Ravioli Night

John likes to experiment, and I like to be corny. So, for our first “finer dining” experience, John knew what he wanted to do for dessert and it involved ravioli-like items. Naturally, I wanted to make ravioli for dinner, too. Since this is finer dining, I planned to make the pasta, and I did. I used the recipe that came with our machine, as I have used it before and never been disappointed. I halved the recipe, though. Are you ready for the recipe? It’s really complicated:

Pasta Dough:

1 egg

1 cup of flour

Procedure:

Make a well in the flour

Beat the egg in the middle of the well until a ball begins to form

Knead until the texture is consistent, adding water if the dough is too dry

Follow pasta machine’s directions

For the filling, I just mixed ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.

I also made a short rib ragout. That was even easier (for a vegetarian option, just omit the meat):

Ragout:

Brown 1 – 1 1/2 lbs  meat (can be any sort of meat, ground or cubed)

Saute 1-2 onions in oil until translucent

Add onions and meat to a slow cooker, top with 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes

Add a whole clove of garlic, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Cook on low 8-10 hours

Add a dash of red pepper flakes, and your favorite sauce seasoning

That’s it!

And now for dessert. John made flourless chocolate, a cocoa nib tuile, and banana-passionfruit ravioli via a process called reverse spherification. He’ll post the recipe for it soon, as I barely have an idea how he did it. What I can tell you is what they are like. Think of a rich sauce with banana and passionfruit, perfectly balanced. Then, take away the runny nature of the sauce; see the photos below for a better idea. The crisp bitterness of the tuile with the rich creaminess of cake and bright citrus sauce.

I (John) recently had the privilege of spending the day in the kitchen at Le Bernardin in NYC. Working with pastry chef Michael Laiskonis and his staff was an eye opening experience. The desserts were fantastic, and I was able to sample just about every one!

The following recipe was one bestowed upon me by Chef Michael.

At the restaurant, it was the pear dessert that inspired me to do this.

All of you adventurous cooks out there who want to take a crack at this, here it is!

Procedure for Reverse Spherification

Passion Banana Base:

  • Banana puree    100 g
  • Passion puree    100 g
  • Simple syrup        50 g
  • Calcium lactate      5 g
  • Xanthan gum          1/2 tsp

Blend together with an immersion blender for about 2 minutes.

Using a piping bag, pipe into small portion silicone molds, and freeze.

(I used Wilton ‘Brownie Bites’ silicone molds. They are about the only thing close I could find.)

Procedure for Setting Bath:

  • Water                      1000 g
  • Sodium alginate  5 g
  • Sodium citrate     2 g

Combine all ingredients and shear with immersion blender for about 2 minutes. Reserve cold overnight.

Before making the ravioli:

Pull sodium alginate bath and let come to room temp.

Remove frozen fruit puree ‘bites’ from silicone mold.

Using a slotted spoon, drop bites into alginate bath.

Let set 2 minutes.

Pull from bath with slotted spoon into cold water to stop the process.

Reserve finished ravioli in cold water or simple syrup until ready to use.

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