Monday, October 22, 2007

Recipe- Ravioli Caprese

Sometimes I'm too ambitious, especially since I do get very upset if a dish doesn't turn out right. NH watches me with amusement and a little annoyance when things aren't going right in the kitchen. I can develop a pretty fatalistic attitude (it's not going to be edible, it's not worth it, we should get the phone to be ready to order takeout, etc). Sunday night was one of these nights, but fortunately it had one of the better endings.

I was home early on Friday evening and caught a newish episode of 'Everyday Italian' on the Food Network. Each dish was inspired by a different island Giada has visited in Italy- Capri, Sicily, and Sardinia. The first item on the menu was 'Ravioli Caprese,' from Capri. Immediately I was paying attention- Capri is pretty high on my list of places I'd just die to go to. Then, she started the dough.
This dough is just flour and water- just flour and water! Usually there is some kind of binder like egg in dough, so this intrigued me. I'd say I've recently hit intermediate level with dough, and I knew this was something different and interesting. The filling she made- chicken, ricotta, and basil- sounded yummy, as did the sauce- olive oil, lemon zest, and more basil. Yum! Always more basil, can't have enough.

Right away I decided I was going to make them Sunday night- I wouldn't be home to make dinner until then. NH would help me and we would make dinner together in a nice romantic way.
I searched several stores for a ravioli stamp and had no luck. I figured I'd use a stainless steel measuring cup until I realized the handle would be in the way. Without getting too nitty-gritty, in the end we used a champagne flute to stamp out the dough- yes! It actually worked out fairly well, that bit at least.

Ravioli Caprese
adapted from recipe by Giada de Laurentiis

2 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup very hot water

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta
1 egg
1/2 cup finely shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup shredded Fontina, Parmesan, and Asiago
2 Tablespoons finely chopped Basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh Basil, chopped
2 teaspoons grated Lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Dough: In a large bowl, combine flour and water. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon, into a large ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
Filling: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

Cut the dough into 4 evenly sized pieces (the dough will be sticky!). Add extra flour as necessary for rolling but use only a little as needed. For each piece into a 2 x 6 inch rectangle. Recover the dough with plastic wrap.
Lightly dust the work surface and a rolling pin working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 4 x 19 inch rectangle, approximately. Place 9 rounded Tablespoons about 1 inch apart down the center of the dough. Flip the dough over the filling. Press down around the edges again with your fingertips to seal. Place the finished ravioli on wax paper and continue with the remaining dough and filling.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add half the ravioli and cook, stirring occasionally, until they float to the surface, 3-4 minutes. Drain into a serving bowl and cook the remaining ravioli.

Pour the olive oil over the cooked ravioli. Add the basil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Gently toss to coat and serve immediately.

NH did a great job preparing the filling, and I made the dough. It was more difficult to work with than I thought it would be. Very sticky for starters. Next I made the mistake of not rereading the recipe and where I should have divided the dough to start with I did not, so it was probably a little overworked. As we were stamping the ravioli out some had difficulty sealing the filling in and it poked out; both of us figured at least some of them would fall apart. But as you can see, they hung together! My trouble with the dough caused us to have fewer ravioli than the recipe should have made, but we ate them all! Each was supposed to be pillow-light; a few were but there were some that I could tell were heavier than they should have been. Next time I'll work on the dough more and learn from this experience.

We froze the remaining filling that we didn't use, so I can't wait to make another batch!

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