marinara and stuffed ravioli

today felt like a pasta kind of day. i made ricotta yesterday and wanted to make a yummy pasta to go with it. i’ve divided the ingredients and steps out between the marinara and the ravioli in case you just want to use the marinara sauce for another pasta dish. it’s delicious! here we go!

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ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, sliced and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • white wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1- 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1- 28oz can smashed tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • handful of fresh basil
  • 1 pound hot italian sausage
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

steps for the marinara sauce:

  1. pour olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, salt, oregano, pepper and parsley flakes. cook for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. IMG_3704
  2. add the tomato paste and stir until it is combined and turn up the heat to medium high. the tomato paste will give the sauce a rich color and taste.  let it heat up for 2 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and deglaze with about a 1/4 cup of white wine. make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to pull up the flavor from the pan. the alcohol in the wine allows you to pick up those flavors that would otherwise be stuck to the pan. yum!
  3. after stirring the white wine into the mixture, move the pot back to the heat and add the smashed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce.
  4. chop and add about a half handful of fresh basil.
  5. let the sauce simmer on medium-high for about an hour. the longer you wait, the richer and thicker the sauce gets.
  6. when the sauce is almost finished, begin cooking 1 pound of hot italian sausage in a sauce pan with some red pepper flakes. when cooked thoroughly, add it to the marinara sauce. i caved last minute and added a handful of mozzarella cheese to give it a creamy texture. don’t judge me! ta-da!IMG_3719

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ingredients for the ravioli:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan
  • salt and pepper

steps for the ravioli:

  1. pour the flour on a clean surface and create a well in the center of the flour. sprinkle the salt over the flour.
  2. add 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks and the heavy cream to the center of the well. begin scrambling the eggs in the middle while gradually adding the flour in. once the flour is completely combined, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes super elastic. if the dough is too wet, add flour one teaspoon at a time. if it is a little dry, wet your hands with water and continue kneading.IMG_3707
  3. after 10 minutes of kneading, cut the dough into 4 equal parts and cover with plastic and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.IMG_3710
  4. in the meantime, combine the ricotta, parmesan, salt and pepper. then cover and refrigerate until we stuff the ravioli.IMG_3712
  5. grab a cookie sheet and pour the olive oil in it and spread it across the pan with a paper towel.
  6. create and egg wash with water and an egg and scramble.
  7. after the dough has set for 30 minutes, take one of the quarters and roll it onto the cookie sheet with a rolling pin and then cut the rectangle in half. make sure the dough is pretty thin. if it is too thick, the ravioli will be tough.
  8. take 8 dollops and evenly space them apart. top with the other half of the dough sheet and press down around the filling.IMG_3714
  9. using round biscuit cutter, pizza slicer, ravioli stamp or a knife, cut the raviolis into squares or circles. place the raviolis on the oiled cookie sheet.
  10. in a large pot, start to boil some water and cook the ravioli in small batches. the ravioli should cook for about 3 minutes and they are finished when they float to the top of the pot.

finish the dish by placing some of the ravioli into a plate and top with the marinara, some parmesan and some fresh basil.

this was a super satisfying dish and i am so happy to share it with you! happy eating!

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marinara and stuffed ravioli

italian rigatoni & spicy meatballs

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this is one of my favorite easy recipes. you can go all out and make your own marinara sauce or you can use a big short cut and buy your favorite jar of store-bought marinara and enhance.

ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup finely diced onions (optional- i didn’t use them)
  • 2 teaspoons evoo
  • 2 crushed & minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan reggiano
  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground meat (I used 1/2 pound beef, 1/2 pound veal, 1/2 pound spicy italian sausage)
  • 1 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

directions for meatballs:

  1. begin by heating up the extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan. add garlic and the onion. cook until soft.
  2. preheat oven to 350 f.
  3. mix the meats, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, salt, water and red pepper flakes.
  4. sear meatballs for a few minutes in a pan just to brown the outside.
  5. finish cooking the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes.

ingredients for assembly:

  • cooked rigatoni pasta
  • 2 table spoons of evoo
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • parmesan to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • fresh chopped italian parsley to garnish

for the assembly:

  1. cook rigatoni according to package.
  2. heat extra virgin olive oil in large sauce pan. my favorite is the le creuset “every day pan.”
  3. add crushed garlic, salt, italian seasoning and any other spices that you’d like until browned.
  4. add your favorite jar of marinara sauce and mix together.
  5. add cooked rigatoni.
  6. add mozzarella, parmesan, and meatballs. mix together.
  7. bake in oven for 2 minutes.
  8. top with italian parsley garnish and serve.

enjoy!

italian rigatoni & spicy meatballs

Cacio E Pepe

Getting home late after a long day, sometimes all I want is a simple pasta. Simple, but delicious, this dish has many dimensions. The saltiness of the pecorino and parmesan contrasts the cracked black pepper and the butter makes it super smooth to taste.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 oz pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil if you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup pecorino
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Boil 6 oz. of any type of pasta that you prefer in salty water. I prefer angel hair pasta or even capellini, but you can use whatever you prefer. You can adjust this pasta recipe to a smaller portion if you are just making for one person.
  2. Drain pasta and rinse quickly with cold water. Drop a few teaspoons of butter and let it melt down.
  3. Using a Microplane, grate a 1/3  cup each fresh parmasean and pecorino. If you only have parmesan, you can just use that as well. Pour into the pasta and toss.
  4. Add about a teaspoon or two of fresh cracked black pepper and toss. It may seem like a lot, but the pepper adds a lot of flavor and the more, the better!
  5. Ta-da!

If you’d like to make this a full meal, you can top it with pretty much anything. In the picture below, I roasted an herb coated pork tenderloin, sliced and served over the pasta and then drizzled a homemade pesto oil over it all. It was so yummy and can be used in so many different ways. Try tossing in some lemon, oil and shrimp!IMG_0632

I like to think of this as an adult version of ramen noodles. Enjoy!

Cacio E Pepe