Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yummy yummy yummy I've got love in my tummy...

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

I hope that all of you are having a lovely day today, whether you have plans with your special someone or not. As the old saying goes, the way to a person's heart is through his or her stomach, and I think everyone deserves to have lovingly-prepared meal today.

Even if you're cooking for yourself, or for a friend or family, maybe try something a little special or out of the ordinary. Maybe even something...heart-shaped? :-)

Today's recipe of heart-shaped ravioli has a special ingredient...Red wine!!! I think it adds a special touch to a classic dish. It actually reminds me of a delicious meal that I had once in Florence, Italy. It was a pasta dish called spaghetti all'ubriaco, which is a pasta dish cooked in red wine so that it turns purple. It sort of translates to "drunken pasta." And heck, red wine is kind of a Valentine's Day stand-by...

Prepare to spend a little time making this special dish, though you can cut down a little of the time using a pasta roller, which I did not have available. You can make just enough for a few servings if you're in a hurry though. I know it's the big day already!

Enjoy folks!

Red-wine-infused heart-shaped ravioli with dairy-free ricotta filling

Pasta dough
Revised from original recipe found on Instructables

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup red wine (see here for info on good vegan wines unless you already have some)
1 tsp oil (I like canola or sunflower, but you can use your favorite)
1/2 tsp salt

Ricotta filling
Taken from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch

1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp oil (olive or other)
2 cloves garlic (chopped will help)
1 pound crumbled firm tofu
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt


2 cloves garlic
a few Tbsp of oil
A few shakes of dried parsley, maybe 1/2 tsp?
Tomato sauce of choice

Mix all of the ingredients for the pasta dough in a bowl (using a fork helps), and then turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Let the dough rest on the counter for 10 mins.

Blend all of the ingredients for the ricotta (except the tofu) in a food processor or blender. Add the tofu and process until smooth. Or, throw everything in at once like I did. No biggie. I had no problems.

Cut the pasta dough into eighths, then roll each of the pieces out on a floured surface using a rolling pin. Keep the pieces you are not currently working with under an overturned mixing bowl, or at least under a slightly dampened towel so that they don't dry out. You'll want to roll out the dough a little, then flip it over, and roll a little more, and continue this process until the dough is about as thin as a tortilla, maybe a little thinner.

Use a cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes (or another shape of your choosing) from the pasta dough. Try to cut the shapes out as closely as possible to each other because that way you won't have to re-roll the dough too often. If you have a pasta roller, you might save yourself some time here in the re-rolling.

Press a small dollop of the ricotta filling onto half of the heart shapes. Think of maybe the volume of a cooked kidney bean. That's about the amount of ricotta you'll want to put in your ravioli. Use your finger or a small brush and some water to wet the edges of the ravioli hearts with the ricotta on them. Press a cheese-free heart shape on top, taking care to press around the edges a little, and press out excess air that could become trapped around the "cheese". Extra air could make your raviolis pop open when they are cooked. Lastly, use a fork to make little crimp marks around the edges of your ravioli to seal them and to make them look nice.

Place all of your finished raviolis on a plate with some waxed paper on it. Before you add a new layer of ravioli to the plate, remember to put another layer of waxed paper down first so the raviolis won't stick.

When you're done, put some water on to boil. Boil the raviolis until they float to the surface of the water, and then drain them. You'll want to stir a little just after you drop the pasta in the water, just to make sure they don't stick to the bottom. Remember, fresh pasta cooks much more quickly than the dried stuff, so keep an eye on your pasta pot. It will probably take 5 minutes or less for the raviolis to cook.

While the raviolis are boiling, put a few tablespoons of oil in a small pan and turn the heat on medium. Mince 2 cloves of garlic (or use a garlic press) and add the garlic to the oil. Cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic. Mix in your dried parsley towards the end of this process.

Once the raviolis have been drained, put them back in the pot, add a few spoonfuls of the garlic oil (to your preference of course) and coat the raviolis with the oil by carefully stirring with a plastic or wooden spoon.

Serve your raviolis with the sauce of your choice, preferably on some pretty plates.

I hope that you have a wonderful meal and wonderful company this Valentine's Day, and happy cooking!

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