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Good morning folks!
Thanks for joining us for another edition of Sunday Gravy. I appreciate your bearing with me over the past two weeks while I was attending family events and the like. Thanks for humoring me while I highlighted a couple of entry level recipes for you.
Yes, the egg salad recipe and the hotdish recipe were both quite tasty and very approachable but I know what most of you want to see. You want the good shit! You want to see me turn a recipe into a culinary version of “Jackass.”
Holy fucking hell folks, we are bringing the good shit today!
I know many of you folks are “gamers” so think of today’s recipe as the end of level “boss fight!” Because we are going to level you right the fuck up with this bad boy.
I am going to bring you something familiar along with something new and I am going to exhaust my stockpile of Italian recipes in the meantime.
Hell yes people, we are going Italian with a motherfucking vengeance today.
See that banner image photo? Look kind of familiar?
Yes, that was the general theme for today’s menu. The Italian flag.
It bears repeating, I have no Italian blood in my family tree, I just happen to really love Italian food and have had about 35 years of practice cooking it.
How much do I love cooking it? Let’s just go ahead and create a list of the Italian items that I’ve posted for you here on Sunday Gravy. In reverse order from most recent to first written are:
Holy shit! If you’ve been a regular reader you’ve probably learned some Italian recipe concepts just by fucking osmosis! Jesus, that’s a lotta pasta. And we ain’t done yet!
Today I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to try but had never attempted before.
How homemade? Oh fuck yes this bastard has homemade pasta, homemade marinara, homemade pesto and the filling for the ravioli? Yep. Homemade Italian sausage. Did I mention that I grew the basil for the pesto?
I’m a bad motherfucker!
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover and a whole shitload of pictures to walk you through the process so let’s get up on this pony and fucking ride! We’ll start with the sauces which can both be made the day before.
The breakdown for the pesto is in that gnocchi with pesto link but since this is really easy, provided you have a food processor of course, we’ll go over it again.
2 cups (packed) of fresh basil
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Romano would also work.
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 crushed garlic cloves.
1/3 cup of pine nuts – toasted
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Some grinds of black pepper.
Here are the ingredients in visual form in case you absorb your learning materials better that way.
That basil came straight off my balcony.Give it a rinse and put it in a food processor. Next we are going to toast some raw pine nuts until toasty and aromatic.
Let these cool slightly and then add them to the food processor with the basil. Give the processor a few pulses, scrape down the side of the processor bowl with a rubber spatula and then add in the garlic, salt and the grated cheese. Give it a couple more quick pulses, scrape down the sides of the bowl again and put the oil drizzle attachment dealie onto your food processor. We want to slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is running to create a nice smooth sauce. It should take about a minute or so of running and drizzling for the sauce to come together. It should look something like this.
Get a bowl and pour/scrape the contents of the food processor into it. Give the pesto a few grinds of black pepper and you got shit going on!
Cover the pesto with some plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Be sure to cover the very top of the pesto with the plastic wrap, think guacamole here. You want the plastic wrap to actually touch the top of the pesto. This will keep the pesto a nice vibrant green.
Holy shit, I don’t have to write the marinara recipe AGAIN do I? You know what? Start with the Mother Sauce link up there and fuck around with it a bit. Honestly though that linked recipe for the chicken parmesan? The sauce in that recipe is LITERALLY the sauce I used today. It’s the vegetarian version of the Mother Sauce. I made an extra large batch when I made the chicken parm and I froze a container of it then. All I did today was add a 15 oz can of tomato sauce a few cloves of minced garlic, some fresh basil and oregano – both from the garden – and let it simmer for another hour or two.
Let this cool and it too can be placed in the refrigerator for overnight storage because we got things to do tomorrow.
Let’s get started with the filling for the ravioli.
3/4 pounds of crumbled Italian sausage – browned. See that pizza recipe up there? I made the sausage for that and then froze some of the sausage. This is the sausage I used.
1/2 cup of grated parmagiano-reggiano cheese.
2 eggs beaten.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Get out a skillet and let’s get to browning the sausage.
Cook just until no longer pink. Don’t hard cook this shit because it will make for a dry filling. Drain the cooked sausage and let cool.
Next we’re going to add in the beaten eggs and the grated cheese to the sausage.
Give this a good mix and let it sit for awhile to allow the contents to just kind of hang out together. It will look something like this.
This is the place where I point out that you can fill your ravioli with damn near anything. Many filling recipes use ricotta cheese and seasonings, many more use chopped mushrooms, and fresh parmesan, there are butternut squash recipes and crab ravioli. Oh shit, we had an Italian place in my old town of San Pedro that made a lobster ravioli. Good Christ that was fucking delicious.
You get the idea. Since I had the homemade sausage in the freezer I used that.
You all should be familiar with the homemade semolina pasta by now. I’ve done that fucker several times and have become pretty goddamn adept at making it.
