Monday, July 27, 2009

Inspried by Costco......

My husband and I found out our Costco card had expired when, back in February, we were checking out and the gal behind the register said out card had been ‘dead’ since October! Because we were only buying like $17.00 worth of goods, she allowed us to make our purchase, then took my husbands card and sent us on our way. Times being what they are, we didn’t renew our cards then and still haven’t to this day. I have to say, I’ve missed Costco. Now, we’ve never walked out with a full cart (although I’ve always half envied/half wondered about the people who do) – heck – we’ve walked out with a $6+change double bag of yakisoba noodles! I don’t know anyone who walks out of Costco with just a bag of yakisoba and a receipt for under 10 bucks! Anyway….as I said, I’ve been missing Costco a lot lately but am in no way prepared to pony up 50 smacks to go walk through the door let alone make a purchase! But….I had a way in anyway.

Back in February, checker-girl never asked if I had a card! So, yesterday, my husband and I walked right through the front door, I flashed my expired card and we browsed those lovely isles till our heart’s content! We had a little lunch consisting of a wonderful multigrain tortilla chip dipped in my favorite mango-peach salsa, a single, perfect, cheese-stuffed tortellini, a ¼ ‘sandwich’ of thin-sliced ham on an awesome whole wheat ‘bunbread’ thingy and a tiny paper cup of a chocolaty, coffee frappy concoction. Let me tell you, if you abstain from Costco for months at a time, this kind of outing can be a real treat! We walked out of the store empty-handed, of course, but I did take one thing with me……a love for their tortellini.Now, one doesn’t just go home and make tortellini from scratch when they’ve never made it before…but they do, apparently, dive into scratch ravioli ‘cause that’s just what I did! Well…..I had played a few games of backgammon first , but then the urge was just to strong and I HAD to do it!

We’re totally into trying to really utilize the food and ingredients we have on-hand at home and I knew I could probably eek out some tastily-stuffed pasta pillows. This was my first-ever attempt at any kind of pasta and I have to say, it was fun, pretty gosh-darn easy. My daughter came downstairs just as I’d finished them and I said, “I made ravioli!” . She stared at them and said, “You just like…made’em?!”, like I’d just gotten a wild hair to whip them up outta thin air to which I replied, “Yup!”, it was so fun! Although more practice wouldn’t kill me, for my first try, these were awesomely good! My husband and daughter cleaned their plates (we had fresh-caught salmon too…thanks, Kelly!) and that’s always a sure sign of success! So without further delay….here’s my virgin pasta pictorial!

On VERY clean counters (thanks Hubs!), you mound 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons salt and make a well in the middle - just like you always see them do on TV.
You add three egg yolks and one whole egg. Next, you begin mixing it all by hand, adding between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water till it comes together in a nice yet rather ugly mass - then you knead it to be a bit smoother, 'cuz it's kinda lumpish. Also, I don't know if the rulle of pastry applies here - you know the one about too much handling make a tough dough? But just in case, I didn't handle mine very much. I'd have taken a pic but my hands were waaaay coated!
Once you have a pretty good looking ball, cut it in half. One half will become the bottom of the ravs and the other, the top!
You want to roll out the dough as thinly as possible. A challange without a pasta machine - but this was a nice 1/8th inch roll-out if not less. I got it thiiiiin.....
Then I used my small-sized scoop and plopped out my filling. I had about a half a large container of ricotta left from a prior use, then addded a handful of shredded cheddar, about 1/3 cup parm, some fresh chopped thyme and chives, some dried basil and oregano, a tiny bit of salt, some pepper, three cloves of pressed garlic and a dash or two of cayenne. This was all by the seat of my pants - you can fill'em with whatever you like!
Then I rolled out the other piece of dough, trying to get it pretty close in size and shape as the firt piece. I used a pastry brush to paint all around each filling mound, then laid the second piece of dough atop the filling-plopped dough.
I pressed around each mound - *note: make sure you don't seal a pocket of air in with the cheese mound. If you do, go back and poke a hole in the dough by the filling and 'squeeze' out the air and press/seal the hole.
I used a pizza cutter to trim the rough edges of the raviolis, then cut them into individual, lovely, little pouches-o-pleasure. Using a small off-set spatula, I lifted each ravioli and dusted their tacky bottoms very lightly with flour so they wouldn't stick to my cooling rack while they dried. Now, I don't know if ravioli really needs to dry like regular pasta noodles (Betty Crocker says to let thin pasta strips dry for two hours), but I decided it couldnt hurt - and it wasn't dinner time anyway. So I let mine sit a total of about 3 hours. When I was ready, I boiled them in salted water for only about 4 minutes (fresh pasta cooks super fast!), till they'd floated for a minute or so. Then I transfered them to a hot skillet that had melted butter, garlic , pepper and parmesean cheese waiting to greet the little fellows and they got a good tossing around before being slid onto a warm platter in the oven. Normally you could serve them right out of the pan, but I boiled my ravs in two batches so as to not over crowd them in the water or the buttery garlic ;-)And here they are! They were so savory and hot and cheesy and yummy! I wish I had cut one in half and shown you the molten insides....but what can I say...they just all went right down my gullet! They were too good! This will NOT be the last time I make these though...I can assure you of that. They're cheap, easy and delicious - it doesn't get much better than that!


Caren said...

OMG that looks so good!!

Me said...

You gotta try's so fun AND yummy!