The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Tortellini: This is how we do. February 10, 2012

Filed under: Main Dishes — Meg @ 8:42 pm
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Tonight, I decided to make some Ravioli. I made Tortellini instead…

Bloggies, if you want to make it, I assure you, you can. If I can do all of this in under an hour, AND take a low-grade cellphone photo of it to boot, take the plunge and try it as well! I used my old hand-crank pasta machine to get the dough, and yes, I made the dough with my Kitchen-aid, but we can all take a little help here and there!

End result:

(I still can’t find the Olympus, sorry!)

To make the dough, mix together and knead 1 cup of flour and 2 eggs. If you’re using a machine, knead with the dough hook for 8 minutes on highest kneading settting (2 on a Kitchen-aid). Jamie Oliver has a nice method using a food processor, as well, but you can do the same by hand, kneading till firm, very smooth and somewhat dry. No sticky! Put it in a plastic bag or cling wrap for about 15-30 minutes, whatever you’ve got. Cut it in two, and use a pasta machine (I went down to 6 of 7 thicknesses) to roll it out. You can do this on a floured board with a rolling pin, too. Shoot for about 1millimeter or so. Or thicker, I don’t care! Cut into 2″ squares, flour, and let it sit under a damp tea towel as you work.

While the dough rests, mix these ingredients until combined and slightly sticky:

  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan, if you want)
  • 1 egg

    Now, when everything is ready, prepare an eggwash (just mix an egg up very well. Add a splash of water, if you like), and have a brush on hand. Line up a bunch of your squares, and eggwash the edges to make a 90 degree angle on each square. Add 1/2 tsp or so of filling to each square (you may need a little less to avoid ‘splosions). Fold over, seal tightly and remove air pockets. With the point up, wrap the bottom edges around your pinky finger, and squeeze them together to seal. Take it off your finger, and fold the top edge down. You can also fold the whole top over (edges) if you want a little more pizazz to your tortellini. That’s it!

    Now all you have to do is cook ’em! I think the best way is just to cook in boiling, salted water, until they float to the top. Check by cutting into them to see that the meat and pasta are cooked through. Serve these however you want, and keep in mind, they freeze very well. Make sure, if you do freeze them, do it on a floured board, keeping them separate. Then transfer to a freezer bag.

    That is all I want to say! Make some and enjoy!

 

