Sunday, April 02, 2006

Panna cotta & ravioli

My friend Kaoru is in town for the weekend and so we decided to have a little italian feast last night. Everything came out so lovely that we wanted to share. The panna cotta was so light, fresh and pretty. The contrast against the bright red rasberries was really nice and the flavors would do great with almost any fruit. Everyone at the table loved it and we will make it again tonight with some fresh strawberries. We made the raviolis with a traditional pork/veal/mortadella filling and mixed the meat mixture with homemade ricotta cheese. The ricotta cheese recipe was in last month's Gourmet magazine and we found it so easy to make and absolutely delicious - unlike any ricotta cheese I've had before. I definitely suggest trying this ricotta cheese recipe. We dressed the raviolis with Cath's tomatoe sauce, using San Marzano canned plum tomatoes and fresh oregano from our garden. The roasted turnips are from Chino Family Farms. They were delicious and we loved the bright colors.

Panna Cotta

3/4 C whole milk
1 C heavy cream
2 T + 1t sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
1 1/2 t unflavored gelatin

Mix 3/4 C whole milk and 1/2 C heavy cream with 2 T + 1t sugar and a pinch of salt.
Simmer in pot (do not let boil). Add 1 t each of almond and vanilla extract.
Remove from heat.

Separately sprinkle 1 1/2 t unflavored gelatin into 2 T water and let sit for a few minutes.

Reheat milk mixture until hot to touch and pour into gelatin mixture through sieve.
Stir and add another 1/2 C heavy cream.

Pour into ramekins and let sit in the icebox for 4-12 hours.

Ricotta Cheese

2 quarts whole milk
1 C heavy cream
1/2 t salt
3 T lemon juice

Slowly bring milk, cream and salt to a soft roiling boil (be sure to watch so it doesn't boil over).
Reduce heat and add lemon juice.
Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until it curdles.
Drain through cheese cloth and let sit in the icebox for a few hours (while draining).

Filling for stuffed pasta (canneloni, ravioli, tortoleni)

1/2 # ground pork
1/2 # ground veal
1/2 # italian sausage
1/4 # prosciotto
1/4 # mortadella
1/2 - 3/4 C grated parm
1-2 eggs
1/2 - 1 C ricotta cheese
Handful of chopped italian parsley
Fresh nutmeg

Cook meat then transfer to Cuisineart
Add all other indgredients (except ricotta) and pulse
Transfer to another bowl and fold ricotta in
Season to taste

Pasta: eggs, flour, olive oil and salt.


Blogger Elaine said...

Gorgeous plating. Salivating just looking at it. So impressed with your homemade ricotta. Worth making at home vs store bought? As for your pasta making, kudos for continuing to make fresh pasta. Haven't taken out my pasta maker in a year. Wish I was there for that meal.

02 April, 2006 14:15  
Blogger Jer said...

Yes, I definitely think the homemade ricotta was worth it. So easy. I would never think to eat ricotta straight off of a spoon and I would with this ricotta (in fact I did this morning!) For lunch we topped the leftover ravioli with the ricotta and baked it and it was really good. I think worth making the ricotta for a dish where it is a profile indgredient. Maybe next weekend, I will make lasagne with fresh pasta, this homemade ricotta, a classic bolognese and bechamel and I think that will be very delicious.

02 April, 2006 23:15  
Blogger Cath said...

Wow! Everything looks so yummy. I'm jealous of those turnips. I will definitely try the panna cotta and homemade ricotta. Seems like so much ricotta is watery and gross. What did you use to mold the panna cotta?

03 April, 2006 11:28  
Blogger Jer said...

The panna cotta is so easy it kills me. We made it again last night with a reduced strawberry glaze with fresh Carlsbad strawberries and it was so good. We put the panna cotta in smaller sized buttered ramekins. And yes, I think most ricotta is watery and flavorless (so much that I usually drain bought ricotta over a seive to get some of the moisture out before using). This ricotta you will eat in chunks off your spoon!

By the way, really loved the tomato sauce recipe. So easy and so much delicate flavor. That will be a staple for pasta sauce in our house.

03 April, 2006 19:50  
Blogger Cath said...

Oh good! I'm glad. Amazing how good tomatoes and butter are together, huh? Robert actually found that recipe--it never would have even occurred to me to try it. One more question on the panna cotta--how many servings does that recipe make?

04 April, 2006 12:16  
Blogger Jer said...

So simple and delicious that tomato recipe. I too never would have thought butter and tomatos would work so nicely. The panna cotta recipe makes exactly four servings if using ramekins that are 3.5 inches in diameter and 2 inches high. Can't wait to hear how they come out!

04 April, 2006 13:18  
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