Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mezzaluna Pasta

Mezzaluna is a filled pasta, much like ravioli, only in a half moon shape. We first discovered these in an unusual way . . . we were both dieting and started eating Lean Cuisine frozen dinners for lunch, trying to count calories.  We tried their Mezzaluna Pasta one day and Tom just had to try to make his own, which of course, were much better.  This recipe makes about 16 large ravioli-style pastas, and it's vegetarian, too! There are lots and lots of different fillings and sauces you can try so play a little and have fun with them.

The finished Mezzaluna. Garnish with parsley and a little Parmesan if you like.
Ingredients for Filling & Pasta Dough
1 tbl. butter
1 tbl. olive oil
16 oz. white mushrooms, finely chopped in a food processor
½ medium onion, finely diced
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbl. Ricotta cheese
2 tbl. Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 ¾ cup pasta flour (you can use regular all purpose flour, but pasta flour is better)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
pinch of salt
2 tbl. cornstarch
2 tbl. water

Directions for Filling & Pasta Dough
·         Put butter and olive oil in a deep skillet and heat over medium heat until just hot
·         Add the mushrooms and onions, salt and pepper
·         Cook over medium heat until liquid has mostly evaporated and mixture dries out, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not brown!).  If it seems to be cooking too fast, reduce the heat.
·         Remove from heat and let cool
·         Stir in the Ricotta, Parmesan and garlic powder
·         Mix well and set aside in refrigerator (covered) until ready to fill the pasta
·         In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and a pinch of salt and whisk together well
·         Form a “well” in the center of the flour and add beaten eggs into the well
·         Stir with a fork until well blended.  If too dry add a little water.
·         On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough about 10 minutes, turning and dusting with flour as needed
·         Shape dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes
·         In a very small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together (this is to seal the edges of the pasta)
·         Unwrap the dough ball and dust lightly with flour
·         Cut dough ball into 4 equal pieces
·         Roll out one piece of dough (keeping the rest covered) with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface
·         When thin enough (see photo below) use a bowl or glass to cut approx. 3-4” circles out of the dough
Cutting the rolled out dough into circles for stuffing

 ·         Place dough circles on a floured cookie sheet as you finish them, so they don’t stick
·         Spoon about 1 tbl. of the filling into the center of each circle
Adding the filling to the dough circles, and painting the edges with the cornstarch & water mixture.
 ·         Using your fingers, paint the edges of the dough circles with the cornstarch/water mix (if the cornstarch settles to the bottom, mix it up again)
·         Fold the dough in half, over the filling, and seal the edges well using a fork
Sealing the edges with a fork.
 ·         Return the stuffed shells to the floured pan until you are ready to boil them.  First we have to make the sauce!  Don’t worry, it’s easy!

Ingredients for Sauce
·         4 tbl. butter
·         1 tb. olive oil
·         2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and finely chopped
·         1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into small slices
·         1 small onion, diced
·         1/8 tsp. white pepper
·         pinch of salt
·         ½ cup chicken broth
·         2 tbl. dry sherry
·         1 tbl. fresh parsley, chopped
·         2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed and cut into thin strips
·         1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into small strips and sauteed in butter for about 5 minutes 

Directions for Sauce
·         Melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat
·         Add the garlic, peppers, onion, white pepper and salt
·         Cook over medium heat until tender (about 5 minutes)
·         Add chicken broth, sherry, and parsley – stir together well
·         Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and continue boiling and stirring about 5 minutes
·         Remove from heat, add the spinach, and stir

Putting it all together
·         Fill a large Dutch oven about ½ full of water and bring to a boil
·         Gently add the stuffed pasta shells and boil over medium-high heat until done, about 6-7 minutes
·         Remove the pasta (gently) with a slotted spoon to a colander and let drain slightly
·         Place a few pastas on a serving plate and stop with a spoonful of the sauce and the bell peppers
·         Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley and top with Parmesan cheese if you like.  Serves 4-6.

 Funny pasta story (well, it wasn’t so funny at the time).  Not only does the chef have three heads, but we also have three four-legged "waiters" (mostly they "wait" for things to drop to the floor) – Dookie & Angel (the puppies), and Leo (the cat).  Several years ago Tom made a wonderful 5-cheese ravioli from scratch for a New Years Eve party at our house.  When we all went outside to watch fireworks, for some reason he thought it was a good idea to set the tray of stuffed raviolis on the coffee table (??).   Because they are frightened of fireworks, we of course left the dogs in the house.  This was not a good combination.  A little while later we heard more fireworks . . . this time coming from Chef Tom when he discovered ALL of the raviolis were gone!!  Angel may look sweet and innocent (photo below), but we know it was her.  Dookie would never, and there was no cat in those days.  I think of this story every time we make pasta.
Thanks for the Ravioli, Daddy!  I'm a bad dog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you! Please leave us a comment about any of our recipes you have tried, or if you have questions about any recipe. We would also like to have your feedback on the blog in general, as we are new at this and the blog is a work in progress. Thanks!