Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Asparagus Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Passover started last week, which means no bread, grains, flour, corn etc. for me for eight days.  However, I made this recipe last week and haven't gotten around to posting it just yet (I scheduled posts in advance).  So, it was pre-Passover when I made this and when I posted it :)  At any rate, if you have been reading this blog for awhile, I love making my own ravioli and came up with this recipe for asparagus goat cheese ravioli, served in a sage brown butter sauce.  This was one of my husband's favorites, and mine too.  I made a second great pasta dish using ramps this past week, which I will be posting soon.  I love ramps in the springtime.  Once Passover ends, I plan to  make my famous ricotta-ramp ravioli. Another nice thing about spring is the emergence of fruit pies and canning.  I'll be starting my jamming in the next couple of weeks with a cantaloupe jam and a strawberry-rhubarb jam.  I'm counting the days until I can get strawberries and rhubarb at the farmer's market.  I can't wait to make a strawberry rhubarb pie as well!

Sasha's Asparagus Goat Cheese Ravioli
Pasta Dough (recipe from Mario Batali)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
five eggs
2 T tomato paste

Sasha's Ravioli Filling
bunch of asparagus, cooked lightly and pureed in a food processor
1 egg
10 oz goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Sage Brown Butter Sauce
15-20 sage leaves
6 T butter

To make the pasta dough, place the eggs and a mixer with the tomato paste and blend for a minute or two.  Then add the flour all at once and beat until a dough just forms.  If you need to you can add a tablespoon of water.  A dough won't fully come together in the mixer, as you will need to pull it together into four balls with your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes.

Roll the dough with your pasta maker to about a 6 or a 7 depending on your machine.  Press in ravioli press using your filling.  To make the filling, cook the asparagus in boiling water until it is just tender, and still a vibrant green in color.  Puree in a food processor and mix with an egg and 10 oz of goat cheese using a fork.  Season with salt and pepper, and add a little but of red pepper flakes if you prefer a little heat.  I left those out for this time.

Once you make the ravioli, allow to dry on a rack for about an hour.  Cook the ravioli in boiling water for about five minutes and remove using a strainer.  Place in the sauce directly.  I made a sage brown butter sauce.  Melt the butter over medium heat until it just browns, with the sage leaves.  The lovely crisp sage leaves lend delicious flavor to this simple sauce.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Banana Cream Pie

I've been itching to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, just as soon as they both come into season at the local farmer's market, or at least a rhubarb tart and some strawberry-rhubarb jam too, using my canning supplies.  But neither is ready just yet (rhubarb will precede strawberries) so in the meantime, I made a non-seaosnal pie that works just as well any time of year, a banana cream pie.  This was really delicious, and light and fluffy.  I followed Martha Stewart's recipe from her pie book, and the result was quite enjoyable.

Crust (from Pies and Tarts by Martha Stewart)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 stick of butter, cold cut into pieces
1/8 plus 1 T ice cold water

Banana Cream Pie (from Pies and Tarts by Martha Stewart)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
2 T cold, unsalted butter
3 large bananas, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly crosswise
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
shaved chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder for topping

To make the crust, follow Martha's half recipe for pate brisee.  Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a stand mixer.  Add the chunks of butter and pulse until mixture resembles a course meal.  Drizzle 1/8 cup of water over the mixture and pulse until it just holds together.  If needed you can add another T or two of water - I added one more tablespoon myself.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for about 45 minutes.

Roll out the dough and line a circular 8 inch pie plate.  Trim the edges and crimp to form a nice pie shell.  Use pie weights on top of the crust to bake, since you are doing a "blind bake" without any fruit and don't want the shell to puff up.  Chill the pie for twenty minutes though before baking.  Preheat the oven to 425 and bake until the pie begins to turn gold, 15-18 minutes.  Then, reduce the heat to 350  and bake another twenty minutes.  Allow to cool completely, and remove the pie weights.

Make the filling.  Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk in the milk over medium high heat, stirring constantly until bubbling and thick, about seven minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, and add the milk mixture.  Whisk until combined.  return to saucepan and cook over medium heat for another two minutes until it returns to a boil, stirring constantly.  Pour through a sieve to strain.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Fold in bananas and pour into crust.  Then allow to chill for four hours.  In a chilled bowl, beat together the cream, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form, using the whisk attachment of your mixer.  Shape topping on top of pie using a spatula.  Top with chocolate shavings of powdered cocoa.

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