This is one of the things I’m trying to impart by giving you some of the more challenging recipes. Once you’ve done ANYTHING a few times it will just get easier each time. Your confidence grows with every iteration and if there is one lesson I want you all to learn it’s don’t be afraid in the kitchen, don’t panic. Be fucking fearless!
Yep, this is the same as several of the recipes up above where fresh pasta was made. The linked fettuccine alfredo recipe gives the full blow by blow if you want but here are the ingredients again.
Semolina flour, eggs, and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and water. Mix.
Remember the kneading thing? Critical for texture. Knead this shit for a full 10 minutes. It’s going to be a workout and the process will feel a lot longer than you think. After the ten minutes of kneading you’ve got your ball-o-dough.
Cover the dough with a towel and let rest for a bit prior to running through your pasta maker. This little ball of dough will be enough to roll out several good sheets of pasta.
Alrighty then! We should be able to just go ahead and get the ravioli party started here, right?
I read several different recipes for the proper dough, filling and stuffing techniques used to make fresh ravioli and most of them gave this suggestion.
See there, all you have to do is lay one of the pasta sheets out and put a teaspoon-ish of filling spaced apart by an inch or so and then put the other pasta sheet on top and cut and you’ve got this perfect…
BULLSHIT! That’s a goddamn dirty lie! You bastards! These fuckers didn’t seal right AT ALL! The ones that I could salvage looked like some mutant potsticker abortion with sticky ass dough and they weren’t sealed and FUCK!
I’ve been known to have an anger issue in the kitchen if shit doesn’t turn out as anticipated.
Fear not! (Remember we are fucking FEARLESS NOW?)
The problem with this technique, is each one of the sheets of pasta are different lengths, they’ve been resting at slightly different time intervals, and they are even slightly different thicknesses. So once I pounded down a few beers to get myself to chill the fuck out I figured out the REAL solution. Take a single sheet of pasta, put the filling dollops on one edge of the pasta sheet, then simply fold the other half of the sheet over the ravioli, press lightly to remove air and then cut with a pizza roller.
This worked goddamn famously!
Just loogit that shit! Magical! Once I had finished cutting the ravioli I laid them out on a couple of sheets of wax paper to dry.
Important note here! These need to dry for a solid hour before cooking. After half an hour flip over the ravioli so that both sides dry properly. If you look closely at the above picture you will notice the 3 ravioli on the right of the picture are slightly deformed and funky looking. Those were the salvaged ones from the first attempt using 2 sheets of pasta.
Don’t do that technique.
Fuck that technique right in the butthole.
Look how nice and symmetrical the others are. Just right.
After cutting the ravioli I noticed that I had a small bit of unused pasta. Hell, I know what to do with that!
Goddamn right! Broke out the fettuccine cutter attachment and made some fresh noodles too. Fuck yes! Remember, the fettuccine takes about a half hour to dry also.
After drying we are going to get a big pot of salted water boiling. The ravioli take about 10-12 minutes to cook in the boiling water. There’s no cool trick like cooking the gnocchi where they float when they are done. The fuckers float the entire time.
Set a kitchen timer to 10 minutes for each batch and you will be fine.
So this is where most cooks will say “Cook the ravioli and serve with your favorite sauce. Manja!”
I guess you could. However! If you have been a regular reader then you know that real Italian chefs don’t just dump some cooked pasta on a plate and ladle on sauce.
Because that is bullshit.
You finish the pasta by cooking it in a couple of ladles of sauce in a skillet to make sure that every bit of the pasta is coated in sauce. If there is only one lesson that you’ve learned today make sure it is this one.
First I started with the marinara.
Saute, saute, saute and get them nice and coated. Put the ravioli on a plate, give the skillet a quick wipe down with a paper towel and let’s do the green sauce next.
If you find that pesto is a little too herbaceous for your liking or maybe it’s a little too heavy with the garlic, simply grab a tablespoon or so of the pasta water that we cooked the ravioli in and mix it together with the pesto, Saute, saute, saute and put on the other side of the plate next to the ravioli with marinara.
Grab your grater and grate some more of that fresh parmagiano-reggiano right over the top and serve.
This was fan-fucking-tastic! It may have been the best ravioli I ever had. The contrast between the two sauces was just perfect.
I’ve got to confess something here.
That marinara has probably cooked for over 14 hours at this point. Over the course of 3 days and repeated freshening up. It was delicious but I’ve got to tell you, that goddamn pesto was just fucking SPECIAL with this ravioli and that shit takes about 2 minutes to make in a food processor. The marinara version was outstanding but that pesto version could sell for big bucks in a neighborhood trattoria.
And there we have it.
Despite not having any Italian in my genetic pool I am still thankful for the beautiful country of Italy, it’s incredible people, amazing food and delicious wines.
Level up motherfuckers because we have hit the big time! Homemade pasta, homemade sausage, homemade marinara and pesto. Make one, make two or make them all from scratch.
There has never been a more appropriate use of the “fuck that store bought shit” tag ever.
BE FUCKING FEARLESS!
Love you folks. Thanks for stopping by.