Ricotta Dumplings

Chef Ignacio Matto’s Ricotta Dumplings

The Uruguayan Chef Ignacio Mattos of the restaurant Estela in New York City, transforms the humble ricotta cheese into some of the most exciting foods being cooked today. This recipe for Ricotta Dumpling, stimulates all five senses. Six, if you include your sense of accomplishment.

Here is the recipe, adapted from his cookbook, Estela.

Ignacio Matto’s Ricotta Dumplings

Serves 6

For the Dumplings:

1 ½ cups (350g) packed fresh ricotta

¾ cup (75g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

 

Scant 1 cup (230ml) mushroom stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 button mushrooms, chopped

½ cup (50g) finely grated Parmesan cheese

 

Drain the Ricotta: Drain the ricotta to make sure it’s firm and not too wet. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Put the ricotta in the strainer, wrap it in the cheesecloth, and weight it down with a few cans or something else that’s heavy enough to put pressure on it. Cover and refrigerate for 1 day. The result should be dense, and a soft clump of ricotta should stick to your finger when you try to take a swipe.

Make the Dumplings: When you’re ready to make the dumplings, combine the Parmesan, flour, and salt in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork; set aside. Measure out 1 cup densely packed ricotta and put it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the ricotta on medium-low speed for 2 minutes, or until thick and creamy, almost like the consistency of peanut butter. Add the egg and beat until it’s fully incorporated; scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix well for about 5 minutes. The batter will be thick and smooth.

To Form the Dumplings: Sift a generous amount of flour over a baking sheet. Find a large spoon and set out a small bowl of water. Scoop up a spoonful of batter, level it off against the edge of the batter bowl and then use the edge of a wet finger to slide it onto the baking sheet. The resulting dumpling should be somewhere between a blob and a half moon, with a little seam from where your finger was. This will be your test dumpling. Bring a small saucepan of unsalted water to a boil. Dust the test dumpling with a little more flour, drop it into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Scoop it out and cut into it, to make sure that it holds together, and it’s cooked through. If it’s not quite cooked, increase the timing to 3 ½ minutes when you cook all the dumplings. If they threaten to fall apart, add a little more flour to the batter (no more than 1 teaspoon) and shape and cook another test dumpling.

Continue forming the dumplings with the remaining batter, leaving space between the dumplings. You should have about 20 dumplings. Sift a bit more flour over the dumplings and freeze them on the baking sheet for at least 4 hours, until frozen solid. You can make these up to 3 weeks ahead of time. transfer them to a freezer bag once they’re frozen solid and return them to freezer.

To cook the dumpling, bring a medium pot of unsalted water to a boil. Drop in the dumplings, bring the water back to a boil and cook the dumplings for 3 ½ minutes or until cooked through.

Assemble: As the dumplings cook, heat the mushroom stock and butter in a pan, whisking to combine. Add the chopped mushrooms and simmer until just tender. When the dumplings are ready, drain them. Add them to the mushroom sauce and gently simmer everything for 30 seconds. Divide the dumplings and sauce between wide bowls, top with the Parmesan cheese and the sliced mushrooms and serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

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Leticia

Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp

Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp

The Taste of Darkness

Why can’t we resist black colored food?  Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp is such a case. Tinted with the ink of cuttlefish, this dark food became a favorite of my family. it goes really well with shrimp and tomato sauce. You can find the ink available in some Italian, Spanish and Japanese stores. Some fish mongers will also sell it. Or you can buy black pasta just like I did. I found it at Arthur’s Ave in New York, one of my favorite places to shop. There is absolutely nothing different than cooking this pasta from the other regular pasta that you already know.

Squid Ink Pasta

The Shrimp Stock:

In my opinion, it’s easy to discount’s the shrimp stock’s importance in this dish, especially when you have pasta water. But it’s an essential element, and it affects the flavor and texture of this Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp. Simply cook the shrimp shells in a hot pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, add cold water and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.

Shrimp Stock

My kids stay with me over the range, half cooking, half talking every time we make this dish. Then we sit and enjoy a delicious dinner. The result is incredible as anything a restaurant can provide. There is that moment of silence when we close our eyes and take the first bite, before the familiar laughter, which is the best part of dinner.

Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp

Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp

Serves 4

1 lb black squid ink pasta (spaguitti is my preference but other shape will work)

Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 lb (454g) raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1 large shallot, finely minced (about 4 tablespoons)

¼ cup white wine

1 cup shrimp stock from the shells, or chicken stock, plus more for tossing pasta (optional)

2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

 

  • Fill a pot with 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a large pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is 2 minutes away from being al dente according to package instructions. Drain the pasta while saving some of the pasta water, just in case.
  • In a 12-inch skillet warm the olive oil. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat until they just start to turn orange, about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a bowl and cover with foil. Using the oil that is left in the pan, add the garlic and cook it just starts to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the shallots and cook over low heat, scraping the juices from the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the white wine and continue to scrape the pan until every precious bit is released from the pan and flavoring the shallots and garlic. Add the shrimp stock and bring to full boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the pasta and shrimp, tossing vigorously to distribute the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and finish with tomatoes and parsley. Transfer to warm bowls and serve hot.

