a pasta roller, then you probably don’t need further instructions.
2. If you’re like me, get your rolling pin out and start rolling the dough. You want to keep it log shaped.
3. Roll until paper thin (this will take a while). Do the same to your other piece of dough.
4. Place 1.5 tablespoon of filling on the dough, separating at least 1 inch apart.
5. With water, wet the areas around the filling.
6. Take the other sheet of rolled out dough and place carefully on top of the filling(s).
7. Starting from the bottom, start carefully sticking the two pieces of dough together between the filling. You want to avoid any air bubbles so move upward slowly.
8. With a sharp knife, pastry scraper, or any other tool you have, cut your ravioli carefully into squares. If you’d like, you can make them circular. Make sure they are well sealed!
9. Place your ravioli on parchment paper.
10. After 20 minutes, flip your raviolis over and let sit for another 25 minutes.
11. To cook, place your ravioli in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
12. Pour the browned butter onto your ravioli and enjoy!

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Rosemary Focaccia

Bread is my worst enemy. But a delicious one.

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I remember always going to my favorite Italian deli during high school and getting focaccia bread. It was fluffy, chewy, and had a variety of toppings. My favorite was olives and tomatoes.

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Homemade ravioli is on the menu tonight, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to make this bread on a rainy Sunday. We have an abundance (I mean TONS) of rosemary growing outside so I took advantage.

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Ingredients:

1.5 cups hot water
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 packet yeast
2+ cups flour
1 large sprig of rosemary

1. Refer to my bagel recipe for the dough: https://kimchiandkogi.com/2014/07/10/bagels-i-did-it/ Keep in mind, I swapped out the bread flour for all purpose flour and molasses for honey. Molasses and honey can be interchanged with my bread recipes.
2. When your dough is done rising, have your oven heated up to 500 degrees F with your cast iron pan inside (or pizza stone).
3. Flip your dough onto a large piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. Do NOT knead the dough again.
4. I keep my dough round but you can shape it to be rectangular at this point.
5. With your thumbs, begin making dents throughout the dough.
6. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle your chopped rosemary onto the dough.
7. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. 1 2

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Enjoy with pasta! Or with any leftover focaccia, make sandwiches!

Shrimp Bowtie Pasta

Being from New Jersey (yea yea, New Jersey. Loud and proud), I love Italian food. The authentic kind, the pizzeria kind, anything. Oh, except for any Italian food outside of the tri-state area. It just doesn’t taste right. Strange looking opaque cheese on “pizza,” “beef manicotti” that resembles odd looking lumpy and dry meat (or whatever it really is) shoved inside an overcooked shell, and “lobster” ravioli that landed me some intimate time with the porcelain throne. I can go on and on.

So, what do I do? I make the pasta I want. And if it turns out to be a complete failure, I only have myself to be angry with. Not the entire world. It’s a genetic thing, being from New Jersey. I swear, there’s science to prove it.

Here, in Pensacola, we have a huge variety of shrimp to choose from. Fresh shrimp. Not frozen. Not the size of a baby’s finger. Real shrimp. Shrimp so fresh and big that it tastes like a miniature lobster. Who wouldn’t want that?

Out of the variety available, I choose to cook with the Royal Reds. They just never seem to fail to please.

Take a look:

shrimp

shrimp2

Mixed with a spicy, cream-based, tomato sauce and white wine, this pasta is always a winner.

Ingredients:

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First: heat up a sauce pan on medium heat. Meanwhile, dice your onions, garlic, and devein your shrimp. (and boil your pasta!)

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Second: add some olive oil and the onions to the pan. Sauté for at least 5 minutes; you want them to be nearly caramelized.

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Third: after 5 minutes, add your garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes. Watch your heat and make sure not to burn your garlic.

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Note: if you have either whole or diced tomatoes like me, blend them up in your blender/food processor.

Fourth: Add your 1.5 cups of tomatoes and 1/3 cup of tomato paste. Stir.

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Fifth: add 1 tablespoon of sugar to begin with, as well as 1 teaspoon of salt. Canned tomatoes tend to be extremely tart so adding these two balances it out really well. Adjust to your liking. You will most likely have to add more sugar.

Sixth: add 1/2 cup of white wine. I use whatever is the cheapest at the store. I know, I have class. Today, I used sauvignon blanc. Adding this white wine is crucial; it really brightens the flavor of the sauce, which compliments the seafood in it.

Seventh: let simmer for 1 minute; add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. You can add more or less, depending on your love for dairy. At this point, you can add 1 teaspoon of chili flakes (if you’d like).

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Eighth: toss in your shrimp and let cook for at most 2 minutes. The biggest mistake many people make is letting your shrimp cook far too long. This results in chewy and rubbery shrimp. Letting them cook for the minimum amount of time results in sweet and soft shrimp.

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Ninth: add in your pasta, toss again and enjoy!

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Extras: you can use any pasta you’d like of course. I usually prefer linguine but I felt bow-tie-y today.
You can also add in any other seafoods, such as squid, clams, mussels, you name it. The white wine will make it all taste great.