Monthly Archives: November 2014

Roasted Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

While I was in Italy this time, I had the great pleasure of going to the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, taught by Fabrizia Lanza.  She is fantastic!  If you have the opportunity to meet her when she’s in the US please do so, you won’t look at food the same way again.  The following is a combination of my usual ravioli and Fabrizia’s Squash Ravioli.

IMG_1166 - Version 2

Gardens of the Anna Tasca Lanzo Cooking School, Palermo


Roasted Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage


He looks lonely let’s add something to him.


250 grams semolina flour

250 grams all-purpose flour

1/4 – 1/3 cup water

A couple pinches of salt

This is a dead simple recipe.  The recipe doesn’t contain eggs there for you can make it very thin, which is necessary because you are working with two layers of pasta and a filling.

Combine flours in a medium size bowl and with your hand start to incorporate the water.  You only want enough water added so that the dough comes together.  Dump the dough onto a light floured surface and knead the dough until it is smooth, about 5 minutes.  Cover well with  plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.

Roasted Squash Filling:

1 butter nut squash, pealed and cubed.

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 sprigs lemon thyme

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

1/2 cup ricotta

1/3 cup Parmesan

Dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a roasting pan or ceramic baking dish toss cubed squash, olive oil, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-35 minutes until soft.


Don’t put the stems in the food processor!

In the bowl of a food processor blitz the roasted squash, then fold in Parmesan and ricotta.  Check for seasoning and add the nutmeg.

Time to play with the dough.  Divide the ball into 4 pieces.  Keep the pasta wrapped well while your working, don’t let it dry out.  Starting with the widest setting of 1, pass the dough through the pasta maker.  Fold into 3rds and pass it through again.  Continue to pass the dough through until you hit the 6th level.  The dough will be almost translate, I could see the grain of the wood on my table through the pasta!


Ricotta and Parmesan make everything taste better.

Lay the sheets of pasta out and dot the filling down the side of the sheet.  Run a little water around each dollop of filling with a water dripped fingertip.  Fold over the pasta and push out as much air as possible as you cut out each pasta with a ravioli stamp.  If you end up with extra filling, pop it into a buttered baking dish and top with Parmesan. It makes a great al gratin side dish.


Pretty, isn’t it?

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.  The pasta basically only needs to be warmed, boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove.

Brown Butter and Sage Sauce:

1 stick butter, unsalted

10-12 sage leaves

Melt butter, with sage leaves, allowing the butter to brown slightly and the sage to infuse the butter.  Spoon sauce into individual bowls and top with ravioli and Parmesan.

We had this for supper Halloween evening and even with the Trick-or-Treaters is was a simple meal.  I made the ravioli earlier in the day and refrigerated them on a tray until I was ready to cook them, and the Butter Sauce only takes a few minutes. The ravioli can also be frozen for up to a month.

Bon Appetito!


I like the tradition of a “coffee break,” whether it’s in the morning or in the afternoon.  While we were in Cafelu we hiked to the top of  La Rocca. It’s the site of the fortress that sits above the town, it’s in ruins now but you you could defiantly see it past strength.  After making it through the hike, it’s 3 miles up a very steep slope and back down.  My husband said if I turned my ankle he wasn’t going to carry my down.  But my bribe to make it up and back was espresso and cannoli.  The possibility of caffeine and chocolate, okay I’ll climb up the mountain.


View from La Rocca



Cefalu Cannoli

This recipe is an adaptation of a Sicilian Cannoli Recipe, by Tasting Table



1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

1/4 cup amaretto Liquier

1/2  teaspoon salt

Canola oil for, frying


1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cups whole milk ricotta

5 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup pistachios, finally chopped

Making the shells; place of flour, egg, egg yolk, butter, amaretto and salt in a food processor and pulse until a dough forms.  Wrapped in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. IMG_1277

While that dough chills, prepare the filling.  Whisk cream in a medium bowl to soft peaks and place in the refrigerator until needed.  In another bowl combine the ricotta, powdered sugar, chocolate, orange zest, granulated sugar, half of the pistachios and salt.  Combined well with a rubber spatula fold in the whip cream. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.IMG_1278

Heat canola oil in a cast iron or heavy bottomed pot.  If you have a deep fryer this is the ideal time to use it.  Heat the oil until the thermometer reads 325°.  Divide dough into fourths. Working with small pieces roll the dough through a pasta roller.  The dough maybe sticky work a little flour into the dough as you feed it into the machine.  You’re looking for a job that is pliable but not robbery.Roll the dough to about 1/16 of an inch and cut dough into 4″ rounds.