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

If you like what you read, tell your friends about it,

I’d love to connect with you! Please do send comments and suggestions,

If you prepare any of the recipes on the site, snap a photo and send it to me!

Follow my food adventures on Instagram !

Contact me!

And remember always,

Cook at home! Body Up! Health up! Wise up!

See you next time!

Leticia

 

Dinner on Demand: Penne A La Vodka

Dinner on Demand: Penne A La Vodka

“Mom, can you make Penne a La Vodka for us to try?”

Of course, son!

Here it is, my own version, as I share with you this easy (ridiculously easy) recipe, and yet, oh so good!

 

Penne A La Vodka

Serves 4

1 lb penne pasta

Kosher Salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 large shallot, finely minced

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

One 28-oz can whole tomatoes San Marzano

¼ cup vodka

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1- Fill a pot with 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a large pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is 2 minutes away from being al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the pasta while saving some of the pasta water, just in case.

2- In a medium sauce pan warm the olive oil over low heat, add the garlic and cook it just starts to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the shallots and season lightly with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

3- Pour the can of tomato juice (everything, tomatoes, juice) into the food processor and buzz quickly, just to break the tomatoes. Carefully pour into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until sauce starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.

4- Add the vodka and heavy cream and continue to cook, simmering gently over low heat.

5- Add the pasta and fold into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and finish with parsley and parmesan. Transfer to warm bowls and serve hot.

Pumpkin Lasagna for Pumpkin Season

Pumpkin Lasagna for Pumpkin Season

I love classic lasagna. But I love even more bold lasagnas, featuring interesting combinations—like this one. Although this recipe is a bit time consuming, once assembled, you can freeze it unbaked, or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days ahead of time. Trust me, it’s worth the effort!

This recipe is inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine. I made a similar version a few times, and then came up with my own version.

You can use pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, or any vegetable of the same family. As for the pasta sheets, using store-bought lasagna sheets is convenient, and the result is great. But when I tried using fresh lasagna sheets which are thinner and more delicate, this lasagna was elevated to a whole new level, much finer and sophisticated.

Hope you’ll be inspired to cook this amazing recipe! Be sure to take pictures and share with me when you do!

Serves 8 to 10 people

For the Pumpkin:
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small pumpkin, about 4 lbs, peeled and seeded and cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
3 garlic cloves, mashed and finely minced
1 onion, finely chopped

For the Goat Cheese-Bechamel:
4 tablespoons butter
2 sprigs fresh sage plus 1 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
3 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 oz (one small log) goat cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the Crumbs:
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 lb Lasagna sheets

Equipment: 9 X 13 baking dish, sprayed with grease

1. Cook the Pumpkin: In a large pan, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and add the pumpkin. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the pumpkin is completely soft and mashed, about 20 to 30 minutes.

2. In the meantime, in another small pan, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the garlic over low heat until just golden, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper

3. When the pumpkin is completely cooked, add the onion mixture to the pumpkin, and cook for another 5 minutes, until all flavors blend together, about 5 minutes. If you have a masher, be sure to use it. Even if the pumpkin seems completely mashed and soft, you’ll be surprised how many pieces of pumpkin you may find when you spread the filling if you don’t mash with a fork, or masher. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.

4. Prepare the Bechamel Sauce: Warm the milk in a small saucepan and keep in the back of the stove.

5. Melt the butter in a medium sized quart pan over medium heat. Add the sage sprigs and cook until the butter if fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the sage and discard.

6. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth and golden, about 2 minutes.

7. Carefully pour all of the milk into the butter/flour mixture and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

8. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a tiny pinch of cinnamon.

9. Add the goat cheese and the parmesan cheese and whisk well. Taste and make sure it’s well seasoned.

10. Reserve about 1 to 1 ½ cup of this béchamel to assemble the lasagna. Mix whatever béchamel sauce you have left with the mashed pumpkin, and taste again. This is the filling of your lasagna. It needs to taste delicious!

11. Prepare the Breadcrumbs: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the breadcrumbs and toast over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the breadcrumbs turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

12. Add the herbs, parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.

13. Assemble the Lasagna: Spread ½ cup of the reserved béchamel sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Cover with one sheet of the pasta (cut the sheet to fit your baking dish). Spread 1 cup of the squash mixture evenly over the pasta. Add another sheet of pasta, spread more squash mixture and repeat the layers of pasta and squash mixture until it fills your baking dish, leaving space for the breadcrumbs.

14. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over. You can prepare the lasagna up to 5 days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge well wrapped in film plastic. Or you can freeze the lasagna for up to 3 months.

15. Bake the Lasagna: Remove the lasagna from the fridge up to 2 hours before baking. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F and bake the lasagna until it’s hot in the center, golden all over, and bubbly on the edges, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

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