Friday, June 12, 2009

ravioli di bergamo

Ok, so I bought the ravioli from Bruno's... but the sauce is a bit of improv inspired by a little town just south of Milan. It's made from fresh sage, parmesan, and cream and is wonderful with a sausage or other meat filled pasta as a tasty alternative from the usual suspects..

1 lb or box fresh meat ravioli, sausage or ground beef
2 T butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup light or heavy cream
8-10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3/4 c fresh parmesan reggiano
1 T fresh grated bread crumbs
fresh black pepper & salt to taste

Cook ravioli in salted water as directed. In a small pot, melt butter and add garlic. Simmer on low, adding sage, cream, and parmesan, a little at a time, while stirring. Add salt & pepper to taste, and sprinkle with bread crumbs just before spooning sauce over the pasta. Delish!

soupe au pistou

This is a soup I love to order in the summer, at a place near our house called Nice Matin.  Pistou is essentially the french version of pesto, and turns an ordinary vegetable soup into an unforgettably aromatic and delicious meal. It really makes use of all the fresh produce out at the market and is totally vegetarian...without the sacrifice.
 2 cups dry white or flageolet beans, soaked overnight
10 cups water
2 leeks, chopped into quarter pieces
2 carrots, chopped into quarter pieces
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped in cubes
3 red potatoes, cubed
sml bunch green beans, cut into small pieces
1/4 c parsley, chopped
salt & pepper 
6 cloves garlic
1/4 c fresh basil
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup olive oil
4 T parsley, chopped

In a large soup pot, bring the soaked beans and fresh water to a boil. Add all the vegetables and herbs, bring to a second boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for an hour. Meanwhile, make the pistou. For the pistou, put the garlic, basil, cheese, oil, and parsley in a cuisinart until you have a rich paste. Add the salt and pepper to taste in the soup, stir well, and continue simmering uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.
When ready, ladle the soup into big bowls and add a spoonful of the pistou just before serving. A warm baguette, some good butter...that's all you need.

moules frites

I bought a bottle of white wine last week and decided it wasn't so hot, but it seemed a waste to throw it away. So, moules frites for dinner! (with a cold beer;-) Growing up in rhode island, mussels will always be the small black ones we used to crush on the beach as kids, but if you prefer, you can upgrade to the larger, meatier new zealand variety. A 2-lb bag of fresh local maine or connecticut black ones will cost you under 10 bucks and is more than enough for two.There are a million ways to cook them, but I like the crisp, northern french flavors in this simple recipe from Lille. 

2 lb bag fresh mussels
2 cups dry white wine
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, diced
2 fennel stalks (or celery), chopped
1 lg sprig thyme
bunch fresh parsley, chopped to 1 cup 
sea salt & fresh black pepper

sides: french baguette, fries ('ore ida', has to be shoe string are fantastic), butter and mayo.

Scrub mussels and place in large bowl of cold water. If any shells are open, they should close when tapped with a spoon- if not, throw them away. Put the olive oil, garlic, onion, & fennel on low heat for a few minutes, then add the wine and raise heat to high. Add mussels and herbs, and bring to boil- transfer any mussels that open early to a large bowl so they don't overcook. Grate fresh black pepper (lots!) over the pot, and pour all the remaining mussels and liquid into the bowl. Serve steamy, with warm bread and frites (just right timing @ 15 min in oven).