Good Morning Ladies and Gents. I come to you today with a tale to share…a CSA tale to be specific. I mentioned last post there was only one meal inspiring me to write and today, I’m going to share that meal and my weekly CSA share with all of you. Thanks for stopping by, and get ready for some verbage…literally. My word count is gonna be off the charts.
Before we get started, I have to give a shout out to my favorite CSA mamas for hosting our weekly link up parties. Without you, we are nothing. It’s you ladies who make this all possible, so thank you, thank you, thank you.
We have officially entered week three of my winter CSA program, and I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads in bewilderment, wondering what the heck happened to week two. No? You didn’t remember my last post was about week one? Hmm…strange how the random details of my life don’t stick with you. In any event, I was without power for a period, so I told my CSA partner in crime to keep all of week two to herself. As a result, it meant the entire week three share was mine….all mine. Excellent.
Here it is, in all it’s glory.
We got cauliflower, cauliflower…oh, how I love cauliflower. Alright, we just got one head of the white stuff, but I wanted to share it in sing-song, so I hope you read my mind, with your psychic powers, and saw it that way too. If not, you should go back and read it again, with a little musicality this time.
Speaking of heads, we got a beautiful head of leaf lettuce, a crazy big bundle of parsley, two tomatoes, four sweet potatoes, a bunch of radishes, two more bulbs of garlic (and it continues!!), and one phallic shaped butternut squash. Hey this one is not my fault; I can’t help the squashes shape. I didn’t create it, but I think somebody up there is either a) telling us to get it on Marvin Gaye style or b) a man, obsessed with his own junk.
Lets talk about how I put my produce to use.
Y’all know the garlic is getting eaten because I’m putting down garlic bread like a champ. I used one of the tomatoes in my pasta with Kalmata olives, parsley, feta cheese, and wait for it….more garlic. I had some killer breath that night. Even the cats were scared of me, and I’m sure I smelled lovely the next day at the gym, with garlic sweating out of my pores. This is one of the many benefits of being a married woman though. The Hubby promised to love me for better or worse, which means I can eat as much garlic as my little heart desires, and he still has to share a bed with to me.
Let me tell you my friends (Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your ears), this dish is not for the faint of heart. I repeat, if you aren’t a big fan of cooking, Do Not Try This At Home. It’s a labor of love, and to be frank, three days of labor for me, with a minimal amount of love.
I started the process on Saturday by roasting my butternut squash and puree-ing it’s lovely goodness. So far, so good.
I picked back up Sunday morning by tackling the pasta dough. At this point, I was a little over-confident because I’ve rolled out pizza dough on plenty of occasions, and I could make a pie crust with one hand tied behind my back. Alright that’s not true, I really need two hands, but it’s safe to say, I know my way around some dough so I might have been a little cocky (wink, wink).
That changed real quick when I read the instructions….”knead and fold the dough until it is elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes.” Knead, what the hell is kneading? Yeah sure, I’ve heard the term before, but have I ever actually kneaded something? Not so much, so I googled it. After a quick tutorial, I was ready, and I kneaded my dough balls (wink, wink) for a good fifteen minutes each. I’m not sure if they ever reached elastic and smooth, but I do know, I was done. Kneading ain’t easy. Pimping either.
With the dough balls chilling in the fridge, I moved onto the filling. I sautéed some butter, shallots and added my squash puree, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, seasoning and soy milk. A little taste here, a little more cheese there, and viola…ravioli filling.
At this point, I was exhausted and my arms hurt from all that heavy kneading, so I texted my very Italian girlfriend and asked her if I could leave the dough in the fridge longer than the required 30 minutes. She assured me it would keep fine, but asked about my pasta machine. Again, I was at a loss. Pasta machine? What’s that? I shared my grand plan with her and needless to say, I wasn’t a fan of her response, although I think she had been drinking….
After I “gave up and had lentil stew for dinner,” I decided to attempt rolling out the pasta dough. My arms felt good, my belly was full, so I went for it, and let me tell you, this was quite the operation. I even busted out the measuring tape to ensure my pasta was 1/8 of an inch thick and my ravioli squares were exact. Exact is important to us OCD folks.
In any case, they were done, so I wrapped them up in wax paper and a Tupperware and popped them into the fridge for safe keeping or at least until dinner on Monday night.
All day Monday, I kept thinking about my little ravioli babies and talked incessantly about them at work. I even forced my coworkers to look at the pictures. Needless to say, the anticipation was building, and I couldn’t wait to get home and get cooking.
I gently lowered my little babies into some boiling water and started on the Brown Butter and Sage sauce. You really can’t go wrong with butter and fresh herbs, well unless your butter is rancid. Other than that, you’re fine.
Once they were a float, which took longer than the three to five minutes the recipe projected, I plated the ravioli and got ready to get my eat on. I haven’t been this excited for a meal in quite some time. I even busted out the stem ware and had a glass of wine, which is rare for a school night (I still call them school nights even though I haven’t been in school in more years than I care to say).
The brown butter and sage sauce was magical. The filling was tremendous; a flavor explosion in my mouth, and the ravioli…well I think I bit off my more than I could chew. Literally. They were as hard as hockey pucks and nearly impossible to chew. The Hubby disagrees with my description, but only because it’s in his best interest to do so.
Cue violin….it was a sad night indeed as we ate our way around the ravioli dough, and I guzzled my wine, for very different reasons than I had originally intended. The only one unphased by the whole ordeal was Oscar. It’s hard to throw a kitten off his game.
After days of labor, sore muscles, the excitement followed by the inevitable heart-break, I can say, “I will never, ever, ever, make homemade ravioli again. Like ever.” I will also never flinch at the price of fresh pasta in a restaurant again.
Have you made homemade pasta before? Would you? What’s the hardest dish you’ve done, and was it a success? What’s your biggest kitchen flop? C’mon, don’t be shy. I shared mine.
P.S. I have another dough ball in my freezer, so if you know where I went horribly wrong, please share it with me and I may actually try this insanity again. Or I may take the dough ball outside and stomp his ass. 😉