Gyoza / Potstickers Recipe

Gyoza… what is there to say about gyoza?

Done right, these are supremely addictive. Yes, they’re supposed to be an appetizer, usually served 3-5 pieces per person… but I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve made a meal of them. (No, I’m not admitting to how many constitute a “meal”, either!). They’re ingredient-intensive and a bit of work, but SO worth it!

I love gyoza with a ton of flavour, so I developed this recipe with that in mind. The filling can be made a day ahead, just keep it well chilled. Finished gyoza can be frozen before frying/steaming – just be sure to allow them to thaw completely before cooking.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free recipe for Gyoza, look no further than my first gluten-free cookbook, Beyond Flour.

(Fun fact: The photos you’re looking at in this blog entry are actually of the gluten-free ones!).

Homemade Gyoza
Makes about 40

1/2 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
1-2 Tbsp grated ginger
5 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 green onions, finely chopped
1-2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp crushed chilies
1/2 tsp tsp sugar
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped/shredded
Gyoza/potsticker wrappers (about 40)
Sesame, olive, or vegetable oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage and salt, stirring to evenly distribute the salt. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes – this will draw the moisture out of the cabbage. Once time is up, squeeze as much water out of the cabbage as you can, discarding the water. Place the squeezed cabbage back into the mixing bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients – aside from the wrappers and oil – to the bowl, and mix thoroughly. I like to use my hands for this – does a much better job of distributing everything than any mixing spoon will!

Cover and chill until ready to use.

To Assemble and Cook:

Roll filling into tight 1″ balls, placing one in the middle of each wrapper.

Use a finger/pastry brush dipped in water to moisten the edges of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling, creating a half circle. As you do this, try to push out as much of the air from the inside as possible – excess air can cause them to burst.

If you have a dumpling press, use it to seal and crimp the edges, or pleat the edges like this:



If you don’t have a dumpling press, you can fold and crimp the edges freehand. (It’s fussy though!)

Heat up 2 Tbsp vegetable, olive, or sesame oil in a frying pan – I prefer to use nonstick for this – and arrange a single layer of gyoza in the pan – not touching each other, frill side facing up. Cook until bottom side is nicely browned.

Alternatively: If you like your gyoza extra crispy, arrange them on their sides in the pan. Cook until the first side is nicely browned, flip and brown the other side before proceeding.

Once the bottom is browned to your liking, pour 1/3 cup of warm water into the pan, and quickly cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes without removing the lid.

After 2-3 minutes, remove the lid and allow Gyoza to continue cooking until all of the water has cooked off. Repeat in batches, as necessary.

Serve hot, with Gyoza sauce

Gyoza Sauce

1/2 cup Gyoza sauce
1/4 cup Rice vinegar
1 tsp crushed chilies

Stir ingredients together, refrigerate til serving.

Extra crispy – fried on both sides

Traditional – Fried on bottom

Gluten-Free Roasted Beet Gnocchi

Today, we announced that preordering is open for Beyond Flour 2, so what better way to mark the occasion, than to share a great gluten-free recipe?

This recipe almost made it into the book. We had this one and an amazing sweet potato gnocchi. Loved them both, but the photos for the sweet potato ones looked more book-worthy!

While potatoes are obviously traditional for gnocchi, don’t overlook using other root veggies – they pack a ton of great flavour. Also, by roasting these beets, we avoid one of the big problem areas of making traditional gnocchi – boiling potatoes. Being roasted, rather than boiled prevents the beets from being waterlogged – so heavy, doughy, waterlogged dumplings aren’t likely to happen!

As with traditional gnocchi though, you’ll want to handle every stage of mixing with a light hand – keep it as fluffy and loose as possible up to the point of rolling. Handling everything gently will ensure that you’ll end up with soft, pillowy gnocchi.The texture on these is great – actual gnocchi. No gumminess or sandyness, they were easy to work with and held together well.

We love the rich, earthy flavour of the beets… and that is complimented perfectly by the tartness of the goat cheese, and bright flavour of the basil and a little lemon juice.

As pictured, we doubled the recipe, making one batch out of red beets, and another batch out of golden beets. Fussy, yes – but pretty!

Gluten-free Roasted Beet Gnocchi with Goat Cheese and BasilMakes about 4 servings

2 1/2-3 lbs beets (Red or golden)
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup Sweet rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 Large eggs, beaten
Potato starch for rolling
Salt
1 cup Butter
1/4 cup Fresh basil leaves, packed
2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Goat cheese

Wash beets, pat dry. Place beets on a large piece of aluminum foil, folding edges up to create a pouch around the them. Roast at 375 for about 1 hour, or until beets are quite tender.

Allow to cool slightly, then rub the skins off the beets with some paper towels (or your bare hands – expect some staining!).

In a food processor, blitz roasted beets until smooth. Measure 2 cups of puree into a large bowl, reserving the rest for a future use (can be frozen.) Allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, starch, salt, and xanthan gum to combine well. Add flour mixture to cooled beet puree, gently fold to combine. Add eggs, once again gently folding to combine. Cover tightly with plastic film, Chill for 1 hour.

Generously dust your work surface with potato starch. Dump gnocchi dough out, knead gently to bring together into a soft ball. If the dough is sticky, add a little potato starch until it’s workable.

Divide dough into 8-10 roughly equal pieces. One at a time, roll each out into long “snakes”, each about the thickness of a thumb. Cut each roll into bite-sized pieces, about 3/4″- 1″ long.

If you’re feeling lazy, you can cook these up as-is. Otherwise, you can roll them over a fork to produce the traditional ridged gnocchi shape. There are many possible ways to do this, and you may want to play with it a bit until you find your own groove. For me, I gently (but firmly!) roll each gnocchi over the back of the fork, aiming towards the pointed ends of the tines. As I roll, the gnocchi will curl over itself into a slight “c” shape. Practice, experiment, and if necessary – Youtube has great tutorials for a variety of methods.

Start a pot of boiling water, and salt it well. Bring it to a gentle, not rolling boil, and cook your gnocchi in batches. As they float to the top, allow them to cook another minute or so before using a slotted spoon to remove them, transferring to a clean bowl or plate.

In a large nonstick pan, melt butter. Chop basil leaves, add to pan along with lemon juice, stir well. Cook for a few minutes, until butter starts to brown. Add cooked gnocchi to the pan, toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve hot, sprinkled with crumbled goat cheese

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Creamy Creole Pasta … Gluten-Free!

This weekend, amidst dealing with ALL OF THE PEPPERS (more on that later this week!), I had a weird craving.

I really wanted creole food… but then I also really wanted pasta. I think the change in weather lately just put me right in the mood for pasta, for something creamy… but also loaded with the flavours of southern cuisine. So, I decided to freestyle it, and came up with this dish.

Oh MAN… I think it may now be my favourite pasta dish ever. Total comfort food, elevated a bit – I could live on this. The flavours and textures were perfect. and everything worked SO well together.

While it’s traditional to chop celery to roughly the same size as the onion and green peppers in Creole – or Cajun, for that matter – cooking, I decided that I wanted to “Star Trek” my celery. (Slice at an angle, making little celery Star Trek insignias!), for a bit more crunch, and a prettier dish.

Also, a note: While I would normally use Andouille sausage for this – and it would be FANTASTIC – we used a smoked turkey sausage. Beef and pork haven’t really been agreeing with my husband lately… so poultry it is!

Creole Pasta
Makes about 4 servings

1 lb gluten free pasta
1 lb Andouille or smoked sausage of choice, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 green Pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 brown rice flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Plan to strain pasta when it’s JUST about tender enough, but in the meantime:

In a large saucepan, brown sausage. Add celery, onion, and green pepper; saute until tender. Remove from pan, set aside.

Add butter to pan, stir until melted. Sprinkle rice flour over melted butter; cook – stirring frequently – until the flour paste (roux) turns a golden brown. (Go darker if you’re comfortable with making roux!).

Carefully add white wine to pot – it will steam violently – and whisk until smooth. Add chicken broth, milk, cayenne powder and herbs, continue whisking until once again smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add sausage and vegetable mix to the pot, along with strained pasta. Cook over medium heat until some of the liquid is absorbed by the pasta, and it is as tender as you like it. Add shrimp, stir, and heat just until shrimp is cooked through.

Serve hot, sprinkled with green onions.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Marie’s Pasta Salad Recipe

So I have a weird confession to make: Although I’m not a picky eater by ANY means, I’ve always hated pasta salad. Early on, the pasta salads I’d been exposed to were gross – way too sweet, or salty, or the pasta was too firm, or the sauce was too bland. Up until very recently, I’ve completely avoided pasta salad since I was probably about 12 years old or so.

Recently our friend Trevor (Who you may know as “Mr J” – and if you don’t, you probably should!) brought a tub of deli macaroni salad to one of our potluck parties. My first – completely internal, as I was NOT raised by wolves! – instinct was “blech.. macaroni salad!” (Sorry, Trevor!)… until I noticed that it had cubed cheese in it. I’d never seen that before. Curiosity piqued, I tried a bite.. and it was actually pretty good!

Flash forward a few weeks, to earlier this week. My “stress cooking” reflex was triggered, and I was right in the mood for more of that pasta salad. I decided to make pasta salad for the first time in my life… loosely based on that deli one, but tweaked to be a bit more to my tastes.

First off, I ditched the macaroni for Rotini, simply because it’s more fun to eat it. I couldn’t remember what all was in the salad, so I went with celery for crunch, red pepper for colour, and green onion because I love it.

I based the dressing off of my awesome coleslaw, making sure to not let it get too sweet. Oh, it was GOOD. We went through the whole batch embarrassingly quickly.

A few notes:

1. For the best pasta salad, you want the pasta to actually cook to soft, not just al dente – this allows the pasta to better absorb the flavours from the dressing.

2. Aside from the pasta, this recipe is gluten free. To make a gluten free pasta salad, I recommend using brown rice pasta, and carefully watching it as it cooks – don’t let it get to the point of falling apart!

3. My husband thinks it would be even better with peas added to it. I think that triggers my “macaroni salad is gross” instinct, but who knows… I’m not exactly a connoisseur of pasta salad! If it sounds good to you, go for it!

Enjoy!

Marie’s Pasta Salad Recipe

1 lb uncooked Rotini pasta*
3 stalks celery, chopped
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz mild cheddar cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups mayo
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
3/4+ tsp pepper (to taste)

Cook pasta according to package directions, but adding a few minutes to the boil time. Drain, and rinse well with cold water until cool. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine celery, green onion, pepper, and cheese, tossing to mix well and break up any cheese cubes that are stuck to each other. Add cooled pasta, gently toss to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except pepper. Pour over pasta salad, gently toss to completely coat. Season with pepper to taste.

Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

* This amount of dressing is perfect for Rotini, which has a lot more surface area than most pastas. If you’d like to use a different pasta, you’ll likely need less dressing. Start with about 2/3 of the dressing this makes, and add more if you like!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

MasterChef Guest Post – Matt Orsini’s Spinach Pine Nut Ravioli in Brown Butter Sauce

Today’s post is the third in a series of MasterChef guest posts. (See Carrie Peterson’s Whoopie Pies, and Ben Starr’s AMAZING post on watching the premiere here!).

Matt Orsini was another of my favourite people from the show. It bugs me to no end that his time in LA was cut down to about 2 seconds on screen (if that- it was a flash across the screen, at best!). He was one of the most friendly, passionate cooks there, and I was NOT alone in just assuming that he’d make it through the first round.

Whoops. Coming back from my forced grocery trip to find that he had gotten eliminated – not even being able to say goodbye! – was rough.

A few months after we went home, though, Matt was able to come visit me in Minneapolis, and we spent a fun day cooking, videotaping the cooking, drinking wine, and generally catching up. It was great – and the video we made of him making this dish is embedded at the end of this post!

Be sure to follow Matt on his blog, Italy to Dallas, and on Twitter: @ItalyToDallas.

Here’s Matt!

Ravioli is a dish that I cook quite regularly. It brings me back to the flavors and aromas of Italy that I love so much. My great grandparents are from Italy and I just love what the Italian family is all about, food.

While making pasta from scratch may seem daunting at first it is actually very simple, and here is a little secret you don’t need any equipment to make it from scratch. All you need are your hands and the mind to really get in there. Don’t be afraid to get dirty.

Spinach Pine Nut Ravioli in Brown Butter Sauce

¼ cup of whole milk ricotta cheese strained in a cheese cloth (will explain later)
Olive oil
One onion finely chopped
Olive oil
Black pepper
One clove crushed garlic
Either 1/4- ½ tsp of ground nutmeg or one half of a nutmeg finely grated
One bag of fresh spinach, washed and drained
Juice of two lemons
Salt
Zest of one lemon
One small bag of pine nuts
¼ cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup of semolina flour
1 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
Three eggs, beaten

One egg beaten

One stick of butter
Honey
8 sage leaves finally chopped

About a 1/3 cup of fresh grated Parmesan

The first thing I always do is have all my ingredients separated out.

Take the ¼ cup of ricotta cheese and wrap it in a cheese cloth. Tie it over the sink and let strain.

Once you have all these ingredients separated out you will want to go ahead and turn the heat up to medium on one pan lightly coated in olive oil. Once it has heated a bit, add the chopped onion. You will want to make sure the onions are fully caramelized before you pull them.

Go ahead and heat up another pan on the side. Check your onions and stir. The onions should be caramelized by now, so you will want to pull them and set aside.

Add a little olive oil, black pepper, the crushed garlic, and grated nutmeg to the other heated up pan. Once the garlic begins to caramelize add in the spinach and half of the squeezed lemon juice Grind some fresh salt over and stir to incorporate.

Sautee the spinach fully and add a little more nutmeg, the lemon zest, and black pepper on top of the spinach. Remember the most important thing is to TASTE AND TASTE! Always adjust as needed. If it needs salt add more. Go ahead and remove the spinach from the pan and fully strain. Set aside to cool.

Toast your pine nuts in a small pan until they have reached a golden light brown color. Pine nuts overcook easily so remember to keep an eye on them. Pull them and set aside.

Finely chop your cooled spinach and add in your onions and pine nuts. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. Set aside to cool. Place in a bowl, cover and cool in the refrigerator until ready for use.

I love to use a kitchen aid for the next step, however it is not necessary. You will want to mix about 2 teaspoons of salt with the flours in the bowl of your stand mixer – or just a regular mixing bowl, if not using a stand mixer.

If using a kitchen aid with the paddle attachment, set the speed to a two and add in your beaten eggs slowly. If you are doing this by hand create a well and work the eggs with a fork from the inside out, until the ready to work with your hands. Wait until the flour and eggs have fully incorporated. If it is too dry add a little warm water and on the other end if it is too wet add more flour. You will want it to be just wet enough that you can knead it and roll it into a ball.

Once you are done mixing the dough place it on a floured cutting board to bring together by hand. Pasta does not like cold surfaces and a cutting board works great. Knead the dough out using the palm of your hand working it from inward/out. Work into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready for use. Go ahead and set up the pasta attachment on the kitchen aid, if that’s what you’re using.

Remove the ricotta cheese from the cheese cloth and add in the 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to it. Incorporate the spinach mix and stir and taste. Cover and set back in fridge.

To assemble the pasta:

Remove the dough from the fridge, working it out by hand until it’s soft enough to place through the pasta machine. Starting on the thickest setting, roll it, fold it; roll it again, etc…, until it gets as thin as possible. Right now you are activating the gluten.

After you have repeated this step about 7 times on a setting one you will send it through each other setting once time through until you have rolled it out at the thinnest.

Halfway through the stretching process you will probably want to cut it in half since your sheet of pasta will be extremely long. You are looking to have nice clean silky sheets. Cut each sheet in half.

Place the ricotta mix in a pastry bag and squeeze a little bit of the mix about an inch apart on a pasta sheet. Take a pastry brush and brush your other beaten egg lightly around the ricotta mix. Fold the other half of the sheet over and press all the air out. This is very important as you will want to make sure there is no possibility the ravioli can explode in the water. Cut your ravioli and set on a floured surface.

Start a pot of salted water to boil, and make your brown butter sauce:

Heat the butter and a little olive oil over medium high heat, in a separate pan. Once it starts to brown add in the other half of the lemon juice for acidity and a little honey for sweetness. Toss in your sage leaves to crisp up. Once you hear that popping sound your sauce has fully browned. Turn the heat slightly down.

Once your pot of water reaches a boil, carefully add in your ravioli. These will cook in about 1 ½ to 2 minutes as they are fresh. Remove the ravioli, drain well, and place in your sauce to sauté. The ravioli will start to brown a little so remove once fully sautéed.

This dish is amazing. You will get that crispy outside texture on the ravioli with the creamy burst of flavors on the inside. The honey adds a little sweetness to a normally savory dish. Enjoy and Ciao!

Now, remember when Matt visited me a couple months ago? When we got on the wine and made a couple cooking videos?

Here is the first one from that day – I only watched and edited it yesterday. DAMN. We had some fun there!

