I Need A Nonna, But First... - Learning To Cook Blog at Allrecipes.com - 303501

Learning To Cook

I Need A Nonna, But First... 
May 28, 2013 8:51 pm 
Updated: Jul. 6, 2013 12:16 pm
... my mouf hurts!
There! I had to get the whine and whimper out of the way. I had surgery to remove a cyst from the hard palate in my mouth. I keep trying to eat harder or crunchy foods. That's a really bad plan when the roof of your mouth is held on by threads.
This morning I decided after I ran a bunch of errands that I should try my hand at making raviolis. I had the idea to make two different kinds because I had pumpkin that I wanted to get out of my freezer from last year, and I had two turkey breasts pretending to be chicken breasts lurking in my refrigerator.
For the pumpkin filling I cooked the pumpkin down further to get rid of a lot of extra moisture. Then I added in browned butter, caramelized onions and sage and thyme. I also added about a cup of heavy cream. I kept cooking this down for about an hour. It helped, but was still very loose. I added in ricotta, chevre, asiago, parmesan and mozzarella hoping to thicken up the filling. It was still loose, but I couldn't think of anything else to add to stiffen it up. The heart breaker was that I had to add a couple of beaten eggs.
For the chicken and spinach filling I caramelized some more onions in butter, and also used more sage and thyme for aromatics. Then I added two very large half breasts which I had chopped pretty fine. Once that cooked down I blended the meat and onion mixture with some chicken stock and cream. Darn near burned out my blender too! To this I added chevre, asiago and mozzarella as well as two beaten eggs. I also seasoned with salt and white pepper, which I forgot to mention in the above description of the pumpkin filling.
The pasta was made with 1.5 cups of semolina and 1.5 cups of AP flour, one teaspoon of salt, four eggs and two tablespoons of olive oil. I used my pasta maker to roll out the pasta into sheets. I started the rolling on the thickest setting and got the sheet squared up and then started to reduce the thickness by one setting each go through until I was on the number three setting. That's not paper thin, but you can sort of see through it.
I wish I had a better way of forming the raviolis. I just painted egg wash over the whole sheet, put a bit of filling on one half of the sheet and then folded over. Then I would crimp it all down as best I could. I tried to squeeze out as much air as I could, but the raviolis had a lot of air in them. Happily, when I boiled a test batch, they held together.
That test batch turned out darned good, but not perfection. I might have boiled the little, delicious pillows of culinary goodness a bit less than I should have. They were a bit tough. I sauced them with a chicken stock white wine reduction with sage, thyme, heavy cream and butter. Good stuff, though a touch thin.
So there you have it. It was my first adventure in making ravioli, and I most decidedly need a nonna to teach me the right way.
May 29, 2013 3:26 am
Good morning Doc. Did you cut you raviolis with a pizza cutter? Glad you had success with your ravioli making. We made all sorts of pasta growing up, nice to experiment isn't it? Hope your mouth feels better. Have a great day.
May 29, 2013 4:24 am
There's definitely an art to making pasta. I'm still trying to master it. Yikes, on the your poor mouth. Hope it heals quickly!
May 29, 2013 4:33 am
Well the raviolis sound out of this world. I have no pasta maker so I just roll mine out. Still working on getting the pasta thin enough.Soft ravioli a much better choice for your mouth. Heal quickly.
May 29, 2013 10:57 am
Gosh your mouth sounds sore! I do hope it heals quickly. I buy hand made ravioli at the Farmers Market and they always have a bit of air around the filling. Using the brown butter and sage in the filling is new to me. I have only ever seen it used over the ravioli. Man, now I want some! Feel better soon.
May 29, 2013 11:24 am
Oh, sounds painful, Doc. Take care of that mouth!
May 29, 2013 12:39 pm
First, to all of the "sore mouth" comments, thank you so much for your support. I may have to go to the surgeon and whine at him. The roof of my mouth is puffing up, and I feel odd. Kind of like I am not quite with it. More not with it than normal.
May 29, 2013 12:45 pm
Thanks also for all of the ravioli comments as well. Making pasta is an experiential thing. If you don't experience pasta in its correct form, you won't know when you've hit it right yourself. I really do need a Nonna, but for now, I'll just enjoy making it my way. The fillings were so good and tasty, but I didn't have a recipe and I think I made about a gallon of each filling! I think I may end up making a bunch of stuffed shells dinners for the church freezer. It's better to feed people that need to be fed than to throw out a lot of good food. The pumpkin filling is clearly my favorite for flavor and least favorite for using as a filling. It's too wet. Brown butter and sage rocks!
