WOW! All I can say is wow! Tonight was one of those nights where I managed to pull together three new recipes and end up with a fabulous dinner we all loved.
My friend, San, was making ravioli's the other night and it was a recipe from a cooking forum we used to chit chat at from time to time, actually a lot of the time. I ended up with a huge "to try" folder of recipes from there. Two recipes from tonight have been on that list for years. Shaved Fennel, Mushroom and Parmesan Salad, and Ravioli with Prosciutto, Spinach and Cheese. Both had been posted over and over again to great reviews. Fennel? Anise? I wasn't too sure anyone here would like it. and homemade ravioli made with won ton wrappers? Would be so much easier to just call for takeout!
But San had been raving about both recipes, and I figured it was now or never. I had been wanting to make these two recipes for a very long time.
The fennel salad was delicious, and it surprised me that we liked the fennel as much as we did. Won ton ravioli seemed easy enough. Didn't need a pasta machine or anything. Ok, you can't be too much of a klutz though because those little wrappers can tear. Be gentle when you peel them apart. That wasn't too difficult. So I wasted the first five or six. Maybe ten. Finally got the hang of that. Sharon said to fold over. My ravioli would be really small and I had trouble with them tearing, so I decided to use two won ton wrappers for each ravioli. Lay one flat, drop a teaspoon filling, brush a little water (those teeny, tiny silicone Le Creuset brushes are great for this. and they come in pretty colors!) around the edges, and put another wrapper on top. Press the edges closed. Voila! Ravioli! It was easy by the 20th one!
Getting them out of the pot was another story. A little slippery, a little delicate to get out of the pot, and some stuck together. NONE OPENED. That was pretty good. Impressive. The pot also did not boil over, another issue I usually have. I ended up just pouring them into a colander.
A little messy. Some stuck, none opened. Not a bad thing. two for two with the recipes tonight. They were so good. Definitely this is a keeper recipe. The filling was delicious! I made a roasted red pepper sauce to go with it. Definitely making this again. And soon! Thanks to Sharon for a fabulous recipe and San for recommending it so highly or I never would have tried.
Shaved Fennel, Mushroom, and Parmesan Salad
Source: posted Gardenweb by MQmoi, recipe by Alice Waters (Chez Panisse)
fennel (sliced thin)
fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
very thinly sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
Cut off the feathery tops of the fennel at the base of their stalks and remove the outer layer of the bulbs. Slice the bulbs very thin with a mandolin or a very sharp knife.
Assemble the salad in layers on a large platter or on individual salad plates.
First make a layer of the fennel slices. Squeeze lemon juice evenly over the fennel and drizzle with fruity olive oil, salt and pepper. Then make a layer of the mushrooms, also sliced very thin. Squeeze more lemon juice over them, drizzle evenly with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grate or cut thin shavings of the Parmesan with cheese slicer or a vegetable peeler and arrange them on top of the salad. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.
Other options are artichokes and balsamic vinegar. If you don't like the raw mushrooms, you can also saute them.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1 jar roasted red peppers (small jar)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
splash of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pour the jar of peppers, and the garlic in a food processor or blender and puree to desired consistency. We like a smooth sauce. Pour the puree into a saucepan, add the tomato paste, a little drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and a small splash of white wine. Stir to combine the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cream, and simmer a minute or so more.
Ravioli (Prosciutto, Spinach and Cheese)
Source: Sharon (Chase) - Cooking Forum@Gardenweb
1/2 cup, prosciutto diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced (green onions would do fine)
1 cup ricotta
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup Asiago, grated (optional)
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of all the liquid
1 package won ton wrappers (or fresh pasta)
Sauté the prosciutto in the oil just until softened. Add the garlic and shallot. Sauté until soft, but not browned.
In a bowl combine ricotta, Parmesan, Asiago, egg, spinach, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add prosciutto mixture.
Separate won ton wrappers. Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling on each won ton wrapper. Wet the edges, fold it over and seal well.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add ravioli's and boil just until they rise to the top. Reduce heat, cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.