Acorn Squash Tortellini with Nutmeg Cream Sauce

Well, after using our pasta maker a total of three times, it bit the big one. Crappy POS… Also, I had not been having good luck in the kitchen – the death of my pasta maker came only days after my beloved KitchenAid stand mixer decided to take a dive off my kitchen counter…

… ripping a wall outlet in the process, AND denting the beautiful floor that I tiled myself. AAAUGH! Fixing the floor will be a pain, and the mixer is definitely dead also. Boo!

Anyway, this is what I was making when the pasta maker busted. No fault of the pasta, btw – this makes the most beautiful pasta I’ve ever seen – soft, smooth, silky. Just gorgeous!

My husband actually didn’t get to eat many of these in an elegant, traditional, or even sit-down fashion: He was picking them off, straight off the pan after cooking! Yep, he would walk by every couple of minutes – we were in between meals – and grab a few room-temperature tortellinis… sans sauce. He would like to pass along that he found them *that* addictive!

As with the rest of the pastas we’ve made since buying our now-defunct pasta machine, Porter has been floored by the fact that he can eat these pastas without sauce, or would ever even want to. He grew up, just drenching store bought pastas in sauce to make them palatable, seeing them more as a delivery method for sauce, than anything.

I think it’ll be hard to feed him store bought again, after this. Guess we’ll have to find a sturdier model of pasta maker!

Acorn Squash Tortellini with Nutmeg Cream Sauce

Acorn Squash Pasta:

2 acorn squashes
4 Tbsp butter
Salt
2+ cups flour
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400F

Cut each squash in half, scoop out seeds and “gunk”. Arrange on a baking sheet, and place 1 Tbsp butter and a pinch of salt in the hollowed out seed cavity of each squash. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until very tender. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly.

Scoop out the flesh of the squash, puree in a food processor until almost a paste. Transfer all but 1/3 cup of the puree to a bowl, cover and set aside.

In the food processor, combine that 1/3 cup puree with 2 cups of flour and 2 eggs. Blitz for about a minute, or until everything is evenly distributed and crumbly.

Remove the lid of the food processor, and pinch a piece of dough. If it’s sticky, add a little flour and blitz again, adjusting as necessary. When dough feels soft and a little moist, without actually being sticky, you’re good to go!

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead for 2-5 minutes, until soft and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes, to relax the gluten. Go ahead and make your filling while waiting!

Squash and Ricotta Cheese Filling:

1 1/2 cups squash puree
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup ricotta
1/8 – 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a clean food processor, blitz ingredients until everything is smooth and well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until use.

Nutmeg Cream Sauce:

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/4+ tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, whisk cream cheese with wine until smooth. Stream heavy cream into mixture slowly, whisking constantly to form a thick sauce. Add nutmeg, whisking once more until smooth and uniform.

Heat sauce, stirring often, until it comes to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Assembly:

Acorn Squash Pasta dough
Flour
Squash and Ricotta filling
1 egg, whisked
Salt
Nutmeg Cream Sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it well.

Run your dough through a pasta maker until it is as thing as you can get it. One sheet at a time, transfer pasta to a floured work surface, cut into 3″ diameter circles (I used a cookie cutter, you can use a drinking glass, etc)

Drop a bit of filling (~ 1/2 tsp) in the middle of each pasta circle.

Use a pastry brush to brush a little whisked egg around the edge of each round.

Fold each piece in half to form a half circle, pushing out excess air from around the filling as you go. Press to firmly seal edges.

Push the center (filling) towards the rounded edge, almost like you’re folding it in on itself.

As you push the center backwards, pull the two ends of the semi circle around it, pressing together to seal.

Transfer tortellini to boiling water in batches, cooking for 3-5 minutes or until they float to the surface. Strain well. Serve tortellini hot, topped with nutmeg cream sauce.

Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli w/ Basil Cream Sauce

One of our favorite salads involves picked beets, goat cheese, and walnuts with a basil cream dressing.

When we recently purchased a pasta machine, one of the very first recipes we created for it was based around that salad – a beet pasta dough, filled with a goat cheese mixture, and topped with a basil cream sauce and walnuts. Perfect!

Hope you enjoy it as much as Porter did 🙂

Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Basil Cream Sauce & Walnuts

Beet Pasta:

2 small beets
3+ cups flour
3 eggs

Place beets on a large piece of aluminum foil, folding edges up to create a pouch around the beets. Roast at 375 for 35-45 minutes, or until beets are quite tender.