Dock the rounds, piercing the circles on both sides.  Wrap the circles around the metal cannoli dowels and seal with a touch of water. Check the oil temperature, if the temperature is 325° you are ready to fry.

With a frying spider and or tongs lower 2 of the cannoli into the oil.  After 2 to 3 minutes the cannoli will be nicely browned.  Remove from the oil onto the paper towel and a lot of cool slightly. While still warm remove the dowels from the shells and allow to finish cooling.  Repeat with the remaining shells.

Time to put everything together.  Justt before you’re ready to serve place the filling into a plastic bag that will allow you to pipe the filling into the shell.  Clip the end of the plastic bag and fill each if your cannoli and dip each and into the chopped pistachios.


And you didn’t have to climb a mountain to get yours!

Bon appétito!

So Many Beautiful Meals: Roma


The month of October was a busy one.  Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Sienna, Cefalu, and Sicily, 16 days in Italy and I never a bad meal, a couple of very hard beds but never a bad meal.  With so many wonderful dishes it hard to pick just one to post about, so I’m not.  I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks and try to do some of these beautiful dishes justice.



Bread, pasta and pizza are some of my favorite food groups.  So I guess going to Italy was a good idea. Rome is one of my favorite cities. The shear amount  of  history that the city holds is enough to make you take pause.  The other thing that may give you pause are the motor scooters, but don’t pause too long they will cut you off.  Rome is crowded, the traffic is a bear, but going in October did help.  The second ace that I had up my sleeve was my husband, who drove all of Rome and everywhere in Italy and that is saying something. Some of the cars look as though they have been in a demolision derby.  He only hit one mirror and it bounced right back!

One of the other great things about this trip were the friends that we got to share this trip with.  Jen and Joe were great company for this trip, they love food and wine almost as much as my husband and I. Being able to share with them some fo the places we had been to before was great.  Sharing antipasto, pizza and several bottles of wine over a late lunch is pretty awesome too.


I love pizza!  I have a beautiful Fontana Pizza Oven in my backyard, so I take my pizza pretty seriously.  Everyone has their favorite, I prefer thin crust and a thin cracker style crust is one of my favorites.  The pizzas I have had in Rome are of a thin to medium crust with a nice crunch and chew to them.  I have a number of different pizza crust recipes in my back pocket, this one is a very good representation of the pizzas we had in Rome.

Classic Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar, this helps feed the yeast

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons olive oil, yes Italian!

1 cup semolina flour

2 cups bread, or all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

semolina flour for dusting

Preheat you oven to 400 + as high as it will go…. The use of a pizza stone is a great thing.  Dusted with a little bit of cornmeal too, will help to slide your pizza off and onto the pizza peel.

In a small bowl combine yeast, sugar and warm water.  Allow the yeast to “bloom,” for 5-7 minutes in a warm corner.  Add you olive oil. In a medium bowl pour sift in the flours and salt, pour in wet Ingredients, gently with your hand combine the ingredients in the bowl, working until it is incorporated. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

In a large greased bowl  place dough, cover with plastic wrap and allow to raise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Divide into 4 pieces.  Time to roll. On a pizza peal dusted with cornmeal, flatten the round of dough with the heal of your hand and roll from the center out, rotate a quarter turn, roll center to outer edge. Continue until 12″ inches in diameter.

Time to top.  This is where the sky is the limit.  Olive oil, mozzerella, pancetta,   Is wonderful option.  Pulled from the oven piping hot and then dressed with fresh arugla and shaved Parmesion. Paired with a local chianti life is good!

Bon appetito!