So good, a clever title isn’t even necessary. March 27, 2011

Readers, I am, in this moment, reveling in a feeling that can only be compared to the first recognition of love. A dizzying feeling that for me, is often brought on by a slowly cooked, lustrous, tomato-y, pasta-y, legume-y foodstuff. Always cooked in a big, heavy pot. Oh, and did I mention, fatty pork products are involved too? The only thing this is missing is wine, and I may as well pour myself a nice, well-deserved glass now.
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If done right, I could easily say that Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fuh-zoo, if you’re a Marcella) is my last-meal-ever/death row dish, that or Pasta and Cauliflower (Macaroni and Cauliflower, if you are my immediate family). However, if this was my last meal, I’d die a very happy glutton.  I’ve been doing lots of research this past week on Molise, and learning about the use of chestnuts, legumes, and today’s ingredient, chickpeas (garbanzo beans if you’re a snob). I have never been a huge fan of chickpeas, and I am sworn against hummus, so help me (it tastes fine, but nobody is getting turned on but smushed up chickpeas being presented to them by some pretentious jerk who can open an aluminum can and a jar of tahini. There are only so many ways to make hummus, and your mint garnish does not impress me). But, anyhow, I thought I’d give chickpeas another try.  So, need a change from fagioli? Try chickpeas. The dish has now become the ever-loved, humble and shoulder-to-cry-on (if you need it for that), Pasta e Ceci. There are a million and eight ways to make Pasta e Ceci (or Pasta e Fagioli, for that matter), some are simply pasta and chickpeas tossed together with olive oil, salt and pepper, or in a light broth, other times tossed with pasta, and in this case, cooked as an almost-soup, stew-y, I-don’t-know-what kind of lovedish.
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To go along with this, I decided to carb it up (not that it needed carbs, but I felt like making non-“bread”-bread) with some pizza. That is to say, more of a focaccia bread, but as I have learned in recent days, Molise seems to call all of their flatbread/focaccia concoctions, “pizza.” Which I can get down with. Mostly-cheeseless (and sometimes entirely), not dripping with orange pepperoni grease and actually seemingly healthy? Pizza? Don’t mind if I dooo! This page has been blowing my mind today with all the non-bastardized, non-North-American pizzas, and I decided to make one. Jon and I bought some fairly impressive-looking olive oil this week, after watching Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo glug/drizzle it on everything, very excitedly, in glorious excess. This was a nice outlet to show ours off, along with some sundried tomatoes and black olives. So, let’s have at it.
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Pasta e Ceci
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Ingredients
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4 oz smoked pancetta or bacon, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz (2 Tbsp) pimento, or diced roasted red peppers
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes
1/ 4 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
1 796mL can diced tomatoes (3-4 cups)
1 156mL can tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1.5 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1.5 tsp dried basil (1 tsp oregano, sage or marjoram would work nicely as well)
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
1.5 cups small-cut pasta, or broken long-cut pasta (shells, ditalini broken spaghetti, etc)
salt and pepper
water
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Method
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In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add olive oil, and begin to saute the pancetta or bacon over medium-high heat. When sufficiently browned/not chewy fatstuff, remove all but 2 tsp or so of the fat. Add onions and celery, sweat three minutes or so until they soften, add garlic, cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Add pimento (or roasted red peppahs), cook for a minute or so, then stir in hot pepper flakes (or cayenne), and anchovy paste, if you’re using it.
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Add tomatoes, paste, and chicken broth, stirring until tomato paste is smooth. Add sugar, bay leaf and herbs (I used basil because I think it is glorious). Make sure it comes to a simmer if it already isn’t, then turn heat down to medium-low, cover and let simmer for at least 40 minutes or so, stirring fairly frequently. I happened to have dry chickpeas, so I cooked them (not long enough) in the pressure cooker, and finished them up in the pot on the stove, so it took 1.5 hours or so for me.
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Add pasta, and a little extra water if needed (I went with a bit under 1.5 cups of additional water), stir, and simmer, till pasta is tender. You will need to stir pretty frequently, or else surrender yourself to bottom-stick-stew. But do not worry, I believe in you! Anyhow, when the pasta is cooked, check for seasoning, and you’re done. Top with some Parmesan or Romano, and let it’s hearty succulence envelop whatever soul you have left.
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Pizza con Olive e Pomodoro (Molise-style flatbread with olives and tomatoes)
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Ingredients
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For the dough:
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3 cups flour
1.5 tsp instant yeast
¾ tsp salt
1.5 tsp honey
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp olive oil
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For the toppings:
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Cornmeal (enough for a sprinkle)
Fresh garlic
Salt
Black olives (good quality, I recommend something delightfully sodium-enriched and stored in oil, NOT water)
Sun dried tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
Herbs (rosemary, oregano, or basil)
Good Italian cheese (I went with Pecorino Romano, because it was what I had around, opened, but Bocconcini, good Mozzarella, or Scamorza would be equally acceptable)
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Method
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Combine dry ingredients for dough in a bowl, mix lightly, and add remaining ingredients. Mix together until a slightly-sticky and soft dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes or so, until smooth and elastic. If using a mixer with a dough hook, 2-3 minutes until end result. Lightly oil the bowl with olive oil, a teaspoon or so, and rub it around the bowl with the dough (use it as a sort of mop), then flip the dough over, so it is coated on both sides. Cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in a warm place. When dough has doubled, sprinkle a pizza pan (or cookie sheet, whatever you have) with a little cornmeal, and punch the dough down in a bowl. Put it on the pizza pan, and press it out with your hands until it is about 1/2- 3/4 inch thick. Let rise 10 or 15 minutes again.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F., and then rub the dough with a little fresh garlic, sliced in half. Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough, then very lightly, sprinkle a small amount of salt. Just scatter it, nothing fancy, nothing excessive. Place some olives over the dough (whole, don’t worry about pits, you’ll get to them when you eat it), you may want to indent them into the dough a bit. Sprinkle sun dried tomatoes or place thinly sliced fresh tomatoes sporadically around dough as well. Sprinkle with a small amount (or a lot?) of red pepper flakes, and a good amount of whatever herb you’re using (I used basil, derrrp). If you wish to, go ahead and use fresh basil, or whatever herb, by all means! Then, place some slices of the cheese around the pizza (or grated, if you want). Add a little glug of olive oil, if you feel like saluting Jamie and Gennaro, and place in the oven, bake 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and top is golden-brown. Cut into slices any which way you want, e mangiare!
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So, that is what you get for today, i miei bambini! megohm, over and out! Alla prossima!

