Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When you want gourmet.....stay home!

A few weeks ago, Brent and I along with two of our foodie friends decided to start making dinner together. This past weekend the theme was Italian so Brent and I decided to try our hands at homemade roasted squash ravioli with sage butter and walnuts. Not only had we never tried this dish, but we have never attempted making our own pasta despite owning a pasta press! While labour intensive, the ravioli was actually not so hard to make. We were surprised at how easy it was to make the pasta: simply mix flour, salt and eggs, knead til soft, then press in a pasta maker til the desired thickness is achieved.  Not so hard right? And the filling was even easier, especially since we make a roasted squash lasagna quite often. The most time consuming part was assembling the ravioli but with two people it took less than an hour. We packed up the ravioli, the rest of the ingredients, and, let's not forget two bottles of wine, and headed for our friends'.

After a glass (or two!) of wine, the meal started with a caprese salad consisting of fresh Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella, and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic, and basil. Simple yet so delicious!

Next, the ravioli. After boiling the pasta for about 3 minutes, I sauteed it with butter, sage, freshly ground black pepper and walnuts. Topped with a four cheese blend of parmigiana, provolone, asiago and fontina, the ravioli was nothing short of incredible. Since the ravioli was not served in a heavy sauce, the flavors were able to stand out, each complimenting the next. The sweet roasted squash, the savoury sage, the slight saltiness of the butter.....my mouth is watering just remembering!

Finally, we completed our meal with a third course of rainbow pasta sauteed with olive oil, garlic, panchetta, scallops, sundried tomatoes, and shaved parmigiana, Another wow! The flavor combination of the crisp panchetta and the buttery scallops was, as our friend said, magical! And anything with sundried tomatoes is already delicious in my books!

Three amazing course of Italian food and my belly was full. We all agreed that our meal was perhaps one of the best any of us had ever had. Certainly cheaper and there really is something special about eating the food that you have made yourself. So when you want gourmet folks, stay home and make it yourself!

Here are two recipes we had used as a reference for the ravioli although we certainly did not follow either exactly.