Spinach and Ricotta Naked Ravioli

Scandalous name for a post, no?

That’s just the kind of mood I’m in

Does that sound bad?

Eh, it happens

I actually got the idea for this recipe here

Only I upped the ante by making my own butter and ricotta for the ravioli

I’m so fancy

So what exactly is a “naked” ravioli?

Let me break it down for ya

You know when it’s summer, and sweltering hot, and you’re trying to sleep but your damn blanket is making you so sweaty so you end up throwing it off in a fit of rage in the middle of the night? Wel,l that’s how I imagine naked ravioli was born. The little spinach ricotta filling just got too hot one day and while baking in the oven split open its little pasta blanket shell. And whoever was making them thought “why don’t I just get rid of this shell and let this ‘oli breath?”

That’s why these are such an awesome summer recipe, they are comforting and creamy thanks to the ricotta and the spinach keeps it fresh. And because there’s no pasta, there is no carb overload to weigh you down.

But wait, the plot (or rather, the sauce) thickens!

I dressed these raviolis ever so lightly with a brown butter sage sauce

What you’ll need:

2 cups of fresh Spinach – when cooked…roughly 2 bunches

2 cups Ricotta

1 cup Parmesan, grated

1 Egg

1 tsp. Nutmeg

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 stick Butter

1 bunch Sage, stems trimmed

What to do with it:

Preheat the oven to 500

Cook the spinach in 1 of 2 ways – wilt in a pan or boil for 1 minute. Don’t kill the spinach, you want it to retain some form, but you don’t want it to be stiff

Drain spinach thoroughly – squeeze it until you think it can’t be squeezed anymore. Excess water will ruin your ravioli’s curvacious figure

Once drained, roughly chop the spinach

Combine Spinach, Ricotta, Parmesan, Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg in a bowl and mix well with your hands. Don’t be afraid to get them a little dirty

Scoop out Tablespoons of the mixture and roll into a ball – I prefer them be oval, but if a round ball tickles your fancy, go for it

Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil
Cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes until the tops are gently brown

While they are cooking, heat butter in a pan on medium heat

Allow the butter to brown ever so slightly then add the sage leaves, cooking until the leaves begin to crisp and curl

*I have added the sage at the same time as the butter and found that the leaves crisp up too much and end up tasting just a little too burned plus the burnt pieces break off and muddle the gorgeous color of the browned butter

When the naked raviolis are done place them on your serving platter and top each with a few sage leaves, then pour butter across the tops

Maybe pair it with a refreshing gin and tonic?

Just a thought

Blueberry Scones

Up until recently, I have not been a big breakfast person.

I love cereal, but usually in the afternoon, or as a midnight snack.

The typical breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns followed by an overwhelming food coma is a rare occurrence for me.

It was really only after doing my raw food challenge that I discovered the beauty of raw overnight oats and have since incorporated Greek yogurt, nuts, almond flour, and berries into the mix. Some variation of this is now my breakfast staple. I love the crunch of the nuts and oats, the bright tartness of the berries and the rich and filling creaminess of the Greek yogurt.

Isn’t it just gorgeous?

BUT something must be said about a breakfast pastry every once in a while. Not the overly decadent ones with globs of glaze or doughnuts that have sprinkles or Lucky Charms adhered to the top.

Although sometimes pastries like this Apple Pecan Bun with a maple glaze is much appreciated.

No, no, I talking about a good old fashioned pastry, like a scone.

A blueberry scone, to be exact.

Perhaps a scone with a fantastic blueberry goat cheese spread.

Yes, that’s my kind of pastry.

I adapted this recipe from my homegirl, Martha Stewart, ’cause sometimes, nobody does it better than Martha.

What you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/3 cup low fat milk (2%)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Here’s what you do with it:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a bowl, mix together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt

Make the work easier by cutting up the butter into small pieces and incorporate

Then toss in your blueberries and zest

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream and egg

Slowly incorporate your wet mixture into your dry mixture

Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together

Place mixture onto a floured cutting board and knead gently a few times

*I opted to make round scones by scooping out a heaping tablespoon of batter onto a baking sheet

Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar

Bake for 20-22 minutes

 

Aren’t they beautiful?

Now, onto the spread!

These are rough measurements, but basically:

4-5 oz goat cheese, softened

3/4 cup blueberries

Release the days frustrations on these blueberries, squishing them in your hands letting the juice drip onto the goat cheese

Then scrap the peels and seeds off your hands and add that to the cheese

Mix together with a spoon

That’s it

Spread generously on top of your cooled halved scones

Yea, they were perfection in the morning.

And in true breakfast food form, I ate them in the afternoon, and at midnight too.

What’s your favorite breakfast, pastry and otherwise?

