Posts tagged ‘sage’
Last night’s meal unexpectedly went down as “the best thing you’ve made in a long time” according to wifey. “I’ve got goosebumps!” she exclaimed at one point. I mean, while I expected it to be tasty, it went a little beyond that. OK, a lot beyond that. Best of all, it didn’t dirty many dishes or take a long time. (I know that’s a rare occurrence for a lot of my recipes. Sorry, dish-doing-haters). I only cooked for 2, but this should serve about 4. Remember that gnocchi is a gut-buster.
The largest portobellas you can find (1 per person)
3-4 stalks of sage
1 handful of chives
1T caraway seeds
6 cloves of garlic
1/4 c flour
1-2 c milk
6T olive oil/butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Feta to crumble over top
Additional oil for frying (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375. Reserve 15-20 of the largest sage leaves for frying later. Chop the rest of the sage and the chives. Set aside. Finely chop the onions and garlic. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the caraway, and cook until the onions are golden (another 3 minutes or so). Sprinkle the flour in a little at a time so that the fat/oil can absorb it. Let this cook another 10-15 minutes until it’s a toasty, golden color, stirring semi-frequently. Begin adding milk a little at a time, whisking vigorously until it dissolves. Once you have a thick roux, add the chopped sage and chives. Salt & pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and let the flavors meld, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, remove the stems from the portobellas, and put them gills-up on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10-15min until their juices are just starting to run. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the gnocchi. They’re done when the float. Drain them and set aside. Once the mushrooms are done pre-cooking, remove them. Spoon a little bit of sauce onto the mushroom, and spread it around on the gills. Pile as many gnocchi as you can possibly fit onto each mushroom. Smother in sauce and top with crumbled feta. Put in the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes. While it’s baking, pour 1/4″ of oil into a small frying pan and heat. Take the large sage leaves that you reserved at the beginning into the hot oil bottom-side-up (the way the leaf curls when it fries, it just works better upside-down). Fry for 1-2 minutes until deep green. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel or clean dish rag. Sprinkle a little salt on the leaves while they’re still hot, so that it sticks to them.
Remove the mushrooms from the oven, and carefully move them to serving plates using a large spatula. (I used two spatulas. The cooked mushrooms will not longer be firm enough to support the weight of the gnocchi, and you don’t want the gnocchi to slide off the mushroom caps when you serve them.) Garnish with 4-5 fried sage leaves.
Last night the wife and I made homemade saffron ricotta ravioli. Saffron consists of “threads”–stigmas of a crocus flower. Each crocus contains 3 stigmas, which must be picked out by hand. It takes approximately 80,000 crocuses to make one pound of saffron, making it the most costly spice in the world by weight. My Herbs and Spices book describes its aroma as: “rich, pungent, musky, floral, honeyed and tenacious,” and it’s taste as: “delicate yet penetrating, warm, earthy, musky, bitter and lingering.” Saffron’s bright color also make it an excellent dye. I’ve heard that it was traditionally used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks.
1T olive oil
1/2 t saffron
1 T milk
1 1/2 c ricotta
Zest of 1/2 orange
Pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
3 small tomatoes
1 sprig of fresh sage
4 T olive oil
Make the pasta dough:
Sift flour onto clean counter top.
Make a volcano out of the flour. Break eggs into the crater.
Add olive oil and salt. Using your fingers, mix eggs, oil and salt. Begin working flour into the egg mixture, being careful not to rupture the edge of the volcano.
Work into a dough, and knead for 3-5 minutes. One finished, wrap and let sit for an hour.
Make the ricotta filling:
Crush the saffron and let it soak in the milk for 20 minutes.
Zest the orange.
Mix the zest, egg, pepper and saffron/milk into the ricotta.
Make the ravioli:
Step 1: Keep all cats away from the pasta machine.
Break off a fist-sized chunk of pasta dough, and run it through the machine to the thinnest setting. (If you don’t have a pasta machine, roll the dough out on a floured surface until about as thick as a postcard).
Lay the dough over a ravioli tray. Carefully stretch the dough into the pockets of the tray.
Beat an egg with 1T of water. Paint the edges of the ravioli pockets (acts as a glue). Scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling into the pockets.
Lay another sheet of pasta dough over tray to cover the pockets. Roll the tray to perforate the edges of the ravioli.
Dump them out, separate them, and let them dry for an hour.
In olive oil, lightly fry two cloves of minced garlic. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting. Add diced tomatoes (seeds removed), chopped thyme and pepper to taste.
In another pot bring water to a boil. Add ravioli, and let them cook 4 or 5 minutes until puffy and floating.