Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ravioli, Meatballs & Chocolate Pie - 12/27/2007

One of my family members, Sandy, (I am not sure what the name is for our specific familial relationship), was intent on teaching me to make traditional ravioli, so here is what happened.


Every great pasta dinner needs a sauce and every great Italian dinner needs too much food, so here is the sauce with the meatballs that were the side dish to our pasta. The sauce started with sauteed garlic, some browned sausage and pork loin strips. To make more of a sauce, Sandy added crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. We let the sauce cook for a while before adding meatballs (prepared with beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, garlic, and salt). Then this mixture simmered for many hours until dinner.

Cheese Ravioli

The first set of ravioli was made in half-moon shapes with ricotta-parsley filling. Let me tell you, creamy fillings are very tough to make into ravioli since they interfere with the seal-ability of the dough. I failed on about 6 of these because of this problem. But these ravioli, despite their simplicity, ended up very light and delicious.

Beef Ravioli

The second set of ravioli were meant to be heavier so we made a slightly thicker dough. The filling is mostly beef, but it was surprisingly lighter because of some added spinach and lemon juice. These were made in a simpler fashion that yielded rectangular ravioli of varying sizes.

Chocolate Pudding Pie

While making ravioli, I commented that I have had previous difficulty with doughs, especially pastry dough. So Sandy made it her mission to teach me to make a pie dough. We cut some butter into a flour-salt mixture, then slowly added water to make the dough. After some help rolling the dough out, I baked it until golden brown. The filling is sugar-free chocolate pudding (blech, I know but it was all we had at the time), topped with home-made whipped cream (with vanilla and cinnamon), some crumbled no-bake cookies (my stepmom made a batch that didn't turn into cookie, but makes a pretty good topping), and a sprinkling of hot cocoa mix.

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