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Posts Tagged ‘fontina’


Delicata Squash Tart - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Frequently when I make ravioli or another stuffed pasta, I have leftover filling. This is a great way to use it up, but it’s also an incredibly easy appetizer for parties or when you need a snack in a hurry. I have made this before with mushrooms and there are endless variations. It’s also another reason I always keep puff pastry in the freezer.

Delicata Squash Tart

1 cup delicata squash ravioli filling

1 sheet puff pastry

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

1/4 cup grated mozzarella

Spread the filling across a defrosted sheet of puff pastry that you have laid out on parchment paper. Sprinkle the thyme and mozzarella across the top and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes until it gets browned on the edges and the mozzarella bubbles and browns. Let cool a few minutes before cutting.

Delicata Squash Tart - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Squash Ravioli with Crispy Sage - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I love making homemade ravioli because the process is so relaxing. It’s also fun to do with other people, and if you’re just getting into cooking, it’s very gratifying to see the final product that YOU made. It’s a time commitment, but you can make any kind of ravioli you feel like. I once made some with leftover short ribs braised in red wine that were memorable enough to remember years later. These might rival those for my favorite ravioli.

Delicata Squash Filling

1 pound delicata squash, large dice

1 cup grated fontina

1 cup grated pecorino

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup ground hazelnuts

4 tablespoons finely chopped sage

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons Marsala or white wine (optional)

Roast the squash with a couple tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to brown. Remove to a food processor  and add the rest of the ingredients. I use the Marsala or wine to thin it out if necessary. The honey gives it a slight sweetness, but you could tweak the filling ingredients to taste.

Make one recipe Basic Pasta Dough. Let it rest for a few minutes in plastic wrap in the fridge and then run it through your pasta roller in batches.

Basic Pasta Dough - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Brush the dough all over with water to help seal them. Spoon the filling into about 1 teaspoon-sized balls onto one side of the pasta sheet so that you will be able to fold them over.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesSquash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesFold the dough over, making sure to seal in the filling and push out air bubbles. Make sure to press the dough down between the filling to make them closer to single-thickness so that the edges will cook at the same rate as the layer covering the filling. (If you do not do this, the edges will be twice as thick as the center, and will be chewy.)

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Cut the ravioli out with you ravioli cutter. You could also use a cookie cutter or knife if you don’t have one. I was finally able to use the new one I picked up in Rome.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesSquash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesThey will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or preferably, in the freezer for a while. Make sure to coat them in flour or they will stick. I also recommend using parchment paper to separate layers, because any that touch will stick. They are best immediately after making them, however.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Delicata Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Crispy Sage

6-8 ravioli (per person)

6 sage leaves

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Cook the ravioli in salted, boiling water for about 4 minutes, until they start to float. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil and add the sage leaves. They will spatter when they hit the oil, so be careful. They will crisp up and the butter solids will start to brown. Add some of the pasta cooking water (about 1/4 cup) and allow to come together, about 1 minute. Add the ravioli and toss in the sauce. Grate some parmesan over the top and serve with the crispy sage on top.

Squash Ravioli with Crispy Sage - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Eggplant Pasta Al Forno - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Baked pastas are so great because the flavors really get into the pasta and everything comes together. And it’s even better reheated the next day. This is a great vegetarian dinner too, because the eggplant is meaty and combined with a salad, it’s a perfect meal.

Eggplant Pasta Al Forno

1 pound of short pasta, such as penne, fusilli, etc

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into 3/4″ rounds

2 cups basic tomato sauce, homemade or your favorite simple bottled brand

1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 cup grated mozzarella

1 cup grated fontina

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Saute the eggplant slices in a couple tablespoons of olive oil a few minutes on each side, until they start to brown. You may need to add more olive oil for each batch, but be careful not to add too much because eggplant acts like a sponge and will soak the oil up and release it as it bakes, making the final dish greasy.

Meanwhile, heat your tomato sauce if you have not just made it. Cook the pasta in salted water for half the cooking time on the package. It will still be chewy, but it will continue to cook in the oven. Combine the cheeses together in a small bowl.

Spoon a light layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, so that it won’t stick. Toss the rest of the sauce with the pasta. Cover the bottom with a layer of eggplant and then a layer of pasta. Sprinkle some thyme and some of the cheeses over the top. continue with these layers until you reach the top of the dish. The last layer should be eggplant with the remaining cheese sprinkled over the top along with the breadcrumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown and bubble. Let cool a little before serving.

