Hand Pounded Pesto with Pecorino

May 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Pesto, simply translated means pounded. It is one of the Lingurian regions most prized ingredients and traditionally hand pounded. Today many use food processors or blenders but you can still find devoted traditionalists who hand pound it proving that the taste is still superior with this method due to the increase of released essential oils from not only the basil but the garlic and pine nuts as well. The oils are more readily released when pounded versus cut or chopped. Traditionally a large wooden pestle is used and a marble or granite mortar for the pounding process. (They say the granite on many of the mortars still around is the same granite that Michael Angelo used to carve and sculpt with)

Ingredients

Coarse salt
Garlic (they say the garlic in this region is sweeter as well due to the ocean air influence)
Genovese basil leaves-small deep green and sweet leaves, not too pungent and always young
Pine nuts-from the Lingurian region as well, they claim the taste is sweeter and nuttier and also has a higher oil content than pine nuts in the east or south
Extra virgin olive oil-of course with the local region’s olives which have a milder sweeter flavor than other Italian olive oil
Pecorino, grated finely and sliced
Parmesan Reggiano, grated finely

Baguette

Directions

There are several different paths to get to the final product. We have read about and seen many different ways but the way in which we say most was the following method and order.

The pesto is pounded slowly, first by combining the garlic with the coarse salt until a paste if formed adding a little bit of salt at a time. Next the leaves of the basil are added which are small on the Genovese plant and thus a few at a time are incorporated little by little pounding and mashing until the paste begins to turn green and the basil is broken apart. Pine nuts are added next again crushing and pounding until they are smashed into a paste and all oils are released. The pounding process is slow and methodical and each step has a finished product before moving on to the next step. The extra virgin olive oil is added next and once the cheeses are added no more pounding can be done so when the olive oil stage comes the desired consistency of the paste must be completed before adding cheese. Add the cheese and stir with the pestle.

Slice the baguette and toast in the oven. Spread pesto on toasts and top with sliced pecorino.

Hand Pounded Pesto

August 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Pesto, simply translated means pounded. It is one of the Lingurian regions most prized ingredients and traditionally hand pounded. Today many use food processors or blenders but you can still find devoted traditionalists who hand pound it proving that the taste is still superior with this method due to the increase of released essential oils from not only the basil but the garlic and pine nuts as well. The oils are more readily released when pounded versus cut or chopped. Traditionally a large wooden pestle is used and a marble or granite mortar for the pounding process. (They say the granite on many of the mortars still around is the same granite that Michael Angelo used to carve and sculpt with)

Ingredients

Coarse salt
Garlic (they say the garlic in this region is sweeter as well due to the ocean air influence)
Genovese basil leaves-small deep green and sweet leaves, not too pungent and always young
Pine nuts-from the Lingurian region as well, they claim the taste is sweeter and nuttier and also has a higher oil content than pine nuts in the east or south
Extra virgin olive oil-of course with the local region’s olives which have a milder sweeter flavor than other Italian olive oil
Pecorino, grated finely
Parmesan Reggiano, grated finely

Directions

There are several different paths to get to the final product. We have read about and seen many different ways but the way in which we say most was the following method and order.

The pesto is pounded slowly, first by combining the garlic with the coarse salt until a paste if formed adding a little bit of salt at a time. Next the leaves of the basil are added which are small on the Genovese plant and thus a few at a time are incorporated little by little pounding and mashing until the paste begins to turn green and the basil is broken apart. Pine nuts are added next again crushing and pounding until they are smashed into a paste and all oils are released. The pounding process is slow and methodical and each step has a finished product before moving on to the next step. The extra virgin olive oil is added next and once the cheeses are added no more pounding can be done so when the olive oil stage comes the desired consistency of the paste must be completed before adding cheese. Add the cheese and stir with the pestle.

Fresh Herb Pappardelle with Summer Beans, Tomatoes & Fresh Herbs

August 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

Ingredients

¼ cup each basil, parsley, mint, tarragon, marjoram, chopped
Plus an additional 1 tablespoon of each for the sprinkle
Olive oil
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups fresh summer shelling beans, shelled and cooked until tender
1 small fennel bulb sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (plus 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (plus 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Fresh Herb Pasta sheets cut into pappardelle
Salt/pepper
Pecorino cheese for garnish

Directions

Mix pecorino, lemon zest and ¼ fresh herbs together and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes, sauté for a few minutes. Add the shelled beans and cook for a few minutes. Add fresh herbs and fennel and sauté a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and cook another few minutes. Add wine; simmer 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits. Continue to cook until tomatoes soften, about 3-5 minutes, add lemon juice at the end and mix well. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Cook Fresh pappardelle in boiling water until desired consistency (about 3 minutes) and mix together with sauce and serve garnished with pecorino and fresh herbs.

Ramp & Wild Mushroom Crostini

April 26th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 15-20 crostinis

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
9-10 ramps, cleaned and trimmed, chopped fine
1 cup fresh morel mushrooms or other wild mushrooms, cleaned and chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Baguette bread sliced thin and lightly toasted
Pecorino cheese, shavings for garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil and butter on medium high, add the garlic and sauté a few minutes, then add the ramps and sauté another minute or so. Add the morels, herbs and wine, cook another minute and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Place a spoon full on a crostini and garnish with pecorino shavings.

Fava Bean Salad with Lemon, Mint and Pecorino Shavings

April 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

3 pounds fava beans
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced thin
3 cups arugula
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

For the pecorino lemon zest

¼ cup fresh mint
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup pecorino, freshly grated
1 tablespoon black pepper, cracked

DIRECTIONS

Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.

To prep and cook fava beans, pull on the stem of the pod and pull to open. If a pod doesn’t open easily, use a paring knife and slit the bean pod open, exposing the spongy insides and the beans. Remove the beans and discard the pods. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the beans for 2 minutes. Remove the beans with a slotted spoon immediately plunge into prepared bowl of ice water. With your fingers, and helped with the tip of a paring knife is necessary, slip the outer skin off each bean, revealing the inner bright green fava. Discard the outer skin.

In a medium size bowl, combine fava beans, red onion, arugula and mint. In a separate small bowl combine lemon juice and zest and olive oil. Drizzle over salad, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve with pecorino lemon zest.

For the pecorino lemon zest

In a small mixing bowl combine the ingredients and mix well, adding more cracked black pepper and lemon zest according to preference.

Pea & Mint Tortellini in Herbed Brodo

April 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For the spring pea and mint tortellini

Olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
1 cup fresh peas, steamed soft and mashed
2 teaspoons lemon zest ¼ cup grated pecorino
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh pasta sheets

For the herbed brodo

1 (¼ pound) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano
6 cups chicken stock
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh mint
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt

DIRECTIONS

For the spring pea and mint tortellini

Mix and mash all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until all ingredients are well incorporated and smooth. Using fresh pasta sheets cut into about 2 square inches, add 1 dollop of filling. Cover with another 2-inch pasta square. Using wet fingers, seal all sides of ravioli by pinching down, making sure the raviolis are sealed well.

For the herbed brodo

Combine rind, stock, garlic, parsley and mint (tied together with twine), and oil in a 3-quart pot, then simmer gently, partially covered, 30 minutes. Discard parsley and rind and season broth with salt.

Add tortellini and simmer, partially covered, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Divide among 6 soup plates, and then shave cheese over soup to taste.

Spinach & Three Cheese Ravioli (kid friendly)

April 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup fresh spinach juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup parmesan, grated fine
½ cup pecorino Romano, grated fine
¼ cup ricotta cheese
Butter

Directions

Mound flour on a work surface, preferably wooden, and make a well in center. Add egg, spinach juice and salt. With a fork, gently beat eggs and water until combined. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a paste, pulling in flour closest to egg mixture and being careful not to make an opening in outer wall of well. Knead remaining flour into mixture with your hands to form dough, adding more water drop by drop if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Roll pasta:

Divide dough into 8 pieces, then flatten each piece into a rough rectangle and over rectangles with an inverted large bowl. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting. Follow directions on pasta maker to roll out into flat sheets.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the three cheeses and mix well. To assemble ravioli cut the fresh pasta sheets cut into about 2 square inches, add 1 dollop of filling. Cover with another 2 inch pasta square. Using wet fingers seal all sides of ravioli by pinching down. Place raviolis in a large pot of salted boiling water. Boil for about 3 minutes, or until floating.

Strain and dollup with butter.

Nissa’s Lasagna

April 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes one large lasagna

Ingredients

Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 medium yellow, onions, chopped small
2 medium carrots, chopped small
2 medium green zucchini, chopped small
1 cup broccoli florets, cut super small
4 medium tomatoes, chopped small
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
¼ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup red wine
Salt/pepper
Lasagna noodles (cooked or fresh)
4 cups fresh spinach
1 ½ cups feta cheese, crumbled
1 ½ cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 cups fresh mozzarella

Directions

In a large soup pot, over medium high heat, add oil. Cook onions and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Add the zucchini, broccoli and tomatoes and reduce heat to a medium simmer. Add the fresh herbs (making sure to reserve some for the end). Add the tomato sauce and red wine, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool a bit before assembling lasagna.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large casserole dish, place a layer of lasagna noodles (cooked or fresh) down first, then spread a little sauce over the noodle. Add a layer of fresh spinach and then a layer of sauce, followed by a little bit of each cheese. Repeat the layers until the dish is filled. The top layer should end in a noodle covered with sauce and cheese, mostly the pecorino in order to make it nice and crusty.

Place lasagna in the oven and bake for about 45-60 minutes or until the top is crusty brown. Allow the lasagna to sit and rest about 20 minutes before serving.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Porcini Cream Sauce

February 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For ravioli

¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
Fresh pasta sheets

For sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot
½ cup white wine
¾ cups reserved porcini liquid
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese, to garnish

DIRECTIONS

For ravioli

In a small bowl, place dried porcini mushrooms and pour hot water just to cover, about ¾ cups. Let sit for 20 minutes and then strain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Chop mushrooms into small pieces and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Next, add mushrooms (including chopped and reserved porcinis) and sauté until beginning to turn brown and caramelize. Season with salt and pepper and then add lemon zest and juice. Take off heat and add herbs, ricotta and pecorino cheeses and heavy cream (if using). Cool and then use to fill raviolis.

Place large pasta sheet on cutting board with the long side parallel to the edge of work surface. Place 8 heaping teaspoons of mushroom filling along the top third of the sheet about 2 inches apart. Moisten pasta around each mound of filling, using a pastry brush or your fingers dipped in water. Fold the dough up and over the filling to enclose; press around filling to seal. Cut between mounds with a plain pastry wheel, cookie cutter or knife. Transfer to floured baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Chill until ready to cook.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add about 6 ravioli per serving, and cook until tender but al dente, about 2 minutes. When ravioli are done, use a slotted spoon to remove from boiling water. Drain well, and keep warm while making sauce.

For sauce

In same sauté pan that you cooked the mushrooms in, over medium heat, add oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine to deglaze the pan, scrapping up any mushroom bits. Reduce until almost all is evaporated. Next, add porcini liquid and again, reduce by ¼. Add heavy cream and cook, 3 to 4 minutes until thick and creamy. Add fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Pour over wild mushroom raviolis and garnish with Pecorino cheese and serve.

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