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I have to say this is my favorite Thomas Keller recipe. It comes from The French Laundry Cookbook. We make it every New Years and on many other special occasions. The ravioli is sweet and delicate. The sauce is divine. I make ravioli instead of agnolotti because it is easier.

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For the Sweet Potato Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 slices bacon, frozen and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Pinch of allspice and nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sage Cream:

  • 1/3 cup sage leaves (from about 4 bunches; use the smaller leaves for the fried sage leaf garnish)
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 1cup Beurre Monte

To finish:

  • Canola oil for deep-frying
  • 48 tiny sage leaves (reserved from above)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 4 thin slices of prosciutto, cut crosswise into fine julienne

To make the Beurre Monte:

Thomas Keller describes Beurre Monte sauce as a workhorse sauce and many of his recipes include it. Whether you emulsify 4 tablespoons  or 1 pound of butter, just a tablespoon of water will do. Any amount of Beurre Monte can be made using the following method.

Bring the tablespoon of water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and begin whisking the chunks of butter into the water, bit by bit, to emulsify. Once you have established the emulsion, you can continue to add pieces of butter until you have the quantity of beurre monte that you need (1 cup). It is important to keep the level of heat gentle and consistent in order to maintain the emulsification. Make Beurre Monte close to the time it will be used and keep it in a warm place.

To make the Sweet Potato filling:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the ends off the potatoes and wrap the potatoes individually in aluminum foil, dividing 4 tablespoons of butter evenly among them. Bake until they are soft, 1 to 2 hours (the time will vary, depending on the size of the potatoes). Unwrap the cooked potatoes and cut a slit lengthwise in the skin of each. Pull the skin away from the potato and discard. Push the potatoes through a potato ricer while they are hot and place in a saucepan.

Place the diced bacon in a skillet. Cook until it is lightly browned and the fat has been rendered. Transfer the bacon pieces to paper towels to drain briefly, then add them to the potatoes.

Stir the potatoes over low heat, seasoning to taste with the squab spice and salt and pepper. Mix in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. You will have about 1 2/3 cups filling (enough to fill 35 – 40 ravioli). Refrigerate the filling until chilled, or for up to 2 days, before filling the ravioli.

To make the pasta:

Make fresh pasta. Divide the pasta dough into three pieces. Set the rollers of the pasta machine at the widest setting. Take one third of the finished pasta dough, almost 5 ounces, and cut it in half. Run the dough through the pasta machine. Fold the dough in half, end to end, turn it a quarter turn, and run it through the same setting again. Repeat this procedure two more times. Set the openings of the rollers down one notch and run the pasta through. Decrease the opening another notch and run the dough through again. Continue this process until the second to last setting. Repeat with the remaining 5 sections of pasta dough.

Dust a wooden work surface with flour. I use a large ravioli press to make my ravioli. If you don’t have a press follow these instructions. Place a sheet of pasta dough on a lightly floured surface. Brush the surface of the dough with egg wash. Mark (don’t cut) 12 circles  in the dough with the dull side of a 2-inch round cutter, leaving at least 1/2 inch between them. Center 1 tablespoon of the sweet potato filling in a mound on each circle. Line up one end of a second sheet of dough along one end of the dough and carefully drape the pasta sheet over the filling, pressing down between the mounds of filling. Run you fingers around each mound of the filling to press out any air bubbles. Using a 2 1/4 – inch round cutter, cut out the 12 ravioli. Using a fork, carefully press the edges of the rounds together to secure the filling inside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly dust it with flour, and place the finished ravioli on it. Repeat this process with the remaining pasta sheets. If the ravioli are to be used within a few hours cover the baking sheet lightly and refrigerate.

To make the sage cream:

Blanch the 1/3 cup of sage leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, cool in cold water, and drain again. Squeeze the leaves dry. Heat the creme fraiche, beurre monte, and salt over low heat until hot; do not boil. Place the sage in a blender to chop it. With the motor running, pour the hot cream mixture through the top of the blender and blend thoroughly. Strain the cream into a large skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

To complete:

In  a small sauce pan, heat oil for deep-frying to 275 degrees. Fry the sage leaves briefly, just until they are crisp (their color should not change), and drain on paper towels. Place the butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook to a nutty brown color; reduce the heat and keep warm.

Meanwhile cook the ravioli in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the cooked ravioli and mix them gently with the sage cream. Divide the ravioli among 6 serving dishes and drizzle with browned butter. Scatter some prosciutto over each serving and garnish with the fried sage leaves.

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This gnocchi recipe is from the Williams Sonoma “Complete Pasta Cookbook” and makes 6 servings. Gnocchi goes well with a large variety of sauces. The brown butter, sage and walnut sauce is easy to make and it also is a great sauce for ravioli.

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For the gnocchi:

  • 2 lbs of russet potatoes
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 qt water

For the sauce:

  • 40  sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup canola oil for deep-frying

To make the gnocchi:

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Using a fork, puncture the potatoes in several places and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Cool until easy to handle.

Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks, place in a bowl and mash or rice them. Add the egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing just until the dough is smooth but still just slightly sticky (some potatoes will take more flour than others). Divide the dough into pieces the size of a tennis ball.

On a floured surface, form each piece of dough into a rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Place one piece at a time on the inside curve of a fork. With the tip of the index finger pointing directly perpendicular to the fork, press the pieces of dough against the prongs, toward the fork handle. Let it roll off and drop to the work surface.

In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and the gnocchi in batches. When they float to the surface, cook for an additional 15 seconds.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large warmed bowl.

To make the brown butter, sage and walnut sauce:

To toast the walnuts, preheat an oven 325 degrees. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring once, until they just begin to change color, 5- 10 minutes.

To make the brown butter, in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the 6 tablespoons of the butter, skimming off and discarding any foam that forms on the top. Continue until the butter is a deep golden brown. Remove from heat.

To prepare the sage, in  a small sauce pan, heat oil for deep-frying to 275 degrees. Fry the sage leaves briefly, just until they are crisp (their color should not change), and drain on paper towels.

Combine the walnuts and fried sage to the brown butter. Add the brown butter, sage and walnut sauce to the gnocchi and toss gently.

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Fresh Pasta

This fresh pasta dough recipe comes from Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry Cookbook” (p. 78). I use this recipe all the time and swear by it. It makes great fettuccine, agnolotti and ravioli. I am not as patient or as strong as other chefs so I use my kitchen aid mixer to combine and knead the pasta dough. I use a pasta maker to roll out and cut the dough. This basic recipe will be cited in future pasta dishes posted to BaileysBarkery. The recipe makes about 14 ounces of pasta dough.

  • 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk

In the mixer bowl add the flour and make a well. In the well add the egg, egg yolks, olive oil and milk. Combine the dough on low speed using a dough hook. If the dough is wet add a little more flour. The dough will thicken and combine around the hook. You may have to add more flour.

At medium speed knead the dough. You may have to pull the dough from the hook occasionally if it creeps up and clings to the hook. The dough should not be wet. It should be firm and elastic. If the dough is wet you can continue to add a little bit of flour (a teaspoon at a time) as you continue to knead. The kneading process usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Double-wrap the dough in plastic wrap to ensure that it does not dry out. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before rolling it through a pasta machine. The dough can be made a day ahead, wrapped, and refrigerated; bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Set the rollers of the pasta machine at the widest setting (1). Cut the pasta into six equal pieces. Take one half of the finished pasta dough, flatten with hands until it is about half an inch thick, and run it through the machine. Fold the dough in half, end to end, turn it a quarter turn, and run it through the same setting again. Repeat this process two more times, but for the last time, fold the pasta sheet lengthwise in half to give you a narrower piece of pasta and run it through the machine.

Set the openings of the roller down two notches (3) and run the pasta through twice. Do not fold it over. Decrease the opening another 2 notches (5) and run the dough through the machine one more time. The sheet of pasta should be thin and about 5 inches wide. Set the finished sheet of pasta on a lightly floured surface. Repeat this process with the remaining 5 pieces of pasta dough. At this point you can use the sheets of pasta to make lasagna, ravioli or agnolotti.

To make fettuccine, take the sheets of pasta and run them through the cutting adapter on your pasta machine. When you feed the dough through the cutting blades try to have your hand under the cutting blades so you can capture the cut pasta in your hands. Immediately after cutting the dough, lift a small handful of the noodles and drape them in a nest shape onto a lightly floured surface to dry (30-60 minutes depending on how humid your kitchen is). The dried pasta can be used right away or it can be kept for several weeks.

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100_21231If you like butter, lemon and nuts you will like this pasta.  This recipe is very rich and tasty, but far from light.  You can add sauted shrimp or chicken to this recipe.

  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper Pappardelle pasta
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 cup dry Marsala
  • 2 tablespoons fine lemon zest
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios
  • 2-3 slices of sourdough bread

Lightly toast the sourdough bread.  Break the bread into into crumbs (I pulse the bread in a food processor.)  In a small frying pan over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add the bread crumbs, raise the heat to high and toast, stirring often, until they turn golden.  Set aside.

In a saute pan over low heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add the onion and the water and saute over medium-low heat until the onion is tender and translucent.  The butter and water will reduce by 1/3.  Add the lemon zest, marsala, pistachios and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Saute for 4-6 minutes.  Cover and keep the sauce warm.

Cook the pappardelle until it is al dente.  Drain the pappardelle and add it to the sauce.  Toss well, plate and  sprinkle with the bread crumbs.

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