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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Real Italian Night

Wow, I have really been out of touch with my blog for the past few months.  I missed you! Nice to see you again.  It was just that the holidays were so busy!  I wanted to write about holiday food and celebrations, but the chance to sit down and type just never happened.  So here I am, finishing a post that I started back in September, when I went to visit friends who were just off a trip to Italy.  Here we go...

My dear friends, Courtney and Charlie had the amazing opportunity to attend a cooking class in Tuscany.  You know I was all over that!  I got them to share with me, the lessons from the class.  I also insisted we cook one of the recipes they learned on!

Homemade Ravioli Pasta with Cheese Filling
and Brown Butter Sage Sauce

It was coincidental that our task for the night was to make our own pasta.  I watched the episode of the Netflix show, "Chef's Table", that was about Massimo Bottura.  He is an Italian chef, obviously.  He is shown making his own pasta.  He talks about watching his grandmother make it, as a child.  I found that show so interesting and inspiring.  I had been looking for an occasion to attempt pasta-making.

When making your own pasta, you start by forming a bowl out of the flour and beating the eggs inside of the bowl.  This way, the flour gradually gets incorporated into the eggs.  And yes, we just did this right on the (clean) countertop.
That looks like some exciting egg incorporation! Ha!
Once the dough was ready, we ran it through a pasta press.  It was fun!  Something about the process is just rewarding.
It's ready to place the filling, cover with another strip of dough, and cut into raviolis. 
Here are the finished raviolis, ready to cook.

And finally, here's the recipe...straight from a Tuscan cooking school!  You're welcome! 

 Was there an original recipe for Real Italian night? might ask.  Well yes.  I did create one.  For a side dish, I couldn't decide if I wanted to do Bruschetta and Crostini or Caprese Salad.  So I didn't decide, I did both!

Capre-schetta with Crostini
3-4 Roma Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (as much as you want)
Handful of Fresh Basil
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt to taste
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
Juice of half a Lemon
1 Baguette
Butter or Olive Oil to spread on the bread
Chop the Tomatoes, Cheese and Basil and toss together in a bowl with the Olive Oil, Vinegar and next three ingredients.  Set aside to allow flavors to blend.  Slice the baguette into thin slices.  Spread with butter or Olive Oil and toast under a low broiler until golden.  Flip and brown the other side.  This won't take long, so just stay nearby.

So if you're looking for a unique dinner party idea, this is a great one!  Get your friends in on the fun and make your own pasta!  You will feel so accomplished and so...Italian!