Monday, October 25, 2010

Fresh Pumpkin Ravioli With Sage and Butter

One vegetarian.
One overly zealous meat eater.
One pint-sized picky palate who never met a vegetable he liked,
Unless you count french fries.

Welcome to dinner at my house,
Where I prep and cook a variety of entrees every night with the fervor and Time constraint of a Top Chef contestant.
My life is a perpetual Quick Fire challenge,
But every once in awhile the universe shines upon me,
And I prepare dinner,
With one single recipe
That will please one-and-all.  

Fresh Pumpkin Ravioli With Sage and Butter

When a recipe begins with melted butter, you just can't go wrong. Toss in a chopped shallot and let it soften a bit.  
Cook the pumpkin with nutmeg, salt and a bay leaf until most of the excess moisture evaporates.  It only takes 10 minutes.  
Remove the bay leaf and give the pumpkin a sprinkle of Asiago cheese.

Lay out 30 wonton wrappers. Brush the edges of the wrappers with an egg, which will act as an edible glue to seal the ravioli. 
Place a heaping teaspoon of pumpkin puree in the center of each wrapper.  Fold the wrappers in half to make a triangle.  Seal the edges firmly with your fingers. 

Ignore the fact that someone is in desperate need of a manicure.
Cook the ravioli in a big pot of salted boiling water.

And now for the sauce:

Melt butter and chopped sage in a pan, and season with salt. This would be good enough as is, but if you like, you can take a walk on the decadent side, and add a little cream.
Add the cooked ravioli to the sauce.
Sprinkle with a little more Asiago cheese and sage.

One dinner + No complaints =  One happy momma.

Fresh Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Butter

1 Tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, finely minced or grated
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 small bay leaf
1/4 cup asiago cheese plus more for serving
30 wonton wrappers
1 egg, whisked with a fork
4 Tablespoons butter
4-6 fresh finely chopped sage leaves, plus extra for serving

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over low to medium heat. Add the minced shallot and cook until soft (about 2-3minutes). 
  2. Add pumpkin and season with nutmeg and salt. Stir in cream and toss in a small bay leaf. Let cook for 10 minutes over low to medium heat until excess moisture has evaporated and mixture is thickened. Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle asiago cheese over pumpkin and stir. Remove from heat to cool. To speed things up, place the pumpkin filling in the refrigerator. 
  3. Lay out 30 wonton wrappers. Whisk an egg with a fork. Brush the edges of the wrappers with the egg. 
  4. Place a heaping teaspoon of pumpkin puree in the center of each wrapper. Fold wrappers in half on a diagonal to make a triangle. Seal edges firmly with your fingers. Refrigerate ravioli while you boil a big pot of water. 
  5. Place 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet with the minced sage leaves. Heat on low until butter is melted. Season with salt. Add a little cream if you are feeling indulgent. If not, leave as is. 
  6. Salt the boiling water generously. Add the ravioli and cook for 3-4 minutes. The ravioli will float to the top. Drain. 
  7. Place ravioli in the skillet with the melted butter and sage. Toss to coat the ravioli. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. 
  8. Sprinkle additional asiago and sage over ravioli.
Makes 30-32 ravioli/ Serves 4

Monday, October 18, 2010

Butterscotch Dipped Apples

Nothing says fall better than biting into a fresh locally grown apple
Nothing says fall better than biting into a fresh locally grown apple dripping with butterscotch.

My apples of choice are Jonagold from Bobwhite Acres in Coopersburg.  They are crisp, juicy, and a little sour; perfect for complementing sweet butterscotch.
To make the butterscotch:

Melt unsalted butter in your heaviest soup pot.  The thickness of the pot will make it less likely to burn the butter and sugar; nowhere else in life would a heavy bottom be so appreciated. 
Add 1 cup each of dark brown sugar, and light brown sugar.
Stir with a wooden spoon, then add a teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Sounds odd doesn't it?  Lemon juice in butterscotch? This is to prevent sugar crystals from forming.  No one likes a gritty butterscotch.
Crank up the heat to medium and stir every now and again until the sugar is melted and the mixture is bubbly. Turn off the heat and add 1 1/2 cups of cream.  This is where things get good. The cream will sputter like a science experiment gone awry. Whisk the cream into smooth submission.
Return the butterscotch to medium heat.  At this point I place the lid on the pot for a few minutes to wash down any unmelted sugar from the side of the pot. 
Remove the lid and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes.  Do not stir.

The butterscotch will look more like a sauce than something that will cling to an apple.  It will thicken as it cools.  Transfer the butterscotch to a bowl. 

After 10 minutes, add a few teaspoons of vanilla.  Let the butterscotch stand for another 10- 20 minutes or until it looks like this dreamy concoction.
Time for some apple dipping.
Place the apples on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. They are delicious as is, but a sprinkling of toffee pieces or toasted pecans would be nice. I sprinkled one lone apple with sea salt.  It was divine. 

The remaining 9 apples were devoured by the gaggle of neighborhood children led to my kitchen by my son, the pied piper of after school snacks.  

Butterscotch Dipped Apples

10-12 medium sized apples
10-12 craft sticks
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Wash and dry apples. Place apples on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Insert craft sticks into the center of each apple. Set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed 6 quart soup pot begin to melt the butter on low heat. When the butter is almost melted, add the dark and light brown sugar along with the lemon juice and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar is melted and the mixture looks molten and syrupy (about 7-10 minutes).
  3. Remove pot from heat and carefully add the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up and sputter. Be careful not to get splashed. Whisk the cream into the melted sugar until combined. Return the pot to medium heat and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove lid. Mixture should be at a boil. DO NOT STIR. Continue to cook without stirring for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Continue to cool the butterscotch for another 10 minutes. It will go from a thin sauce-like consistency to a thickened but still flowing butterscotch. Dip apples into butterscotch. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes to set. 
Makes 10-12 butterscotch apples. Cover and refrigerate any remaining butterscotch.

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