Before I get to this yummy, sweet corn ravioli with browned basil butter sauce and warm cherry tomato compote, a little introspective rambling is in order. For all of those waiting for the announcement of the winner of my 4th of July giveaway, I’m so sorry it’s a day late; my proverbial plate has been really, really full.
SO, you can scroll down to find out now, or you can read a bit of my incessant babbling to increase the suspense. OR, you can just drool over this corn ravioli because I think this is the most delicious non-traditional ravioli I have ever made and tasted in my life – IF you like corn, that is.
You may also want to immediately scroll down to see my latest giveaway. I’ll give you a hint to part of it, in case you actually want to read what I wrote first. In the photo directly below, it’s on your lower right.
A few months ago, I left a comment on a post about the BlogHer 2011 conference in Atlanta that dealt with blog cliques and the cutthroat race to get some form of recognition or fame via their blogs. My comment was basically about blogging for myself and my readers (like most) and how I wouldn’t make friends with well-known and/or popular bloggers just to catapult my blog. My friendships with people are based on who they are, not how many people like them or what they can offer me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do not begrudge those who network with other bloggers to make a business out of their blog, and in fact, I have so much admiration for bloggers who have done just that, but there is a difference between the two, although it’s hard to distinguish sometimes. That said, networking can also be a building block to friendships, and I’ve seen a lot of those kinds of friendships happen in the blogosphere, and I think that’s awesome. However, trying too hard to be friends with a popular blogger solely so one can grow their blog quickly and reap the benefits of being friends with said blogger, just seems kind of wrong. I dunno.
I knew a blogger who constantly trashed a popular blogger in private, all the while pretending to be her admirer and friend, laughing as she reaped all the benefits of that relationship, and it made me ill. In fact, it’s happened more than once with different bloggers, (as I’ve heard from others), ripping popular bloggers to pieces while faking a friendship with them, and it never fails to disgust me.
All that being said, I said one thing that really came off the wrong way, and it’s been bothering me for a while now.
I said, to quote myself, “I don’t care if my photos suck or aren’t Bon Appetit worthy (although I do bitch about not having natural light)….”
I DO care if my photos suck, but from more of an an artistic stance. My blog is my cozy little nook in this world, my cozy little nook of escape, and I want pretty, mouth-watering photos in the same way I want pretty decor in my home. I love taking photos of my food, even though I don’t get the photos I desperately covet since I don’t have enough natural light to take them in.
Natural light is the number one key to beautiful food photography, and it’s FREE! But, I think nature wants to charge me.
I also said…”I don’t care if my writing is all over the place” Translation: I write like I talk and everyone who knows me always points that out. This is me, and I won’t change a thing, even if I don’t use enough active verbs, or adopt ‘How to Write to Draw Attention to your Blog 101’ as “the word”. Regardless, you should really read this post by Linda at Salty Seattle. It’s eye-opening, extremely thought-provoking, and well, she bares all the little bones, and I like that. Oh, and she’s so damn creative. You must see the amazing delicacies she creates, always thinking outside the box. Molecular Gastronomy, and then some, at its finest!
Now that I got that out of the way, I think it’s time to deal with pasta. Homemade pasta, everything from scratch; nothing boxed, nothing frozen, just beautiful, silky handmade pasta; kneaded, rolled and cut by you, not some factory in Okawosha, NY (Yes, a fictional city). And even better. fresh pasta filled with creamy, fresh summer corn!
Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spaetzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with.
Before thinking of corn ravioli, my first thought was spaetzle because I adore spaetzle, and it’s so simple; no rolling, no cutting, just a batter like dough that you press through a potato ricer into salted, boiling water, producing light little dumplings. Yes, there are spaetzle makers, but I don’t believe in owning something that just has one use, unless you make it a lot..like once a week a lot.
I changed my mind at the last minute; 1) Because when I make spaetzle, I think some kind of meaty paprikas or schnitzel alongside it, and although I don’t abide by any rules that dictate what types of foods should be made and eaten each season, I felt it was a bit heavy of a dish at this time of the year, and I am in no mood for a gut bomb after almost eating my weight in baklava last month! 2) Because how could I not take advantage of the summer bounty of sweet corn, tomatoes and basil? Not to mention, I was sent a huge hunka hunk of Grana Padano Riserva cheese, but that’s part of the giveaway, and I’ll get to that later.
I decided a corn filled ravioli would be an ideal way to use sweet summer corn, and when combined with the slightly salty but mellow, Grana Padano, it was a winner. This is probably the most unique ravioli I’ve ever had next to some savory peach ravioli I had at a quaint little bistro in upstate New York last year.
SO, since this corn ravioli has so much flavor, all that was needed to compliment it was a light brown butter sauce (beurre noisette), spiked with some fresh, summer basil.(which always reminds me of my grandmother’s summer parmesan basil chicken drumsticks with tomatoes; no idea why just that. I think the smell of the basil in her kitchen when she was making it, conjures it up.). For color, and a tart and juicy, sweet contrast in flavor, a beautiful red and yellow cherry tomato concoction of some sort was a thought. The balsamic vinegar in the tomato ‘compote’ I finally decided on really ties everything together. Sweet, buttery, salty, slightly acidic, and creamy. Pure summer bounty bliss.