 

Hooked on the Sauce January 7, 2011

Admittedly, yes, I have become a pasta addict in recent days. I broke the chain last night with some boss-commissioned borscht, but other than that, almost a week of pasta errrrr’ night. You would think it would become monotonous very quickly, but no! I assure you, I now consider pasta essential to life, and/or daily maintenance. Let it be known: This week, we (two people!) consumed enough pasta to make three 900g bags disappear, plus a few other smaller, partly-gone packages. Our supplies were replenished yesterday, but there was a point where the pasta had to be homemade, and I’m very glad it did get to that point. In my vacation boredom, I decided to make some homemade pasta dough (1 c. flour, 2 lrg eggs, mix and knead for 8 minutes). Then, the old-school, hand-crank pasta machine. Easier said than done, but excellent results. Although, Jon insisted on 4 foot fettuccine noodles the next night, and, well, tapeworms, you know, I’m not gonna go there. But I really want to.
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So, now that your appetites are good and roused, thanks to my parasitic rambling (SORRY), let’s whet it some more with a delicious tomato sauce recipe, fit for a mafia boss, inexpensive enough to feed  savages like Yon and I. Also, it is quick, quick, quick! Veloce! You can heighten the swank of this, by all means, but substituting pancetta or even prosciutto for bacon (although pork cheek is also a pretty traditional choice, one I cannot wait to try). For the olives, I suppooooose, if you’re one of THOSE kinds of people, you could leave them out entirely, adjust salt as you like. However, I believe them to be an integral part of this sauce. Please use only high-grade olives, not those watery rings from a can. They look like tortured Froot Loops. Please. Do not. Otherwise, this is my bastardized version of “Sugo All’Amatriciana.” Sorry, Italy.
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Pauper’s Sauce
(tomato sauce with bacon and black olives)
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Ingredients
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6 oz bacon
2 cloves minced garlic
8 oz tomato paste (I used about a can and a half of those little 5 oz-ish cans)
1 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp basil
pinch sugar
½ cup black olives (whole, remove pits and coarsely chopped)
salt at own discretion
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Method
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In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, fry bacon until slightly crisp, and pour off all fat, save 2 Tbsp. Add garlic, stir to cook until fragrant. Add water to deglaze (scraping off the browned bits at the bottom of the pan), then stir in tomato paste until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients, except black olives, and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Then, stir in olives, cook another 3-5 minutes, and serve. Check to see, but I can almost guarantee it will hold it’s own already in the salt department, but IF, IF, you have a smoker’s tongue and need more, I will not judge you. But seriously, be wary. Bacon and olives are salt weapons.
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And now, more adventures in pasta-land! Cue Louis Prima music.
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Pasta station!
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Round 1: Pappardelle!
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Round 2: I experiment with fettuccine/spaghetti(ni) setting on pasta machine
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Pappardelle in it’s fully glory – I zazzed it up with some toasted walnuts, garlic, basil oil, and homemade ricotta (we ran out of Romano cheese, and I had to make my own cheese too… Sobeys, you are too far away)
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Pretty Jon and his fettuccine.
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A better view.
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Okay, that is all for now, I hope you have enjoyed my pasta tour. Now, I must slink off to wake up Jon and preggo houseguest.
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P.S. Okay, but also, I just remembered… Whoever searched my blog for “Porno Jon Dough,” bless your heart. Hahahaha. Excellent. I might also let the other person who wanted to know about salt pork, I do not soak it. I retain all saltiness for tongue enjoyment.
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“King Henry Chicken,” “Oiled up chicka,” “Tony Starch Mr. Potato Head Spanish,” I don’t even know what to say. “Super sad dried sausage from Italy,” I think you’re looking for Capicola. … “Bourbon muffin,” you intrigue me.
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Arrivederci, babies.
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