Sweet Potato and Chevre Ravioli- Can I pull it off??
This past weekend Aaron and I had our first official “dinner party” in NYC. I think this is what I have been missing the most about our place in St. Paul, is having guests. Since this was a special occasion and landmark for us here, I decided to try making something that I have been salivating about for the past 2 months. For those of you that watch Iron Chef, I guarantee that you will be familiar with this dish. In January they did a special White House episode with Chef Cristeta Comerford, the White House Executive Chef and Iron Chef Bobby Flay against Emerill Lagasse and Iron Chef Mario Batali. I believe that Iron Chef Flay and Chef Comerford won the battle, but Iron Chef Batali won me over with the ravioli that he made. They were filled with a blend of goat cheese (chevre) and sweet potato. But to make them extra special, in the center of each ravioli, an egg yolk was placed. The yolk just barely gets cooked in the boiling water and then when the ravioli is cut open, the yolk oozes out creating a rich sauce for the pasta. The ravioli was also covered in a brown butter sauce with shaved truffle. There is something about the way that Iron Chef Batali says “Bon Appetito” that makes his dishes sound ridiculously amazing. So, I decided to try to replicate this ravioli at home. As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I decided to have a traditional 5 course Italian feast.
This was a perfect excuse for me to head over to Chelsea Market and get all of my groceries there. It was pretty packed with people on a Saturday afternoon, but we had a lot of fun finding the perfect items for our feast. I was especially impressed with the very reasonable prices at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange. We even got to go to a quick wine tasting while we were there!!!
Here was our menu:
Primo: Sweet potato and chevre ravioli in brown butter sauce
Second0: Braised Short Ribs
Insalata: Mixed greens with Balsamic vinaigrette
Dolce: Cream puffs and cheesecake
All courses were paired with a delicious bottle of wine!
Our lovely guests Ty and Meredith took care of the bruschetta. It is a great way to start a meal, light and refreshing.
The ravioli was quite the process, but ended up being worth every second. I had looked online to see if I could find a recipe for this magic ravioli, but failed. I decided to wing it and see what I could do from my memory of the show. For the pasta, I found a recipe for ravioli dough from Tyler Florence. I don’t have a pasta machine, so I used a rolling-pin instead and it worked great. For the filling, I cooked 2 sweet potatoes and pureed them in a food processor with 8 oz. of chevre, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, sage, a little parmesan and 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream. The purchase of a ravioli press at the kitchen supply store at Chelsea Market to helped me cut out the individual ravioli. It was the perfect size, probably about 5 inches wide. I made a little bed in the filling for each egg yolk and then put the ravioli together. After letting them dry out for an hour or so, I cooked them in boiling salted water for about 3-5 minutes. For the brown butter sauce, I had bought this butter that I found at the Buonitalia that is made from the same cow’s milk that goes into Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I browned it on the stove top and then drizzled it over each ravioli with some romano cheese and fresh parsley. They really turned out perfectly, exactly like I had pictured them and they tasted delicious–very rich and smooth with the egg yolk adding an element of surprise and depth to the flavor of the ravioli. If you have any other questions for me about how to make these, let me know. They are seriously so yummy!
I found the recipe for braised short ribs from Anne Burrell. We decided to splurge and get the ribs from the butcher at Chelsea Market. It was a lot of fun to watch the butcher estimate what he thought 4 lbs. of short ribs would be and then tell me how beautiful they were (I wouldn’t have known the difference…)! His estimate was a bit off and we ended with 5.5 lbs., oh well! Here is a picture of them before we seasoned and braised them. I sort of forgot to take a picture of them once they were finished. They were pretty fatty and I was more concerned about making sure that everyone got a lean enough piece of meat.
Overall, this meal was so much fun to make. I had been obsessing over those ravioli long enough and it was about time that I did something about it!! The only thing that made me a bit sad was how hard it was to accomplish all of this in our kitchen. When was said and done, it looked like our party of 4 was actually a party of about 12. Yikes! I thought I would include a pic of the tortured kitchen. I finally got around to doing the dishes today and it took me 2 hours!!