Oven Roasted Tomatoes with a Goat Cheese Filling

The Friday before Matt left for Germany in July he told me to get dressed in something nice – heels included – because he was taking me out to a fancy dinner. Oo la la. As we were walking toward the Embarcadero I happened to notice a girl with bright red lipstick, straight across bangs and a tye dye shirt walking in the opposite direction. I did a double take and realized it was none other than my friend, Dolly. She and I met a couple years ago and became seriously inseparable, over the past year though we have drifted apart due to moves to the East Bay, far away jobs and hectic schedules. We hung out a few months ago at her new place and had a blast, promising to do it again soon.

Then finals happened. Then then I moved and my second job started. Needless to say, my social life took a few punches.

As soon as I realized it was Dolly walking in my direction I screamed her name and ran over to her. A little awkwardly I might add since I was wearing 5 inch heels and the sidewalk was all brick. Her first words to me were something like “I’m pretty sure finals are over biy-atch. Why haven’t we hung out yet?!” Apologizing profusely, I told her that after Tuesday I would be available since the next few days I would be helping Matt get ready to leave for his month or so long trip to Germany.

We hugged and promised to text.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning. I log into Facebook at 9am and have a comment from Dolly. “It’s after Tuesday. WHERE IS MY KRISTINA RINA TIME?! ♥ Hehe.”

This girl doesn’t mess around. So I text her right then and there asking what she was doing that night. Literally 30 seconds later she text back,  “hanging with choo.”

It was on. We made plans for her to come over after she got off work and I set to thinking of a dinner menu. Dolly is vegetarian and allergic to bananas which is a total bummer cause I have really been wanted to make a banana encrusted pork shoulder. Just kidding.

Last time I was at Dolly’s house she introduced me to the creamy glorious wonder that is goat cheese. Halfway into our log of it, her roommate’s girlfriend explained to me how she used to have a real problem with it. She would go through about a log a night. No joke – for the next 4 days I ate a log a day, going to far as to have my friend who works at the market up the street from my job straight up deliver me some on his lunch break.

Yea, it got real. Fast.

Goat cheese and I had to call it quits, but as old lovers often do, we got back together a few months ago. Things are going well so far, we are just taking it slow and in moderation. But when we first rekindled the flame, Matt was gone, and I’d been feeling a little lonely. So I went and bought 2 large logs of the good stuff and intended to use them both for my dinner with Dolly.

I didn’t want to just make some simple vegetarian dish like pasta, so I did a little searching online and got the idea to mix the goat cheese with garlic and basil and stuff it inside a tomato and then bake it.

I got my oven heating to 425 and put the log of goat cheese in between the burners on the stove (none of the burners were lit) to let it soften a little from the warming oven.

I started with 4 tomatoes still on the vine. I cut the very tops off and used a knife and a spoon to cut and scoop their insides out then I cut off the very bottoms of the tomatoes to make sure that they sat straight.

For the filling I took my cheese off the stove, unwrapped it and put it in a bowl. I then minced 5 cloves of garlic and added that to the cheese. Now the original recipe I saw for this only called for 2 cloves for a lot more cheese but:

1. I love garlic

2. I wasn’t gonna be making out with anyone so I really didn’t care if my breath wasn’t smellin’ like a rose.

I then added a moderate amount of dried basil. I would have preferred to use fresh but when I was at the market they were out of regular and were selling what looked to be 3 leaves of organic basil for 2.49…my dried stuff was just fine.

I mixed this all together and then added 1 egg and beat everything together until it was oh, so smooth.

I then loaded up those beautiful red tomato shells to the brim with the cheese. Actually I filled them up a little more, like half an inch over the top. For good measure. And because I had extra cheese mixture.

Then I took the tops of the tomatoes and put them back on. Like a hat.

I staggered the tomatoes in an oven safe dish like this

I put them in the oven for 35 minutes and until the skin looked a little wrinkled and the cheese was smelling wonderful.

Once on the plate, we barely even needed a fork, let alone a knife, to cut through the tender skin and melted cheese. It took a ton of self control to not just slice the tomato into 4 pieces and pop them into my mouth at the speed of light. But I refrained. I took small, ladylike bites and savored the light, yet bold flavor. All the while sitting on the floor of my kitchen with Dolly and a bottle of wine.

God, I love goat cheese.

Great Balls of Fire!

As you can see from my previous post, last night we had our tropical Cuban feast. There was obviously too much food, though we were starving Matt and I only made a dent in the dishes. So what is the money conscious college couple to do? Make deep fried rice balls with the leftover coconut rice. Duh.

Take said fantastic leftover rice out of the fridge. If you do not have rice in your fridge from a previously cooked feast (hopefully my Cuban tropical feast), please make some rice, and take it out of the pot.

Make sure your rice is somewhat sticky/starchy. Cause now you are going to roll it into compact little balls – if they somewhat resemble a large spit wad – you’re doing it right.

(The brown spot on the middle ball is a few grains of rice with cinnamon on them, not gross. Promise).

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