Eggplant Pasta Al Forno - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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While we are in the midst of trying to sell the apartment, I’ve been falling back on old favorites. Last night, I made a version of this Puglian specialty, orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage and every time I make it, it brings me back to a night in southern Puglia. The meatiness of the sausage is comforting and warm on a cold fall night.

Fall always means lasagna time for me…I love making it for company too, because I can put it in the oven when they come over and spend time with people, rather than in the kitchen. My favorites for fall are mushroom and roasted carrot and butternut squash.

My favorite fall fruits are definitely pears, and I love to make crostatas with pears and gorgonzola this time of year. I make big batches of dough and freeze them for later, so I can just defrost and put together the filling when I’m running low on time.

Cold weather makes me really crave a good Sunday breakfast, and there’s no better breakfast than egg and pancetta sandwiches on homemade sage biscuits. I still have a couple of these tucked away in the freezer, and I can’t wait to have one this Sunday.

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I love making lasagna when I’m going to have people over because I can hang out with people instead of standing over the stove the whole night. It’s also just great comfort food, and it makes me feel better whenever I’m a little down (almost as much as a delicious grilled cheese, especially when it’s made for me….). I’ve made roasted carrot and butternut squash lasagna and regular meat lasagna but mushroom lasagna is the most likely to make everyone happy. And it’s just so delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Who doesn’t love a good make-ahead pasta?!

Mushroom Lasagna

2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup Marsala wine (you can substitute Sherry or any other wine, but Marsala is best)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)

2 cups grated Italian fontina

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella

1 cup basil leaves

1 package lasagna noodles

1 tablespoon truffle butter (optional)

Butter a lasagna pan and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles in salted, boiling water about half the time specified on the package. They should be pliable but not cooked through. Remove to a sheet tray with some olive oil so they don’t stick.

Saute the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Once everything has softened, deglaze the pan with the Marsala. You can leave a little liquid and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and flour in a sauce pan and allow to brown. It will start to look like sand. Add the milk and whisk together. Add the chicken stock and allow to thicken. You want it slightly thick but not so much that you can’t pour it. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add half the parmesan and stir to combine and melt.

Start to layer the lasagna with a layer of noodles, then a layer of the mushrooms and then a layer of the bechamel sauce. These should be thin layers. Add a sprinkle of the fontina cheese and a couple basil leaves.

Continue with the layers until you use everything up and make sure to finish with a layer of pasta. I like to reserve a little bechamel to pour on top so that the top layer stays nice and soft. Sprinkle with the remaining fontina, parmesan, basil and the mozzarella. If you would like, you can add some pieces of truffle butter to the top to help it brown and enhance the mushroom flavor.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until it starts to brown on top and get bubbly. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before eating so that they layers can cool a little and set up.

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I can’t decide what kind of lasagna I like best. I love the traditional meat one as well as my favorite mushroom lasagna. I also make one with veggies that’s pretty delicious. This one is definitely up there. It’s a little sweet, a little salty. Perfect for the first real week of fall. We’re starting to see root veggies in the green market and it’s always exciting to see the changing seasonal produce. I’m not a huge fan of ricotta generally (there are some exceptions….), so I generally don’t use it in lasagna, but you could add some to the cheese mixture if you want to. Just a note on mine here, I used whole wheat flour and whole wheat lasagna noodles, but you certainly don’t have to.

Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 butternut squash, chopped into 1″ dice

1 bunch carrots, chopped into 1″ dice

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour, AP or whole wheat

2 cups whole milk

12 sage leaves, chopped

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 amaretti cookies

1 1/2 cup grated Italian fontina or sharp, aged pecorino

1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino

1 package lasagna noodles, regular or whole wheat

18 basil leaves

Combine the squash, carrots, half the olive oil, brown sugar, half the nutmeg, maple syrup, half the salt and pepper on a sheet tray. Roast at 450 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until it starts to caramelize.

Meanwhile, make the bechamel by combining the flour and butter in a pan for a couple minutes. Add the milk and the remainder of the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Combine the roasted vegetables with the remainder of the olive oil, amaretti, and sage leaves in a blender. Blend into a thick puree. You can thin it out with the stock until it’s the right consistency, but don’t make it too watery.

Put a thin layer of the vegetable puree on the bottom of a buttered lasagna pan. Put a layer of noodles and then a layer of puree and a layer of bechemel sauce. Sprinkle some of each grated cheese on top and spread out some basil leaves. Continue to layer in the same order until you have finished the puree and bechemel. Sprinkle more cheese over the top and drizzle some additional olive oil over the top.

Bake covered with aluminum foil for 40 minutes at 450 degrees. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until bubbling. Let cool 10 minutes until serving.

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