I gleaned ideas for the sweet corn filling from Chef de Cuisine Jacques Qualin, from his time at Jean-George Vongerichten’s J&G Steakhouse, in which he simmers the corn in cream until almost reduced by half, then purees it, resulting in a sweet, thick, creamy filling for the ravioii, with the added texture of whole, cooked, corn kernels. The warm tomato compote is part of a recipe from Epicurious that I’ve used for years with my own additions and subtractions, depending on my mood.
Oh, just a reminder, when you cut the kernels of corn off the cob, don’t forget to milk the cob!! Use the dull side of a chef’s knife to scrape down the cob. Sweet corn milk should be a beverage staple!
Now, an all too familiar scenario the past month or so. Another giveaway. No, I’m not a giveaway freak or addict, and I’m not a freebie junkie, but I do love to give stuff away, it’s just my nature, and those who know me well can vouch for that. When Denise Finnegan contacted me about sampling some Grana Padano cheese, and perhaps offering up the same for one of my readers, how could I resist? Well..sample was an understatement. DiPalo Selects in Little Italy, NYC, sent me a 3 lb hunk of Grana Padano Riserva, the highest quality Grana Padano..aged 20 to 30 months. Along with that I received two little wedgie knives, pictured above. The photo of my cheese is on your lower right. It’s huge! Using that little knife, I cannot stop wedging off shards because it’s so fantastic. If you’ve never tried Grana Padano, it’s similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, but younger, much more mellow and not as expensive. However, this 3 lb block (mine was actually 3.5 lbs) of Grana Padano Riserva retails for about $50.00 and up, depending where you buy it! Before I tell you how you can win this giant, hunka hunka of deliciousness, (which will be sent to you by DiPalo Selects), there is a part two to this giveaway.
Bwah! Look what I did to the basil on top of the tomatoes, in photoshop! I don’t do well with green in photoshop.
Megan from buildasign.com has offered one of my readers the opportunity to make their own custom license plate, plus, either 10 custom bumper stickers or bumper magnets, OR 20 custom labels (2×4″ or 3×5″) for free..a $40.00 value! The winner will receive a coupon code to make their custom ‘whatever’ they choose. Now, to enter this double giveaway, you can simply leave a comment telling me what you would do with your 3 lb hunk of Grana Padano Riserva outside of grating over pasta, OR, what you would put on your custom license plate and labels or bumper stuff at buildasign.com. For extra entries, do any of the following and leave separate comments for each one you do. A winner will be chosen July 27th, 2011 using random.org. 1. Follow me on Twitter @parsleynsage 2. Like Grana Padano on Facebook. 3. Visit buildasign.com and take a look around, so when you win, you’ll be ready 😉 4. Tweet: I entered to win a HUGE Grana Padano Riserva cheese package plus $40.00 worth of custom goodies from buildasign.com http://bit.ly/pzLS1p 5. Subscribe to Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives, either by email or RSS Feed. Finally, the winner of the 15 oz jar of Kelapo Coconut Oil and How to Cook Everything, 10th anniversary revised edition is…. Congratulations to #130 – Lynda Clark!! Sent you an email to get your info ASAP, so I can mail out the cookbook, then forward your info to Jen of Kelapo Coconut, so she can send you your coconut oil!
Warm Cherrry Tomato Compote adapted from Epicurious.com
- One full plus one half of David Leite's Homemade Pasta Dough Recipe at Leite's Culinaria. Follow instructions for rolling and cutting ravioli after mixing and kneading. A scant tablespoon of filling per ravioli.
- 1 tablespoon butter plus 1 teaspoon
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels, divided (about 4 small ears of corn)
- 2 minced shallots
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme
- ⅓ cup grated Grana Padano or your favorite hard, Italian grating cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 shallot, minced
- 6 cups assorted vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, some halved
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup finely shredded fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon or so of sugar to balance acid & flavor, if you feel it's needed upon tasting
- 2 sticks butter
- ⅓ cup shredded basil (roll several basil leaves together and cut into thin strips)
- Saute 1 cup of corn in 1 teaspoon of butter until slightly golden, set aside.
- In the same pan, melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and add shallots. Saute until soft, but not brown. Add remaining cup of corn, salt and sugar and cook until corn is bright yellow. Add the cream and let it reduce, stirring, until barely any cream remains.
- Remove pan from heat and puree in food processor until creamy. Scrape into a bowl and stir in thyme, grana padano cheese, reserved cup of cooked, whole corn and grind black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool while making and rolling pasta dough from link above.
- Combine cherry tomatoes and basil in a medium bowl.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat vinegar, oil, and garlic over moderate heat until just simmering.
- Pour hot dressing over cherry tomatoes and basil and toss gently to combine. Let sit at room temperature for about one half hour to 45 minutes, while you assemble and cook ravioli.
- You will have leftover tomato compote, enjoy over any pasta or over crostini or bruschetta, OR just eat as is. Keep refrigerated and use within 2 or 3 days.
- In sauce pan, heat butter over medium high and cook until golden brown. Toss in basil just to wilt. Set aside until ravioli is cooked and plated.
- Lay one sheet of pasta dough, arrange balls of ravioli filling, and egg wash the dough with a brush in between. Take a another sheet of dough and gently cover the filling, sealing the dough tightly together. Cut the ravioli with a 3-inch cutter.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in ravioli and cook until they rise to the surface, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place 6 ravioli on each plate, and drizzle with brown butter basil sauce. Top each plate with warm tomato compote and extra shaved or grated Grana Padano.