I have a confession: I love Scrabble. Nathan and I play all the time (or at least 2-3 times per week). If I’ve had a long day at work Nathan knows that simply asking, “would you like to play a game of Scrabble, babe?” will turn my mood around. Because of my passion for word games I have developed some skill and routinely beat Nathan by approximately 100 points. Nathan exhibits a truly heroic level of sportsmanship by continuing to play with me even after a 25-30 game losing streak. He’ll even congratulate me on high-scoring words and high-five me when I beat my own high scores ( I know ladies…I’m a lucky girl.)
This past Thursday evening, Nathan and I played a game of Scrabble before dinner and the unthinkable happened… Nathan beat me. Fair and square and without me letting him win. Nathan went into a series of whoops and victory dances that lasted until he was happily tucked into bed dreaming of beating me at Scrabble.
Nathan and I often chat over the scrabble board what we’re going to prepare for the blog that weekend and it was on the Thursday night that Nathan beat me at Scrabble that he had the idea of making this ravioli. We know we just made an Italian dish last week but we had an abundance of basil begging to be made into pesto and ravioli seemed like the perfect accompaniment. We stuffed our fresh ravioli with goat cheese, ricotta, parmesan, sauteed onion and garlic. The pesto was delicious but had one problem…it looked gross and was more brown than green (maybe adding some lemon juice would have helped?) Besides its looks this dish is delicious and worth the time it takes to prepare the different components. Even though I will always associate this recipe with my great Scrabble loss of 2012, this meal is a win!
Nathan chose this wine without me and he did a great job! This italian wine has hints of kiwi, honeydew and green apple and the fresh, tart brightness of the wine was a refreshing complement to the rich tang of the goat cheese. When we first tasted the wine we thought that it would be overpowered by the ravioli and pesto but it ended up being crisp and flavorful enough to simply heighten the flavors of the meal. And Nathan got the bottle of wine one sale!
Katryn was concerned for me when I first took a taste of beer. The perplexed look on my face must have been comical because she asked me if I was doing alright. My brain was busy trying to sort out all the flavors and aromas in this beer and I think it may have temporarily frozen and done an emergency restart. Initially, the aroma has notes of citrus, yeast, and must or earth. The body is a bit heavier than most saisons but that isn’t surprising with all the different flavors you get from sipping it. There were tastes of ester, yeast, the same musty/earthy flavor (I don’t know how to put my finger on that one), citrus, apple, and the malt flavors were something like a fig and date… While all that may sound like a lot they were subtle and somehow managed to balance each other pretty well. It also helped that the beer was highly carbonated so that while there were a lot of flavors and body to the beer it washed down pretty easily. This beer is so complex that it could probably be paired with a lot of different dishes and be successful but I think it may be best to savor the unique taste by itself.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
To make the pasta dough: In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook*, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
Cut the ball of dough in 1/2, cover and reserve the piece you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at widest setting. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue tightening until the machine is at the narrowest setting; the dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick (you should be able to see your hand through it.). Dust the sheets of dough with flour as needed.
Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Dust the counter and sheet of dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta, and brush the top surface with the egg wash, which acts as a glue. Drop tablespoons of your favorite filling on 1/2 of the pasta sheet, about 2-inches apart. Fold the other 1/2 over the filling like a blanket. With your fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling. Use a sharp knife to cut each pillow into squares and crimp the 4 edges with the tines of a fork to make a tight seal. Dust the ravioli and a sheet pan with cornmeal to prevent the pasta from sticking and lay them out to dry slightly while assembling the rest.
Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 4 minutes; they’ll float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon.
1 Tbs. olive oil
5 ounces fresh goat cheese
5 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
⅓ cup parmesan cheese
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press
Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until onions are soft and translucent. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together goat cheese, ricotta and parmesan until smooth; add sauteed onion and garlic and mix well. Season filling with salt and pepper, to taste.
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil
½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts or walnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. If pesto is too thick add some water to loosen it to a sauce-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper.