Fava Bean Ravioli

favabeanravioli4We are getting downright crazy with this recipe.  It can tend to be a little more work than one might anticipate, so read the entire contents before deciding to attempt this fava bean ravioli.

favabeanravioli

If you haven’t made your own pasta, then start by reading the link here on how to create your own pasta.  The main idea behind this ravioli is creating the stuffing, which means you can’t make boxed pasta.  Well you could, it just wouldn’t have the stuffing or awesome satisfaction of
pasta making.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Fava beans are the beans
    inside edamame.
  2. No only do the beans need to be shelled from their pods, but they need to be shelled again after blanching from the thin layer that holds the bean together.
  3. The shelling process can be tedious and takes time, so make sure to give you plenty of time to complete this dish.
  4. It is important to shell the beans because it makes the dough less grainy and provides a smooth textural aspect to the dish, as would the garbanzo beans for making hummus.
  5. Save as many fava beans as you’d like to accompany the dish, but have enough to create a balanced filling.
  6. The filling ingredients can all be added to a food processor to blend.  Once blended it should easily mold into tiny balls between your hands.
  7. Lay one sheet of dough down placing the filling wide enough to give room for the ravioli. Then, place the second sheet on top to cover the filling.favabeanravioloi2
  8. You need to release all the air from the ravioli so that no water will penetrate the dough.  Start from one side to the other and be sure to smooth the ravioli.
  9. Be sure to pat the filling down slightly which will allow the dough to release more air.
  10. Cut them to shapes and set aside to dry out while you complete the
    ravioli making.
  11. Homemade ravioli will take ½ the time to cook than store bought.  It will change in color and float to the top when cooked through.
  12. Spoon them out carefully and add them to the pan with veggies.

The dish is decadent and filling.  You can make quite a bit of ravioli for large crowds or freeze some for later.  If you want to halve the filling, make half the amount of ravioli and use the rest of the dough for more types of pasta.  Since pasta takes more work to make you mine as well use all the dough while you’re in the process.

Now, you have the satisfaction of a great meal and healthier pasta that you accomplished in making.  Again, check out my pasta blog for tips and tricks.  If you want to skip the filling and pasta making, then substitute cheese ravioli in place and keep to the veggies.  You’ll still have a delicious meal and a majority of the flavors in place.

Leave a message below with your thoughts and ideas about other ravioli fillings.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious recipes.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

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Homemade Pasta

pastamaking2Making pasta was a process I never thought I would accomplish.  Watching cooking shows with chefs under extreme pressure botch their pasta, I was sure it would be too hard to ever achieve.  However, after visiting my sister I have a new found thought process into making pasta.  It’s called “TAKING YOUR TIME!”

Pasta can’t be rushed and jimmy rigged.  It needs time to sit and rest allowing that gluten to gather.  We used our pasta dough for fava bean ravioli, which will show up in another blog later this month.  But, the recipe for ravioli and other types of pasta can be the same.  We used the dough, explained today, for spaghetti you won’t forghetti, farfalle, and the ravioli.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. We used two types of flour: semolina and cake flour.  Semolina flour is used most oftenwhenmaking pasta.pastamaking3
  2. You can use any type of flour it will just affect your dough in various ways.  So, find the dough that works best for you and stick to it.
  3. Eggs are important as a binder for the flour in your dough.
  4. Mix the dough and then let is rest.  Resting is important!!!! The process allows for the gluten to begin forming.
  5. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape, often giving the final product achewy texture.
  6. Once the dough has sat, knead it.  You cannot over-knead the dough because you’ll just add more gluten to the dough.
    (That’s a good thing!)
  7. When done, the dough should be able to be cut without one seeing any gas bubbles or chambers in the dough.favabeanravioli5
  8. Section the dough into 4-8 sizeable pieces and begin the process of
    thinning it.
  9. The sections that are not being used need to be wrapped back up and covered with a wet cloth.  You don’t want your dough to become too dried out and hard.
  10. Start off on the 1 setting, folding it like an envelope after each time through, until you have a piece that has no cracks or tears.
  11. Slowly begin taking the pasta through one notch higher at a time.  Be sure to allow a little slack at the top to avoid rippling.
  12. I recommend not going higher than 5 or 6.  At this point the dough is not too thick for chewing purposes, but not too think that it begins to tear.

There are a dozen possibilities after making the dough. If making spaghetti, place the dough through a cutter and hang to dry; if making farfalle, cut to sizable pieces and begin folding it accordion stylealong the middle while spreading the sides wide; if making ravioli, place one piece atop the other after laying the filling in place.  There are a dozen possibilities after making the dough.  Be sure to let the pasta rest and harden before adding to boiling water (about one hour).

pastamakingBe sure to use the pasta you’ve made within the next 48 hours to prevent it from spoiling.  Any type of dough should be used quickly because of the egg components required for making them.  Impress your guests and dinner friends with an enjoyable dish that is easy to make.  After trying your hand at a few recipes, you’ll be a natural like my sister, Jp.  I believe a pasta maker was the best birthday gift I’ve gotten her.  If you plan on making pasta as much as she does, I suggest investing in a pasta machine to quicken the process; however, you can make it without the machine.  In replace of the machine you can roll the dough by hand and cut it to your desired width with a pasta cutter.

So many helpful tips to keep in mind, yet don’t be overwhelmed the process is easier than it sounds and you’ll manage to handle it like a pro.

Leave a comment below with the types of pasta you’ve decided to make.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes to try.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Honey Roasted Chickpeas

Midnight munchies begin to call your name and your hand slowly reaches for a chocolate-coated bar when something catches your eye.  A small, roasted, honey and cinnamon
wafted chickpea.

honeyroastedchickpeas

These tasty little bites are a great snack to have when those munchies begin screaming your name.  The roast gives them a hard outer shell and crunchy texture.  The honey and cinnamon please your sweet tooth.  All of these combined for a healthier snack when the time comes.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. You can eat them two ways: coat them after baking them and begin eating or cook them again for a more caramelized, outer shell.
  2. Make two or three of these batches for a snack at a party or just for yourself.  They are addicting!!!!
  3. They store well in the fridge and keep their hard shell if they are baked twice.
  4. I nixed the sea salt because garbanzo beans are already salty as it is.

These tasty treats are a great find.  Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein but are still a sugared carbohydrate.  Make sure to give yourself a serving size, then place the rest away or else you’ll eat them all at once.  Curve those midnight cravings with a healthier treat.

Leave a comment below and follow my Pinterest for more healthy, delicious bites.  Check back again next Wednesday for another yummy recipe from The Cooking Bug

Creamy Tomato Soup

creamytomatosoup3

The name says it all.  It’s creamy; it’s tomato; it’s heaven.  Although SkinnyTaste calls this recipe a bisque, it is more of a cream soup.  Bisques are a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans.  Bisque is a method of extracting every bit of flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market.  Since we are using vegetables, the correct term is a creamy tomato soup.  However, the soft consistency makes it a huge leap above those Campbell soups you have sitting uselessly in
your cabinet.

I loved completing this recipe because I learned some new facts.  For one, tomatoes can be pealed a lot easier than I would have guessed.  If you can’t find that fascinating enough, I got to use my mom’s immersion blender that was heaven to my cooking ears.  Immersion blenders make sure that all the clumps that regular blenders and food processors leave behind are smoothed and completely annihilated.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Plum tomatoes are also known as Roma tomatoes at your local Fry’s.
  2. To peel tomatoes easily, boil them in water until the skin cracks (about 8-10 minutes).  You’ll hear a pop as each skin breaks. creamytomatosoup
  3. As soon as the skin-pops remove them from the water and set aside.  Run them under cold water quickly to cool them and an easy peel.
  4. While you are peeling your tomatoes, cook your veggies to multitask.
  5. We added dried basil and oregano spices into the mix instead of using sprigs.  However, be sure to remove the bay leaves because they won’t taste good if blended.
  6. Allow the soup to simmer and when ready blend it well until no chunks remain.

creamytomatosoup2It’s simple but fascinating.  Apparently, before all of our processed foods at the grocery store people used to make their own marinara sauce using this same method of peeing tomatoes.  I loved watching the process take place.  If there is any other reason besides how creamy and light the soup taste, you should make this dish just for the fun of watching the tomatoes.

And while I am less than a tomato fan, I found this soup to be irresistible.  Pair it with a wheat roll or grilled cheese and you have a wonderful meal during your sick days.  It freezes very well for storing purposes.  Get rid of those over processed cans sitting with dust on your shelves and enjoy a healthier, flavorful soup that you created all on
your own.

Leave a comment below with the fun you had making this dish.  Follow my Pinterest.  Check back again next Wednesday for more meals and tips from The Cooking Bug.

Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Eggplant

cheeseychickeneggplant

Olive Garden and Italians alike have made eggplant popular by formulating fried eggplant in layers of cheese and marinara sauce.  The classic vegetarian style dish is used because many times eggplant can be bland and flavorless.  HALT! Kick that idea to the curb because these cheesy chicken stuffed eggplants are anything but.  They combine flavor and health in a whole new way.

I believe that the combination of juicy chicken, delicate cheeses, and roasted garlic help give this dish the blast of flavor that eggplant needs.  Ranging in about 300 calories per serving (1 eggplant boat), the dish is filling and flavorful.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. The garlic is important, don’t mince it because it will be removed later on.  Cut cloves of garlic to stuff inside the eggplant while it roasts.
  2. I precooked the chicken with a season salt mixture and shredded it to cool while the eggplant was cooking.
  3. Use a squirt bottle to mist your eggplant with olive oil to cut calories and fat.  You don’t want to make it soggy and overpower it with olive oil.  You can also brush it lightly instead of using a squirt bottle.
  4. After the eggplant as roasted, remove the garlic.  You don’t want to chomp down on a huge clove of garlic or you’ll definitely keep the vampires and everyone else away.
  5. We used Gruyere cheese over cheddar.  Cheddar I believe will be too cheeseychickeneggplant2overpowering and my family doesn’t really care for cheddar.
  6. We shredded 2 oz of cheese to spread it more evenly rather than using slices.  This process helps in allowing the cheese to melt quicker as well.
  7. If you’re like me and not a huge fan of tomatoes, roast them before hand quickly in a sauté pan to remove some of the juices and give them a crunchier texture.
  8. Green onions are good vegetables for you, so go ahead and pile them on.  In this dish they add a freshness that basil does for many others.

A fair warning to note is that the scrumptious meal here might send you into a food coma.  Keep in mind that eggplant is a starch vegetable.  While good for you it should be eaten in moderation.  One boat will be filling enough for anyone and keep you focused on the rest of the day.  The combination of cheese, chicken, and other ingredients bring a taste of Italy home to a healthier you.

Be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts.  Follow my Pinterest and check back again next Wednesday for more tips from The Cooking Bug.