Sunday, February 6, 2011

♥ Ravioli alla Vodka Sauce

Looking for something special but different for your Valentine? Me too!

A few year's ago I bought several copies of Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianicha for Christmas presents. A family of good cooks, I thought it would be fun if for some meals we would all take something from the cookbook and potluck style road test the recipes. What fun I thought! Fast forward to Christmas 2010 and my darling son gave me a pasta attachment set for my Kitchenaid  -- and a copy of Michael Ruhlman's Ratio. Intersect a passionate Italian and rational work flow for all things cooking. Did my brain hurt yet? Perhaps not, but obviously it has taken me some time to process.

I have never attempted homemade pasta. So did my research and  bought my semolina flour and started visioning what I wanted to make first.  Typically me. I dived right in with a ravioli creation to celebrate Valentine's Day. In my mind's eye, a pretty little heart shaped ravioli swimming in a equally lovey pink sauce. Wanting something other than standard marinara, I sought guidance from Lidia. What better than Vodka Sauce to pair with these cuties? With just a smidge of an alteration, I pay homage to Lidia's passion and expertise. I know enough to know what I don't know. That is the key to inspiration, let those whose who have a lifetime of knowing guide us in this culinary adventure. What a kick it would be to travel with her to Italy!

The result below,  velvety pink vodka sauce with a little bit of a kick and creamy three cheese ravioli. Perfect for my valentine.

♥ Ravioli alla Vodka

 ♥ Ravioli alla Vodka
It's all in the filling and the cutter!

Hot is Cupid's Arrow
Heart shaped cookie cutter
 ♥ Ravioli
Uncooked Ravioli

 ♥ Ravioli boiled
Ready to sauce!

What is in the filling? What did I change in Lidia's recipe? Click Read More!

I am also participating in something new: A cooking Monthly Mingle and selecting this recipe for the theme for February Mingle. This is a cool idea. See Paulachen Foodblog?!  Soul Food for Loved Ones for all the Feb. 2011 Monthly Mingle Roundup. More information about Monthly Mingles at Meeta's What's for Lunch Honey Site

 ♥ Heart Ravioli alla Vodka
Serves 4 - 6

Fresh pasta rolled out for ravioli filling (~24 large ravioli)
¾ cup Semolina Flour
¾ cup Unbleached Flour
½ tsp kosher salt
2 Tbl Water
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 eggs
Mix ingredients, kneed 10 minutes manually until elastic. Let rest 10-30 minutes while sauce is cooking.  Cut into 4 evenly sized pieces, roll into sheets to create ravioli. Place 1 tsp filling, brush with egg wash (1 beaten egg, 2 tbl water whisked together), top with pasta layer, seal, cut and set aside.
When all raviolis are shaped and sealed; cook in boiling water 5 minutes. Serve with sauce.

1 15 oz. container Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
½ cup Fontinella Cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 beaten egg
⅛ tsp granulated garlic ( or 1 clove minced)
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 pinch fresh nutmeg, grated
1 pinch white pepper

Vodka Sauce
Based on the recipe from Lidia Bastianich, Italian-American Kitchen, pg. 108
¼ cup roasted red and yellow peppers
1 can 28-32 oz Whole Peeled Tomatoes
10 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers (or to taste)
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ c Vodka
½ c Heavy Cream
¾ C Parmesan, shredded
2 Tbl Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped and divided
¼ c Olive Oil, plus 1 tbl for finishing drizzle

Puree in food processor tomatoes, their juice, and roasted peppers.
Crush whole garlic cloves on cutting board and remove from husk. Set cloves aside in prep bowl. Don’t worry about “how much” garlic, leaving them whole imparts a more subtle flavor and you fish them out before serving.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in large pot. Add salt to water once it has begun boiling.

Slightly brown garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Should be just beginning to look golden and not brown. Gently pour in pureed tomatoes and pepper mixture and bring to a boil. Add salt and crushed red peppers, lower heat to a simmer, then add vodka. Simmer while you are finishing the raviolis.  After 15 minutes or when you are about ready to serve, removed garlic cloves and add cream. Stir to blend, continue cooking over low heat add 1 tablespoon of parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Drain cooked ravioli and add to skillet (if you have room!),  and continue cooking for about 2 minutes to fully coat the pasta. Serve with grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.

Cook’s Tips
You can make the pasta ahead of time up to 1 day wrapped in plastic, refrigerated up to 1 day.
The better the vodka, the better the flavor.
Timing, timing, timing. The fresh ravioli only take about 5 minutes to cook and your sauce can simmer away until you are ready for this step.
Served with 2008 Ruffino Chianti, Italy

Recipe from What About The Food? Blog Copyright 2010-2011


  1. this is such a lovely idea! i was given a pasta maker about 6 months ago and i keep meaning to try it out. this looks like the perfect recipe.

  2. Your kind comments are appreciated. I hope you have fun playing with the new kitchen hardware and get some terrific results!

  3. wow, this looks just TOO good! so impressive and I loved reading about your venture into pasta-making. all your food is infused with such generosity and love!

    (I used to make vodka sauce at a fancy Italian deli while going to college...must try this version!)

  4. Hi Jenn!
    As one who knows what goes on -- before -- the picture is taken I'm sure you can appreciate the crazy pasta making! There were moments I wondered, "what was I thinking!" But, as luck would have it, all turned out ok. I hope you do try Lidia's alla Vodka and relive those college days. Truly a wonderful part of this meal.

  5. Bravo - your heart-shaped ravioli look perfect. Great sauce too.

  6. Hi Sally, I am so glad you found your way here from Dubai. Your blog is fabulous, bright and creative. I appreciate your kind comments sincerely.


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