May 29, 2013 6:33 pm
Doc-I was wondering what happened to you. I hope you get better soon. Making pasta, especially ravioli is something I want to do and I have my wish list for some kind of ravioli maker. Now, if you visit the Amazon page-there are so many choices. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ravioli+maker That is where I can't make up my mind. Or you can just find an Italian Nonna.
May 29, 2013 8:12 pm
I have never ventured into the pasta making arena. I applaud your efforts. So sorry about your mouth injury/ surgery. I hope you feel with it again soon.
May 30, 2013 6:00 am
Doc, I hope that is nothing serious going on. Here's hoping your surgeon has good news for you. ... In my pasta demo post there was a paragraph about ravioli forming. It made ravioli forming simple. My DIL has a pasta machine for her Kitchen Aid but it works best with two people. It does make a decorative ravioli but it is less than bite size, which would be good for a salad- but as a plate item...? I would use it in salad or soup. Get better!
May 31, 2013 9:30 am
Lela, I am doing a bit better today. I am ordering two sizes of ravioli press and a gnocchi board. I made some gnudi from the chicken and spinach filling I had left over because it was fairly soft and easy to eat. Good luck with your ravioli!
May 31, 2013 9:31 am
Sherilynn, thanks for your kindness!
May 31, 2013 9:38 am
Mike, the surgeon has assured me that this cyst is unlikely to be cancerous. I am thankful for that! I think the biggest problem so far has been me. I ate some of those delicious crunchy noodles with my hot and sour soup. Bad mistake given that the roof of my mouth is held on by threads.
Jun. 1, 2013 7:58 am
Ouch! Mouth pain is awful! I certainly hope nothing is seriously wrong. Take care Doc! Have a restful weekend.
Jun. 1, 2013 10:35 am
doc, you had my toes curling for 2 different reasons...1st, your mouth ( wow!) and of course your pasta making ( love italian!). stay strong and mend soon!
Jun. 1, 2013 3:47 pm
That is very funny. My Mother named me Nonna but she got the name from a book about an indian princess. Later we found something that seemed to indicate it was the name of an indian godess of rain, this original information was lost to us and I haven't done any research to see if there is even a shred of fact in the story. As a young person I sure wasn't happy to be told my name meant "Grandmother" but now I am happy no matter the meaning. Sorry I know nothing at all about making ravioli.
Jun. 1, 2013 5:23 pm
My Nonna was invaluable to me as an inspiration to cook. I have her recipe for ravioli which I make for holidays. It sounds like you've rolled the dough out into sheets, right? So get yourself a ravioli rolling pin at any good cookware store. Get a cardboard cylinder from an art supply or somewhere else, just so it's clean. Split your dough in half and roll out one sheet, then cover the sheet with wax paper and roll the dough up onto ad around the cardboard cylinder and set it aside. Roll out your second dough and spread your filling over that sheet. Then take the first sheet that you set aside and roll it back over the first one. Use a ravioli rolling pin to make the indentations in the constructed dough. Cut them up with a cutter that will both seal and cut (another item you can find at a good cooking store). Freeze them in tubs separated by wax paper. Remove the portion you want to cook from the freezer when you need them and boil. You know the rest. Buon Appetito and sorry about the mouth problem. Hope your feeling better.
Jun. 2, 2013 11:15 am
First, Doc, I have to say that I am quite impressed with your efforts! When I was growing up, Italian food in our family was limited to Chef Boyardi! Second, since my "mammaw" probably never heard of ravioli, and would have been no help at all, she would have been able to whip up some fried chicken and cole slaw to beat the band, followed by "scratch" banana pudding or deep dish apple pie. I have her recipe for banana pudding, but it's not the same!
Jul. 6, 2013 12:16 pm
twain-harte needs to be taken seriously. I've tried many systems in the past 55 yrs since I married . All the gimmick ravioli pans etc DON'T work. \, a ravioli rolling pin to mark the top sheet and a seriated pie/pizza crust cutter to blend the top and bottom together after filing does. twain-ha
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Doc Simonson

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
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Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
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Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
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There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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