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It’s Nothing LIKE Ravioli! September 1, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, random stuff.
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It’s corn season. Here in upstate New York, anyway, fresh corn is the hallmark of late summer, and when it’s “in” it’s everywhere, and it’s sublime!  There’s very little in the vegetable world that can compare to fresh corn.

One morning last week, I stumbled upon a discussion about uses for fresh corn, which led to a video from some San Francisco morning program and an interesting recipe. . . so here we are.  Peeps and I spent the better part of last Sunday afternoon making cappelletti – a filled pasta that’s not ravioli, and it’s not tortellini. . . I’m not Italian, so don’t look to me for an explanation!

PhotobucketSo anyway, one of the things I don’t do regularly is I don’t make pasta.  Keep this in mind.  I followed the directions provided for a double batch of pasta – start with 2 cups of flour, add 2 eggs, 2 tsp. olive oil and a big pinch of salt; mix in stand mixer until combined.  Knead until smooth, then wrap and refrigerate.

Then turn my attention to the filling.

PhotobucketAh, yes, the filling.  Let me just start by saying:  YUM.  It’s fresh corn, and herbs and ricotta and parmesan cheeses.  Of course YUM, right?

We started by cutting the corn off the cobs of about 6 ears of corn – we want 6 cups altogether.

I have found that this is a job better done outside.  I’m just saying – that corn, uh, juice, gets all over the place, and I’d rather have it all over outside than all over the kitchen . . .

PhotobucketWe’re also going to need to visit the herb  garden – we need a bunch of chives and a bunch of tarragon.

What’s a bunch, you ask?  I don’t quite know – whatever looks good, I guess. Next time I make this, I would definitely use a bit more tarragon and a bit less chive.  I love tarragon.  Besides, the tarragon is trying to take over the garden and needs to be put in its place!

Mince the herbs, and slice a couple of onions very thin.

PhotobucketIn a good-sized saucepan, sauté the onions just until translucent (don’t brown them), then add the corn and cook until barely tender.

PhotobucketThen, drag out the super cool blender, dump the corn-onion mixture in, and go to town.

Puree it.

I’m talking smooth.

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See?  Smooth.

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Stir in the minced herbs (remember those?), 2 small containers (about 4 cups) of ricotta cheese (I use low-fat), half a cup of finely grated fresh parmesan, and 2 teaspoons of champagne vinegar (I’m sure white wine vinegar, or even white balsamic, would work just fine here).

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Now, we pulled out the pasta, rolled it out, and cut it into circles.

We could talk about actually making the actual non-ravioli, but, well, let’s just say it was an exercise in frustration and leave it at that.

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If you’re interested in making the filled pasta, you’ve probably already watched the video.  Or you already know what you’re doing.  Or both.  Here’s the thing – roll your pasta THIN.  Use just a wee little smidgen of filling.  And for heaven’s sake, make sure the edges are sealed!  If you look at them too hard, corn stuff will ooze out. . . then, the next thing you know, you’re tossing leaky pasta rejects in the dog’s dish, and then you’ll NEVER get him out from underfoot!

We had TONS more filling than pasta (I guess we didn’t roll the pasta thin enough, huh?), so we carefully placed the little hats (heh!) on a lined baking sheet and stuck them in the freezer, to be cooked later.

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OK, it’s later.

While the water was boiling and the pasta was cooking, I started a quick sauce in a big sauté pan – I melted about half a stick of butter with a good glug of honey.  Meticulous, that’s me!  Basically, we want a balance between the richness the butter brings and the sweetness of the honey.

PhotobucketWhen the ravioli tortellini cappelletti was done, we just tossed it in the pan with the sauce.

Then just served with a bit more shredded parm.  You can never have too much parmesan, right?

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So, the verdict?  This was very tasty.  The filling was wonderful – the pasta, while great to work with, was just too thick.  I should have broken out the pasta roller, but I didn’t.  Because of that, the pasta-to-filling ratio was . . . just wrong.  Also, if I’d rolled the pasta thinner, I probably wouldn’t have had quite so much filling left over.  Go figure.

Well. . . I wasn’t about to go through that pasta-rolling-cutting-shaping-leaking thing again any time soon, so what to do with the leftover filling?  Hmmm. . .the first thing I did was take about half of it and stick it in the freezer.  We’ll see how that works out.  I think it should freeze well – we shall see.

And the rest?  How about, instead of putting it in the pasta, we put it on the outside?

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Just brown a bit of butter, add some honey, then dump in about two cups of the corn-ricotta mixture and maybe a half cup of cream (because it was there!) then simmer until just heated through.  Meanwhile, cook a pound of pasta, something like a rotini would be great.  When cooked, toss with the sauce, and serve with more parm (because, really, can you have too much parmesan?).

So overall, this was really, really tasty, and, apart from the pasta-rolling part, really easy!  It would be well worth making again, and Peeps says he’ll talk to his boss about using the shop equipment to make actual ravioli filled with the corn filling.  Other than that, I’m content to use it as a sauce, or hey! maybe a base for a soup!    Hmmmm. . . .

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