Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February 6: Ravioli Nudi (Naked Ravioli)

Edited: Holy smokes, was this amazing. I made the meatballs with 93% lean ground beef and ground pork, a 50-50 mix. I mixed in the Italian Sausage seasoning, and skipped out on the onion, because I think chopped onions in these little meatballs would be onion bombs. Besides, the key here was quick. Also, I am out of parmesan cheese (oh NOOOOO!!!) and used romano instead. A little stronger-tasting, delicious. I used more butter, maybe an additional 2 tablespoons, because I love butter, and I didn't have fresh sage, so I used Penzey's dried sage, about a tablespoon of it, crumbled between my fingers and thrown right in the brown butter for the last two minutes or so. I made rotini pasta because it looks fun and because it's easy for my kid to eat.

A resounding hit for the whole family. Meatballs=love. Pasta=love. Cheese=love. Brown butter and sage=lurrrrve. This was ready in twenty minutes, the hardest work that was required was making meatballs, and yet the brown butter and sage tasted indescribably complex, toasty and nutty and herby. Next time, to punch that up a little, I might garnish the whole thing with some chopped, toasted pecans.

I am going to try this dish, like, tonight. Seriously, that's how good it sounds to me. I found it on Bitten, the new food blog by genius and author Mark Bittman. Serious about the genius thing too; if he started a religion, I would totally join.

I probably won't go for the veal and pork though, those aren't always easy to find--I'm thinking lean ground beef, or ground turkey. Turkey might not hold together that well when poached though. I think I'll try ground beef. Or, maybe ground pork with that Italian Sausage seasoning I bought at Penzey's this weekend. Hmmmmm.

This is exactly the reason that I want to worship at the Church of Mark Bittman, though: a simple, smart recipe, intelligently conceived, beautifully executed. This is the kind of cooking that has made me believe that anybody, even the people stumbling around out there saying, "Oh, I can't cook, we should just get some take-out" really should give it a try.

Give it a try, you people. Start here. Serves 4-6.

Ravioli Nudi (Naked Ravioli)

1/2 pound each veal and pork, or other ground meats
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fresh or dried pasta, any kind
4 tablespoons butter
20 sage leaves

1. In a bowl, combine meat with egg, cheese, parsley, onion, and salt and pepper. Mix well but do not knead. Form into balls 1/2 inch in diameter. Refrigerate until ready to cook. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.

2. Cook meatballs in water for about 5 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Cook pasta in same water until tender but not mushy. Meanwhile, in a medium pot cook butter and sage together until butter is light brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Before draining pasta, reserve a bit of its cooking water. Drain pasta, then toss it with butter-sage mixture and enough reserved water to make it saucy. Top with meatballs and serve, passing grated Parmesan at the table.

No comments: