Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ravioli with Roasted Vegetables


Several things about this dish appealed to me at first sight!   Pasta and asparagus, two of my all time favs!  The real hook was that is claimed to be ready in under 20 minutes.  That is an absolute truth!  I did this for the first time ever from start to seated in 17 minutes (and I had to keep reviewing the recipe during the process)!  This dish is light and delicious.  With all these veggies included, all you need is a good crusty garlic bread and you are ready to dine in no time!  Anything that tastes this good and can be prepared this fast holds a special place in my heart and my recipe box!
You'll Need:
1 - 8 oz package of fresh ravioli with filling of your choice
1 bundle of fresh asparagus
1 cup shredded carrots
1 half lemon
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup walnut pieces - chopped
4 tbs minced fresh parsley
2 tbs grated Parmesan plus some to serve at the table
very lightly salt and pepper to taste
Place the fresh ravioli into a large microwave safe bowl, cover with water and heat for 6 minutes (until cooked thru) then drain, rinse and set aside. 
While the ravioli cooks, clean and chop the vegetables. Chop off the bottom thirds of the asparagus and discard, cut the remainder into half or thirds for bite size pieces.  In a large sauce pan, melt 2 tbs of butter over medium heat until melted. Add chopped asparagus and carrots to the pan, stir to coat veggies with butter and cover with the pan with a lid. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes (toss often to prevent burning).  Add remaining butter and walnuts - mix together with the veggies and cook for 2 minutes (again, toss often to prevent burning).   Add the ravioli and parsley and toss until heated thru and well mixed.  Give the mixture just a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper then squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon (no seeds please) over your pan and toss to coat all ingredients well.
Remove from heat, plate and serve.  Sprinkle each serving with a healthy pinch of the grated fresh Parmesan cheese (no powdered cheese please - use the real deal).  Pair with a buttered baguette or garlic loaf and serve!
You can easily change the ravioli to tortellini, substitute your favorite veggies and switch to slivered almonds or omit nuts all together to suit your preferences.  Personally,  I like  a mix of spinach ravioli and four cheese ravioli.  I'd be very tempted to add sugar snap peas and maybe even top with bacon bits next time!  You make this the way YOU like it!  I promise you, this is not a single appearance dish....she WILL be invited to return and often!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Beef and Guinness Pot Pie

Saint Patrick's Day is approaching and I feel the 1/4 Irish Lass in me rising up to cook up a warm and comforting dish of celebration. 
"May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!"

You'll need:

3 pounds beef or lamb roast (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper 
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup Guinness or stout beer
1 1/5 cups beef broth (low sodium)
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only,

   halved lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound carrots ( cut into 1 inch pieces)
5 stalks celery (cut into 1 inch pieces)
12 ounce bag of frozen sweet peas (no need to thaw)
1 box frozen puff pastry

1 egg (beaten)
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the beef with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste and toss in flour in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 -12 minutes.

Add the Guinness and beef stock, scraping up any browned bits  from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven to braise for 30 minutes.  A
dd the leeks, carrots and celery to the pot and continue braising for 1 more hour.

Thaw puff pastry for 45 minutes while your stew cooks.   Remove the filling from the oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees F. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste, stir in frozen peas, and divide among 6 ramekins.

Put ramekins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with a circle of pastry 1/2-inch larger than the top. Brush the outside edges of each ramekin with the egg wash then place the dough on top.  folding over the side and pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.

Bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.  I garnished mine with chives and paprika, fresh chopped parsley would be great too! 

These freeze well but if you are going to freeze them, I'd recommend not adding the puff pastry prior to freezing.  You can also top this with mashed potatoes.  I recommend serving mashed potatoes on the side and a freshly baked loaf of bread to catch every drop of Irish goodness!  I'm adding Bailey's Irish Cream Brownies for dessert to sweeten the night!