Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What happens when young meets up with mature in the kitchen...

I watch Food Network off and on, most often when it's cold.  Last week I came across and episode of Giada and her Aunt Raffy duking it out in the kitchen.  Competing forces of young vs. mature, formal schooling vs. family cooking methods handed down for generations, modern twists vs. never touched family recipes, it was very entertaining.  It begins with a glass of wine, of which neither lady denied.
I would do anything to cook with my mother again.  I was often in the kitchen with her preparing meals for the 9 of us when I lived at home.  As I moved about the country, when we were lucky enough to visit one another, we each took time to make something new or something the other had not had before.  Our visits were always something special in the kitchen.  When my mother and I talked on the phone our conversations virtually always turned to food and neither grew tired of it.  I rarely messed with old time favorites but if and when I did, my father always accused (accuses) me of messing them up.  Naturally after 6 years of food classes from 6-12 grade, a 4 year degree in Food Service and 15 years of food and beverage related hotel work at no less than 50 hours a week and often 60-70 hours, I feel a bit qualified to do so.  I suppose our station in life rarely changes among our family members no matter how accomplished.  I am not sure why that is, but it is.
That identical dynamic is at work when it comes to the kitchen and you can see it unfold on tv before your very eyes when Giada and Aunt Raffy are toiling away.  Together, they made a Rollatini that looked wonderful so I made it the other night.  After reading some of the comments on the recipe, most of which called for more flavor in the way of garlic, I re-read the recipe.  I surmised that it was not garlic they longed for, as there is clearly a reason the Italians didn't put it in there, but perhaps something more subtle and along the line of sauteed minced shallots.   I added that flavor instead and the result was delicious.  I will certainly make this many times in the future.  If you know how to make your own pasta, then this recipe is for you!
From start to finish this took about an hour.  First make your favorite fresh pasta.  I made my using flour, semolina flour and wheat flour.  You need enough to roll out a 12" circle 1/8" thick.  If you have too much pasta, cut it in half and make 2 rollatinis.  While the pasta is resting under a damp cloth, heat water in something big enough to add the rollatini without bending it.
For the filling, heat a small skillet over medium heat and cook 1 Large Minced Shallot in 1 Tbl Butter.  To a bowl, add 4 oz  Ricotta Cheese, 1 Egg Yolk, 2 Tbl Olive Oil, 1 Tbl Softened Butter, 1/3 Cup Parmesan, 1/2 Cup Chiffonade Fresh Spinach, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and the shallots.  Roll out pasta to as thin as possible, 1/8".  Brush the outer 1/2" edge with an Egg Wash.  Spoon filling on pasta and spread evenly with an offset spatula without going all the way to the edge.
Roll tightly and then roll the rollatini in a clean kitchen towel.  Tie the ends with string.  Add Rollatini to the simmering water and cook for 20 minutes, turning it over half way through the cooking process.  Remove with tongs.  Let rest for 5 minutes, then remove the towel to further cool for another 5 minutes.  It should be cool enough to handle.  Preheat Broiler.
Generously butter a sheet pan.  Using a serrated knife such as a bread knife and without too much pressure, cut 1/2" slices and shingle them in 3 rows.  Brush with 2 Tbl Melted Butter and top with Parmesan Cheese.  Broil for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite Marinara Sauce.  Raise your glass to toast the Giada's and Aunt Raffy's of the world!

No comments: