Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Little Taste of the Old Country...

Last night my mom pulled out one of her Italian recipe books, Italy al Dente by Biba Caggiano and we decided to go through it and look up how to make pasta for manicotti from scratch- which is one of our favourite things to do :) 

So we flipped through it and came across Biba's recipe for Tortelloni with Swiss Chard, spinach, ham and ricotta- or to us Italians- Tortelloni con Biete, Spinaci, Prosciutto e Ricotta. And we decided to try it out!

So my sister and I set to work making the pasta dough and the impasto (filling) and ended up with very tasty tortelloni for dinner.  From start to finish, it took us about 4 hours but it was soo worth it because there is just nothing better than fresh home made pasta. 

Here are some pictures of our delicious masterpiece.. Enjoy!

This is how it all begins.. 

Pretty Dough Ball :D

This is the way we kneed the Dough...

Make sure you wrap your dough in cling wrap (plastic wrap)
and let it rest for at least 20 mins before rolling

All the little Tortelloni in a row

Remember to graciously flour your plate or the pasta will stick and you'll  have wasted time and effort to end up with nothing but a giant gooey gluey mess.

A simple sugo finto (light fresh tomato sauce)
suits any pasta wonderfully

Keep an eye on your pasta when cooking, because if you don't stir occasionally, it'll stick together in a big clump or to the bottom of your pot.

Biba suggests that a large wide rimmed shallow pot is best when cooking this kind of pasta (along with gnocci, tortellini, capelletti, ravioli etc)

ooooo soooo shiny....

Its best to pull one tortellone out to test if its cooked enough.. 

Strain them a few at a time and dump them directly
into the sauce as its still simmering... yum!

This book was published in 1998

This is the recipe we went off of... FYI we Italians do not appreciate or endorse the replacement of prosciutto for "ham"... ugh!

Thanks Biba!!!!

If you're interested in knowing how to make sugo finto, here are some simple steps to help you out.  P.s you'll never go back to Ragu again! 

You'll need:
-Canned whole Italian tomato's (aka plum tomatos)- 2 cans with serve 4-6 people
-fresh garlic
-olive oil
-salt and pepper
-fresh basil 

-Crush your whole canned tomato's in a bowl with your hands, or put them through a manual tomato sieve or crusher. 
-Add a 1 inch wide circle of olive oil into a large skillet/frying pan and warm, add crushed and chopped garlic (minced or slivered) and brown- FYI if you burn your garlic, you CANNOT use the oil, it's disgusting! so pay attention to your garlic and don't have the heat on too high. If you don't like to eat garlic you can take it out after its browned, or replace the garlic with chopped onions (pay attention when browning onions too.. same grossness issue if they burn).
-Add your now squished tomato's and bring them to a simmer. 
-Carefully drop 3-4 medium or large size fresh basil leaves in the center of the pan and drop a tiny bit of olive oil onto each leaf (this helps infuse the basil further). --
once the basil leaves have turned dark, your sauce is pretty much done (you can also pull out the basil if you don't like to see green things lol) 
-Add your salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer on medium to low heat for about 10 minutes. 
-Stir and add your pasta
-The longer you leave the sauce on low heat, the thicker it'll become.  
-Keep in mind, the joy of sugo finto is having a thinner, lighter sauce with tomato chunks.
-Pull your pasta out of the boiling water and put it right into the sauce and toss it.  When you drain your pasta completely and it dries, it won't absorb the sauce as well. 
-The sauce will be ready to use by the time the pasta is cooked (although keep in mind that certain pasta's take a little longer than others i.e spaghetti versus tortelloni).

Anyway, thats my sauce- Hope you enjoyed my post... 


p.s Drop me a comment, if you want the full recipe or just wanna say HI.. always look forward to getting an e-mail as well. So don't be a stranger! <3

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