Thursday, December 29, 2005


Cheese ravioli with crimini mushroom sauce

My camera isn't working properly, so I have to resort to web pics of food for my recipes until the camera is repaired or I get a new one.

Last night, I made a savory sauce of crimini mushrooms, diced tomatoes, cream, parmesean cheese, and herbs and spices and served it over homemade cheese ravioli. It was quick, easy, heavenly, and vegetarian!

Here's the recipe that serves 2:

Cheese ravioli with crimini mushroom sauce

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, diced finely
1 medium shallot, finely diced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 oz. extra dry vermouth (optional)
2 tablespoons diced tomato
1/4 cup minced herbs (I used mint, parsley and cilantro)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons parmesean cheese, grated
dash of nutmeg (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

10 homemade ravioli, available at Italian specialty shops or from your grocer's frozen food section.

Saute the shallots in 2 tablespoons of the butter until soft and golden, add the finely diced mushrooms and cook until they give up their liquid. Add the vermouth and simmer until you cannot smell the alchohol from the wine. Add the vegetable stock and simmer until it cooks down a bit. Add heavy cream and stir. Add the diced tomatoes and simmer a minute more. Add the cheese and continue to simmer and stir until the sauce thickens. Add 2 moretablespoons of butter and stir. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and herbs and incorporate. Hold on low heat until ravioli are cooked.

Place the ravioli in rapidly boiling salted water and cook until they float to the top of the water. Gently drain and place in pasta bowls; ladle the mushroom sauce over the ravioli, add more parmesean cheese and serve immediately.

Buon appetito a tutti!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Best Christmas Present of 2005!

Read a review here:

Friday, December 23, 2005



Saturday, December 17, 2005


Feast of the Seven Fishes

Ciao amici!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to all. Go here to see the recipes for the traditional Italian Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Preparing seven different dishes with fish is a southern Italian tradition. Why seven? No one knows for sure. Seven days of the week? Seven sacraments? This was our family tradition each Vigili di Natale and all the women helped prepare the feast.

Some of the fish and shellfish our family used for the feast were lobster, shrimp, smelts, and even eel! I remember being forced to taste the eel on Christmas Eve when I was very little (we had to taste everything) and promptly getting sick all over the table. (Ha!) I was never forced to try anything ever again! Actually, as an adult, I tasted eel and found it to be quite good.

We also had pastas, vegetables, fruits and loads of homemade Italian sweets (including the wonderful marzipan).

Christmas Eve was the biggest holiday in our family. First the food, then the music (uncles playing the violin, guitar) then midnight Mass. Back home and then we opened our gifts.

Christmas morning and day was not as special as Christmas Eve and the Feast of the Seven Fishes.


Best wishes,


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


One Year Ago...

on December 15, 2004, I started this cooking blog and have had a ball cooking and sharing my recipes with everyone who comes and visits here.

I've met some wonderful people through blogging and consider you my friends.

I shall continue posting recipes, and I hope you will continue to come here to see what's cooking.

Everybody eats when they come to my house!

Buon appetito a tutti!


Thursday, December 01, 2005


Squash Soup

Greetings all!

Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was sweet and peaceful and full of family and friends. I also hope Uncle Bert didn't get drunk again and throw a plateful of stuffing at Aunt Minnie.

Isabella had some leftover squash (uncooked) and apples and decided to make one of her favorite dishes, squash soup.

It's easy, it's healthy and it's quick!

Squash Soup, 4 servings

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 large to medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 medium carrots, scraped and chopped
2 small to medium tart apples, peeled, seeded and cubed
16 oz. good quality vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and pepper to taste

slivered scallion for garni

In a 2 quart sauce pan, saute the onions in the butter until soft and golden. Add the squash, carrots and apples. Let them cook in the onion butter mixture for 2 to 3 minutes over medium low heat. Add the stock and gently simmer until all the veggies and the apples are soft.

I have a wonderful appliance--a Braun hand-held emulsifier. I use this to puree the veggies and fruit right in the sauce pan. If you don't own one of these devices, transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor or blender and puree until all lumps are gone.

Return the puree to the sauce pan, add the cream and the spices. Heat through. Serve with scallion garni.

This makes a great first course or a nutritious lunch, served with a hunk of crusty ciabatta bread.


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