Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Squash Carmelli with Brown Butter and Sage

Hi friends!

I have the most simple and delicious recipe to share with you tonight. It's really wonderful on a blustery, chilly day, and amazing for lunch the day afterwards! I'm talking about beautiful home made pasta, filled with hearty squash, fresh sage and smothered in nutty brown butter and a bit more sage. Yum! The word carmelli describes the cute as a button candly-like shape of the pasta, but really you can shape your pasta however the heck you want to...gigantic rustic ravioli would be tasty!

I don't think people realize how simple making your own pasta can be....especially if you happen to be the proud owner of a pasta roller! However, even if you don't have a roller, it's still extremely simple. All you need are eggs and flour!

Before I get too ahead of myself talking about home made pasta, I better talk about how to create this dish!

 It's easiest to cook the squash you're using before starting on anything else. You can really use any type of winter squash you'd like to, but I used carnival and buttercup squash, simply because that is what we had in the cupboard!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Quarter your squash, and scoop out the seeds.
Place the quarters on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little bit of water, and salt and pepper.
Now simply throw your squash into the oven and remove them when they are soft throughout. Use a fork to tell if they are or not.
Let the squash cool enough for you to handle on the baking rack!

Next it's time to make your pasta dough! I never really use a recipe, I just pour out as much flour as I think I'll need, and add enough eggs to create a smooth, yet dry dough! I add a few tablespoons of water to bring the dough together if it's a bit too dry. You will want the dough to stick to itself, but not another surface such as a counter, because you'll need to be able to roll it through the pasta roller!

Let the pasta dough sit while you create your filling! Letting it sit allows the gluten to take a break and this will make your dough easier to roll out, and less "springy"!

Using a spoon, I scooped the cooked squash from the skin, then mashed it with a potato masher along with chopped fresh sage, an egg to bind, salt, pepper, and finely grated firm goat cheese! So simple!

Now it's time to roll your pasta!

Whether you're using a roller or rolling the dough by hand with a rolling pin, get it as thin as you can! This will make more tender pasta.

Cut your dough with a knife into little rectangles or squares.

Spoon a little filling into the center of each square, and using your finger, dab a bit of water onto one edge of it, to seal your carmelli.

Roll the dough up, seal it, and twist the ends, like a little tootsie roll!

Next, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and toss in your pasta! Cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Gently drain your little beauties.

While you are either waiting for the water to boil or your pasta to cook, you can make a brown butter and sage sauce to top off your dish. This sauce is as easy as it's name; all that's in it is browned butter and fresh chopped sage!

In a sauce pan, heat as much butter as you'd like, with a little chopped sage, and watch it slowly tuirn golden brown. Watch it carefully and pull it off the stove as soon as it reaches this state! After turning golden it tends to burn quickly. Drizzle this nutty tasting sauce all over your gorgeous home made carmelli, and wait for the compliments to flood in.




Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Hello friends!

I am back! There is nothing more boring than reading in full description why a blogger was absent for forever, so I won’t apologize too profusely. But I will say that I do finally have a new computer and am more excited than ever to start blogging again! This puppy ain't no Mac, that’s for sure…but it will do for now! My life is quite different this year than it was last, I am no longer a full time student…I have a full time job! I am taking one class at the university still…just because, but it’s really (really) lax. All these big changes have come about because of my decision to go to culinary school! I think about it every single day. However, I need a little more than the will to go to get there. That’s why I’m working! I have a few ideas of where I would love to go, but I find myself flip flopping constantly - I am sure you will soon become aware of this, so I won’t name any places quite yet! Anyways, I hope you are all as excited to see me back on here as I am…here’s a recipe for some cupcakes!

Oh yes, and I decided to come back to blogspot. I missed the comments, the communication, the love! I really did. I think this will be a great switch back.

After Thanksgiving, there was an extra can of pumpkin sitting in the cupboard, just tempting me to make some sort of pumpkin laced dessert... I finally decided on something a little plain jane, but nonetheless delicious. Cupcakes with a good ol' dab of cream cheese icing! These little gems did not rise up to normal "cupcake" form, and therefore ended up looking more like muffins...however, once you take a peek at the amounts of sugar in this recipe, you will see that these are no muffins.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup soft butter
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pop muffin tin liners into your pan or pans!
Beat together the sugars, butter and eggs until well combined.
Stir together the flour, baking powder and soda, and spices in the measuring cup or a medium sized bowl.
Add the combined dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and combine!
Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
Pour batter into the liners about 3/4 full.
Bake cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out of the center of the fattest cupcakes squeaky clean!

For the icing, I simply beat together a brick of plain cream cheese, a dash of almond milk, and a truck load of icing sugar. It was extremely sweet, hence the heart shaped icing (so you didn't get a full cupcake top's worth of the stuff). To do this, I just loaded my icing into a big zip lock bag, snipped a corner of it, and iced away!

These cupcakes were so moist! I brought them to work and they were all gone by noon, a good sign I'd say!