Allow to cool slightly, then rub the skins off the beets with some paper towels (or your bare hands – expect some staining!).

Blitz roasted beets in a food processor until almost a paste. Add 3 cups of flour and the eggs, blitz for 30 seconds, until everything is evenly distributed and crumbly.

Remove the lid of the food processor, and pinch a piece of dough. If it’s sticky, add a little flour and blitz again, adjusting as necessary. When dough feels soft and a little moist, without actually being sticky, you’re good to go!

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead for 2-5 minutes, until soft and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes, to relax the gluten. Go ahead and make your filling while waiting!

Goat Cheese Filling:

4 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until use.

Basil Cream Sauce:

4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp pesto
1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, whisk cream cheese with pesto and a little heavy cream until smooth. Stream heavy cream into mixture slowly, whisking constantly to form a thick sauce. Add remaining heavy cream and milk, whisking once more until smooth and uniform.

Heat sauce, stirring often, until it comes to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, until thickened.

Assembly:

Beet Pasta
Flour
Goat cheese filling
1 egg, whisked
Salt
Basil Cream Sauce
Walnuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it well.

Run your beet pasta through a pasta maker until it is as thing as you can get it. One sheet at a time, transfer pasta to a floured work surface.

Drop a bit of filling (1/2 – 1 tsp) along the middle of the pasta sheet, leaving an inch or two between each drop.

Use a pastry brush to brush a little whisked egg around each drop of filling

Carefully place a second sheet of dough on top of the first, sandwiching the filling between them.

Lightly press down on the filling lumps, pressing down on the surrounding dough to seal. Be sure to push out as much air as you can, as you go.

Use a knife or a pastry wheel to trim the pasta into squares.

Press edges of each square firmly together to seal.

Transfer ravioli to boiling water in batches, cooking for 3-5 minutes or until they float to the surface. Strain well.

Serve ravioli hot, topped with basil cream sauce and walnuts.

“Spanakopita” Tortellini

We recently purchased a pasta machine. As we debated what the first thing we would make should be (Plain pasta? No. Running before you walk is always more fun!), I had an idea:

One of Porter’s favorite meals ever is Spanakopita. What if I took the basic flavors of spanakopita, made a filling from it… and then wrapped it up in spinach pasta dough, for a funky take on tortellini?

It turned out wonderfully! So much so, that my husband declined the idea of sauce, and loudly proclaimed it to be the only pasta he’s ever had that didn’t NEED sauce.

Awesome – Hope you enjoy this as much as he does!

“Spanakopita” Tortellini

Spinach Pasta:

5 oz fresh baby spinach
2+ cups flour
2 eggs

Boil spinach for 5 minutes or so, until very soft. Strain, use a spoon to push all additional water out of the spinach – you’ll want it as dry as you can get it.

Blitz spinach in a food processor until finely chopped, almost a paste. Add 2 cups of flour and the eggs, blitz for 30 seconds, until everything is evenly distributed and crumbly.

Remove the lid of the food processor, and pinch a piece of dough. If it’s sticky, add a little flour and blitz again, adjusting as necessary. When dough feels soft and a little moist, without actually being stick, you’re good to go!

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead for 2-5 minutes, until soft and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes, to relax the gluten. Go ahead and make your filling while waiting!

“Spanakopita” Filling:

4 oz feta cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
pinch nutmeg

Combine all ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until use.

Assembly:

Spinach Pasta
Flour
Spanakopita filling
1 egg, whisked
Salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it well.

Run your spinach pasta through a pasta maker until it is as thing as you can get it. One sheet at a time, transfer pasta to a floured work surface.

Cut pasta into 3″ squares, drop a bit of filling in the middle of each – about 1/2 tsp.

Use a pastry brush to brush a little whisked egg along the edges of pasta.

Fold each piece in half to form a triangle, pushing out excess air from around the filling as you go. Press to firmly seal edges.

Fold the “top” tip of the triangle down lightly.

Bend ravioli edges backwards, pressing together on the opposite side from the folded down top.

Press edges firmly together to seal.

Transfer tortellini to boiling water in batches, cooking for 3-5 minutes or until they float to the surface. Strain well, serve hot!

Basic and Flavored Pasta

Homemade pasta may sound fancy and exotic at first, but it’s actually quite easy – and can be fun, too!

