Friday, July 23, 2010

From the Earth to the Table

This past spring while Husband and I were visiting No. 1 in Berkeley for a few days, we took a drive to Napa to tour a winery or two. We toured the Hess Collection winery and spent some time at the tasting counter where we had some fine wine. As is common in lots of wineries, there is a gift shop there just off of the wine tasting room, and it has Chardonnay scented candles, special glasses, bottles of wine, funky wine stoppers and cookbooks. I bought one.

I chose John Ash's From the Earth to the Table because at first glance it looked wonderful. Turns out, it's wonderful all the way through with creative but approachable recipes paired with wine suggestions, and I have been cooking from it this week. We've had corn salsa, grilled steak with a no-cook, versatile sauce, oven-fried chicken, sweet potato ravioli and blue cheese and caramelized onion pizza. Everything has been just great and not too difficult or so fancy-schmancy you can't find the ingredients in a typical grocery store.

I'm sorry I don't have any photos to show of the dinners this book has inspired, but I'll share one recipe. I made the ravioli pasta from scratch with a Kitchenaid press, and I filled it with this stuff. Yum.

Curried Sweet Potato Ravioli

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
Salt and pepper
Pasta sheets

Peel and chop the potatoes, coat with olive oil, and roast at 375˚ for 35 to 45 minutes or until tender. Cool and mash in a large bowl.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and curry powder (I omitted the curry powder because Husband doesn't like it)) until the shallots are soft but not brown. Add the wine, bring to a boil and reduce to 2 tablespoons. Add the mashed potatoes and cream. Stir to combine thoroughly. Remove from heat and stir in seasonings. I also added grated Parmesan. Cool, and don't be tempted to eat this stuff with a big spoon while you're making the pasta.

Fill pasta sheets with the cooled mixture and form ravioli shapes. Boil for 5 or 6 minutes or until done. The recipe suggests ladling hot chicken stock over the pasta to serve, but I drizzled brown butter with sage and garlic over it instead, and more cheese.

If you aren't up to making pasta for this, use wonton wrappers instead. Fill each square with a teaspoon or so of the stuff, moisten the edges of the wrapper with water, fold, and seal edges with the tines of a fork. Boil a few at a time because they can be a little delicate.


dive said...

Yes, please.

Madame DeFarge said...

You've put me right off my beans and toast, which is what I was planning on having for lunch!

Lynn said...

You always make me hungry. :) I haven't been around for a while but this recipe behoves me to come back more often!