LTV Cooking Show # 1
White Lasagne with Bechamel sauce
~ 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
~ 3 Tbsp flour
~ 1 cup chicken stock, plus 1 extra cup for thinning sauce
~ 1 cup milk
~ ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
~ ½ teaspoon white pepper
~ 1 teaspoon freshly ground salt
Filling and Lasagne:
~ 8 home-made lasagne sheets, approximately 4″ x 8″ or about 10 store bought lasagne sheets, cut to size to fit an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with some overlap (this will yield 4 layers)
~ 2 organic chicken sausage links, casings removed and chopped small (mine were stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and provolone)
~ 1 large bunch arugula, washed and dried, hard stems discarded, and coarsely chopped
~ 1 cup baby peas
~ 2 cups fresh shredded mozzarella
~ 2 cups ricotta cheese
~ ¼ cup pine nuts
Prior to starting the sauce, turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
For the sauce, begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the flour, lower the heat, and continue to stir together to form a paste, or rue, for about 2-3 minutes. Add milk and chicken stock into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer, letting the sauce reduce over low-heat for about 10-15 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, and let it cool down. When reheating the sauce prior to using, slowly add the remaining cup of chicken stock to thin the sauce.
If you are using store bought lasagne, prepare according to package instructions, then cut pieces to size to fit into an 8″x8″x2″ baking dish. If using fresh dough sheets, also cut to size but do not cook dough first. Be sure to roll out the lasagne sheets when you are almost ready to start layering the baking dish or it will dry out. Any extra dough sheets can be cut into fettuccine and stored in the fridge or freezer.
Pour a thin layer of bechamel sauce at bottom of baking dish. Add a layer of lasagne sheets (2 pieces) and add a layer of ricotta first, then the sausage, arugula, mozzarella, peas, pine nuts, and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Pour some bechamel on the layer and continue by adding the next pieces of lasagne, repeating the layering process 4 times. On the very top layer, add a thicker coating of bechamel and grated Parmigiano. Bake covered in the oven for about 45 minutes, and uncover for the last 10-15. Be sure to let the lasagne rest and set for at least 15-20 minutes before cutting and serving, especially if it’s made with fresh pasta dough. (you can quickly reheat the servings in a microwave before serving, once it has set). Divide lasagne on plates, sprinkle with chopped basil and cheese, an extra dusting of nutmeg and serve.
LTV Cooking Show # 2
Homemade Ravioli with Fresh Tomato Sauce
The first thing to do is make a portion of pasta dough (see my post about pasta dough). Let the ball of dough rest for a couple of hours and then roll out long sheets of dough using the pasta roller attachment for a KitchenAid stand mixer.
Ricotta & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing for Ravioli (Enough for 20 ravioli):
2 cups of ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
6 large Shiitakes, thinly sliced and sautéed in olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (lightly sauté with Shiitakes)
salt and pepper to taste (approximately 2 Tsp each)
Place all the above ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. The consistency should be thick but silky smooth, a little thicker than the ricotta cheese.
To make hand-cut ravioli, lay out a 36 inch long rolled pasta dough sheet on a granite counter top, divide the sheet in half, and brush half with water, creating “windows” into which to pipe the filling. Seal the ravioli by laying the other half of the pasta dough on top, gently press the dough around the mounds of stuffing and cut the individual ravioli with a fluted pastry cutting wheel. I like the finished product because the ravioli look artisanal and hand-made.
If using a ravioli form, the process is basically the same. Roll out one sheet of pasta dough at a time, then cut it in half and drape one half on the metal form with jagged cutting edges. Gently press down into the dough to create a small pocket in each square of the form. Then pipe the stuffing from the pastry bag into each pocket. With a food brush “paint” water around the edges of the dough sheet and around each individual pocket, then lay the other half of the pasta dough sheet on top. Using a rolling pin, roll across the form several time until the jagged metal edges of the form come through the dough. Finally, turn the form upside down on a piece of wax paper sprinkled with corn flour, and push all the ravioli out of the form onto the wax paper. They are still connected to one another and they could be separated then. But it’s much easier to freeze the ravioli overnight and separate them from each other once they’re frozen. The frozen ravioli will keep in the freezer for several months.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
4 cups (1 qt) plain, unseasoned tomato sauce (or chopped fresh tomatoes, drained)
¼ cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 small onion or 2 shallots, chopped
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes
chopped rosemary and oregano
Sauté the garlic and onion (or shallot) in the olive oil until translucent and golden. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, rosemary and oregano. If using chopped tomatoes, the sauce needs to stew longer until half the liquid is reduced and to allow the flavors to blend well. Add the basil to the sauce toward the end, and top with more freshly chopped basil when serving.
LTV Cooking Show # 3
Cioppino and Baby Lettuce Salad
Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco and is comparable to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine. Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in the dish’s place of origin is typically a combination of dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either sourdough or baguette.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 14 ounces diced or crushed tomatoes in juice
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups lobster (or fish) stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 10-12 little neck clams, scrubbed
- ½ pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- ½ pound uncooked extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ pound assorted firm-fleshed fish (salmon, halibut, cod, etc.) cut into 1″ chunks
- ½ cup lump crab meat
- Fresh oregano sprigs for seasoning
- Fresh tarragon sprigs for seasoning and garnish, plus 1 Tbsp chopped
- Fennel fronds for garnish
- Sliced toasted ciabatta or sourdough bread, for mopping up broth
Heat the oil in a large stockpot or marmite over medium-low heat. Add the fennel, onion, and shallot, and sauté until golden and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the pepper flakes, salt, garlic, and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, diced or crushed tomatoes with their juices, wine, lobster stock, bay leaves, oregano and tarragon sprigs. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend well, about 30 minutes.
Add the clams and mussels to the stockpot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the clams and mussels begin to open. Add the shrimp, fish chunks, and crab meat. Simmer and stir gently until fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, about 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and red pepper flakes, if necessary.
Ladle the fish stew and some extra broth into large soup bowls. Add the fennel and tarragon sprig garnish, and a sprinkle of chopped tarragon. Lean one or two slices of toasted, crusty bread against the side of the bowl, and serve steaming hot.
LTV Cooking Show # 4
Fluke en Papillote and Caesar Salad
Fluke en Papillote
Cooking en papillote is a simple and classic technique. Steaming fish, or poultry, and vegetables in a pouch of parchment paper is a healthy way to prepare food because it hardly requires any added fat. Using your favorite seasoning and condiments in the packet adds moisture and infuses the contents with those flavors.
Ingredients (for one serving):
~ 1 small onion, sliced
~ 4 asparagus tips
~ ¼ head fennel (star anise), thinly sliced
~ 1 small leaf swiss chard
~ 1 small carrot ribbons (use vegetable peeler to slice off “ribbons”)
~ 2 Shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
~ ¼ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
~ 1 small piece of firm-fleshed fish (bass, salmon, halibut, cod)
~ chives, parsley, and fennel fronds prepped for garnish
~ lemon or lime slices for garnish
Seasoning / Dressing:
~ 2 Tbsp Ponzu or soy sauce
~ 2 tsp grated ginger
~ 2 tsp lemongrass, finely minced
~ 1 Tbsp sesame oil
~ 1 Tbsp fish sauce
~ 1 Tbsp mirin
~ 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
~ 1 Tbsp lemon juice
~ Freshly ground salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350º F, making sure to warm an oven tray in the process. Place all seasoning ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add the vegetables and toss well to coat. Cut a large parchment paper square (or use a precut sheet) and fold in half, pressing down on the crease. Open the folded parchment paper rectangle, and place the swiss chard leaf on one side of the crease, in the center. Arrange the vegetables on top of the swiss chard leaf and layer in the fish fillet. Top with a few more vegetables, and drizzle with some of the dressing before sealing. Fold the other side of the sheet on top of the vegetable-fish mound and, starting at one corner, begin making small, tight, overlapping folds down the outside edge to close packet. Place the packet on a hot oven tray and cook for about 8-10 minutes. The outer edges of the folded pouch, or “the hem”, may begin to turn a light shade of brown.
Remove pouch from oven, cut or tear the top of the packet to reveal the steaming ingredients inside. Sprinkle with chives, fennel fronds, or your favorite herbs. Plate and serve while steaming hot. No matter what you call it — en papillote, al cartoccio, in parchment paper — you will undeniably love this dramatic and effortless method to serve your healthy meals.
Caesar salad’s origin focuses on a small restaurant in Tijuana owned by Caesar Cardini in the 1920’s. Supposedly, he created the salad by taking what was available to him in the kitchen one day, and for a dramatic emphasis, he prepared the salad at patrons’ tables.
~ 1 large head fresh romaine lettuce, throughly washed and dried, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces*
~ 1 large egg, coddled in its shell (simmered in hot water for a minute or so, but not even close to the soft boiled stage)
~ 6 cloves (or more to taste) of fresh garlic, peeled
~ 1 can of anchovies or 6 salted anchovies fillets cleaned and soaked in milk for 15 minutes, and then rinsed
~ 1 lemon, juiced
~ 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
~ 1 teaspoon ground mustard
~ 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 tablespoon horseradish
~ 2 cups fresh pan toasted croutons** (preferably a good white bread loaf, although in a pinch I’ve even used English muffins and sliced bread)
~ 1 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, additional shaved slices for garnish (yes, you want real Reggiano)
~ 1-2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
~ 1 cup of good quality olive oil (at 2 GM, we’re really into California Olive Ranch EVOO)
* There’s a whole school out there that advocates tearing the lettuce into bite size pieces, and sometimes I support their position. The other Gourmaniac likes her pieces neat and symmetrical, so most of my Caesar salads are of the cut-by-knife variety. It’s up to you.)
** Cut the bread into ¾” – 1″ cubes, and toast in a large skillet over high heat in half cup good olive oil, constantly tossing or stirring them until golden brown.
Using a food processor makes preparing the dressing a cinch. Throw the garlic cloves and anchovies plus the lemon juice into the work bowl. Blitz ingredients until the garlic is finely chopped. (You may have to scrape the garlic down from the sides with a spatula.) The strength or degree of “bite” of your dressing depends upon how much garlic you use.
While your egg is coddling, add the balsamic vinegar along with the mustard, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce to the work bowl and pulse. Take the coddled egg, break it open over the work bowl and drop it in, scraping out any of the egg’s albumen that may have congealed in the shell. Pulse to combine.
There are two procedural methods for combining the olive oil: empty the work bowl’s contents into a mixing bowl and whisk in the olive oil drop by drop, or leave the contents in the work bowl and pour the olive oil into the food processor’s feed tube while the machine is running. Regardless of which method you use, you’ll end up with a thick, viscous sauce which may have to been thinned out with additional lemon juice or balsamic vinegar or both.
Now you’re ready to toss together the romaine lettuce pieces, the croutons, the dressing, and the Parmesan cheese. Place the cut romaine into a large salad bowl, add the dressing, the croutons and finally top with the cheese and a generous grind of black pepper. You can bring the bowl to the dining room table and toss the salad in front of your guests or toss prior to serving.