When we recently purchased a pasta machine, we went a bit nuts with it, churning out 7 different pasta doughs the first afternoon. SO much easier to run them through a machine, than to roll it with a pin.

Anyway, here’s the thing – because so many different things – humidity, the type of flour, etc – can affect how your pasta turns out, it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t need a real “recipe”, per se – you can more or less wing it, so long as you keep the basic concepts in mind. I’m intending this blog entry as a bit of an overview and inspiration, and hope you use it as a springboard for whatever crazy pasta idea you come up with!

First off, at its very basic, pasta is just flour and eggs. Mix the two ingredients together, knead it for about 10 minutes, let it rest for 30 minutes, and then.. you play.

That’s it! Simple, right?

First, let’s take a closer look at those ingredients.

1: Flour. We tend to just use all purpose flour, as we always have a ton of it on hand… but that’s not your only option. Many people will cut the all purpose flour with some semolina flour, or use ONLY semolina flour. If you want to get fancy with it, you can substitute other flours for part of the flour (you’ll want some regular gluten – I’ll experiment with gluten free pastas another time!). Oat flour, millet, barley – each will bring a unique taste and texture to your finished pasta.

2. Eggs. Use good quality, large eggs.

Now, in addition to those two ingredients, you can add other stuff to flavor it – usually in paste or dried form. Some ideas:

1. Finely ground pesto. (chunks of nuts will not go through the pasta machine well, so you want it a fine paste!)

2. Roasted and pureed vegetables. Think beets, winter squash, garlic, peppers, carrots. Roast them, peel them, and puree them into a fine paste.

3. Dried herbs and spices can be added to either of the above, for more complex flavors. Try roasted red peppers with a little bit of cayenne, for instance!

4. Leafy greens: Spinach can be boiled for a few minutes, strained VERY well, and then pureed… but think of the other possibilities! Beet greens, kale, mustard greens – when used sparingly – can produce interesting flavors as well!

Now, on to how to combine them.

First off, I like to start with about 1 egg for every 3/4 – 1 cup of flour.

As far as flavors go, I usually aim for about 1/4 cup of pureed flavor for every 1 1/2 – 2 cups of flour in the basic recipe, and then add a bit of extra flour to make up for the additional moisture from the paste. Sometimes, I’ll reduce the amount of egg, rather than add flour. Like I said – you can kinda wing it.

As an idea:

My basic pasta recipe:

3+ cups flour
4 eggs

My spinach pasta recipe:

5 oz fresh baby spinach (boiled, strained well, pureed)
2 cups flour
2 eggs

My beet pasta recipe:

2 small beets, roasted, peeled, and pureed
3 cups flour
3 eggs

My pesto pasta recipe:

1/2 cup pesto, finely pureed
2 + cups flour
2 eggs

So, once you have ingredients figured out, it’s just a matter of pulling them together into a dough. There are three main ways you can do this:

1. By hand. Stir your wet ingredients into the flour, use your hands to knead it into a dough.

2. By stand mixture: Dump everything in the bowl of your stand mixture, attach a dough hook, and let it do its thing.

3. In a food processor. Put all the ingredients into a food processor, let it rip.

For any of these three methods, you should adjust ingredients as you go. Once it comes together, pinch a piece of dough. If it’s sticky, add a little flour and blitz again, adjusting as necessary. When dough feels soft and a little moist, without actually being sticky, you’re good to go!

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead for 2-5 minutes, (~10 if nor using a mixer or food processor) until soft and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes, to relax the gluten.

Once time is up, run it through your pasta machine, following the manufacturer’s directions. Once your pasta is ready, boil it in a pot of salted water for a few minutes, and serve it however you’d like.

So there you go, a basic pasta overview. Expect a few fancier pasta recipes, coming up! (Ravioli and tortellini! Yum!)

Pasta alla Porters

“Gourmet” cooking with a lot of effort can be fun and rewarding at times, but sometimes… you just want a really quick, fairly effortless pasta sauce.

This is our go-to pasta sauce for those days – it evolved from my old Puttanesca recipe, and became a wonderful sauce on its own merit.

Pasta Alla Porters

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, pressed
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms, rough chopped
2 x 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 cans black olives, drained and chopped
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
Salt, pepper

Saute onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms, continue cooking until mushrooms are tender, and onions are translucent.

Add tomatoes, olives, herbs, and pepper flakes, simmer for 20 minutes or until a thick sauce is formed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over pasta of choice.

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