Italian Cooking Party cookbook!

cookbook-cover-w_bleed

It was a while in the making but it’s finally here! My new cookbook.

Italian Cooking Party

A Little Bit of Italy at Home

“Italian Cooking Party” captures the spirit and excitement of my Nashville Italian cooking parties. Over 100 authentic Italian recipes to cook at home and inspire your own Italian cooking parties.

img_0399

With hints on how to stock your Italian kitchen, recipes for each course of the Italian table, scrumptious menus, how to linger at the table Italian-style, plus taking it on the road to Italy.

img_9251

I’ve been leading Italian cooking parties in Nashville since 2009 to an enthusiastic circle of cooking enthusiasts. The intimate parties inspire Italian culture in the kitchen and at the table.

cannoli 3

That authentic Italian touch fills the book with my recipes and tips for everyone to bring a little bit of Italy home: Italian Cooking Party

Alimentum Books

178 pages

$30

Click here for more info.

IMG_7370.jpg

 

 

it’s time for butternut squash ravioli

Oh, yeah.

We made them in class tonight and all of us cooks in the kitchen flew around the dining room on an autumn breeze (even tho in Nashville it’s been averaging a sunny 80 degrees in the afternoons).

No matter. We whipped up this elixir of creamy filling in delicate pasta and bathed it in parsley-mint-walnut pesto. We couldn’t believe our tongues. Palates lighting up with sparks of tasty joy.

Join our journey. Recipe at end.

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli-making

butternut squash ravioli boiling (just 3 minutes)

butternut squash ravioli boiling (just 3 minutes)

parsley-mint-walnut pesto with some pasta water mixed in

parsley-mint-walnut pesto with some pasta water mixed in

butternut squash ravioli with parsley-mint-walnut pesto

butternut squash ravioli with parsley-mint-walnut pesto

Fresh Butternut Squash Ravioli w Parsley-Walnut Pesto

For the dough:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:

1 small butternut squash

1 cup ricotta

½ cup grated cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano)

1/2  teaspoon of ground nutmeg

salt & pepper to taste

For the Sauce:

2 cups fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup mint leaves

1 garlic clove, peeled, rough chopped

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup grated cheese

Make the dough: Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, and shape into a mound. Create a “well” in the mound and add the eggs. Using a fork slowly mix the flour into the egg, until the dough comes together and most or all the flour is mixed in. Gather the dough and knead it on a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, shape into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Make the filling: Rinse the squash and dry. Cut into quarters and spoon out the seeds. Place cut-side down on foil-lined sheet pan or casserole pan. Add about 1/2 -inch of water. Roast for about 40-45 minutes until flesh is tender. Allow to cool, then scoop out the squash into a medium mixing bowl. Mash the squash with a fork and add the cheeses, nutmeg. Combine well. Season with salt & pepper.

Make the ravioli: Cut the dough into four pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the other pieces covered in plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle, and roll through the pasta machine, changing the numbers from thick to thinner (lower to higher) one at a time until you reach the next-to-the-last number on the machine. Dust the sheet with flour in between every couple of numbers to keep it from sticking in the machine.

Lay the sheet on a table. Place scant ½-tablespoons of filling in row on the bottom half of the sheet, about an inch apart. Fold the top half over the bottom half. Press all the edges closed to seal well. Cut in between to make the individual ravioli. Place the finished ravioli on a flour-dusted sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Make the Sauce: Add the herbs, garlic, and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until minced. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Transfer to your pasta serving bowl.

Cook the ravioli: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Salt water. Drop in the ravioli and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Add a few spoonfuls  of pasta water to loosen and turn it from a paste to a sauce. Combine with ravioli. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Is it a class or a dinner party?

Well, both.

pasta-making

pasta-making

When I hold a cooking class I always feel like I’m hosting a dinner party.

A dinner party where everyone cooks.

And, of course, everyone eats.

We’re all in the kitchen.

cooking class

cooking class

Someone is chopping, someone sautéing, someone zesting, someone stirring,

someone seasoning…we’re all busy.

students whip perfect egg whites

students whip perfect egg whites

Chatting, laughing, learning about each other’s lives as we put together each dish…

in the kitchen

in the kitchen

…as we crank the handle on the pasta machine…

making fettuccine

making fettuccine

…as we teach our fingers to shape orecchiette and farfalle.

busy in the kitchen

Chef Paulette busy in the kitchen

Roll ropes of gnocchi. Roll out pliable pastry dough.

 

pastry

pastry

And any number of small and big tasks that go into making a great dinner.

And then we eat.

Yum!

Yum!

 

Fresh Pasta Cannelloni Stuffed w Spinach & Shrimp

cannelloni stuffed with shrimp & spinach

cannelloni stuffed with shrimp & spinach

Wednesday night’s class was a knockout!

Here are some pix…this is a delicious dish. Let me know if you’d like the recipe!

Cannelloni ingredients

Cannelloni ingredients

great cooks in my kitchen rolling up the cannelloni

great cooks in my kitchen rolling up the cannelloni

cannelloni almost ready to bake!

cannelloni almost ready to bake!

time to eat the cannelloni!

time to eat the cannelloni!

Just a few spots left in my Fall Cooking Classes

cooking class

cooking class

These classes listed below have a few openings left!

 

Renaissance Tastes – Wednesday October 2, 6:30 pm

Cocoa-Flavored Fresh Pasta w Spicy-Cinnamon Beef Ragu

Fennel, Frisee & Escarole Salad w Parmigiano Vinaigrette

Amaretti Cake w Spiced Almonds and Lemon Glaze

 

Lunch in Perugia – Saturday October 19, 12:30pm

Fresh-Made Orecchiette Pasta (little ears) w Savory Sausage Ragu

Fennel Parmigiano Braised in Milk

Sweet Rosemary & Grape Clafoutis (Cake)

 

Cozy Hilltown Night – Wednesday October 23, 6:30 pm

Baked Sausage, Peppers & Potatoes w Rosemary Cannellini Beans

Sautéed Garlicky Escarole w Pine Nuts, Currants & Marjoram-Infused Olive Oil

Pear & Almond Mini-Cakes w Vanilla Glaze

 

Comfort Favorites – Wednesday October 30, 6:30 pm

Spiced Shrimp in Lemony Cream Sauce w Baby-Penne

Artichokes Stuffed w Garlic & Herbed-Panko

Fresh-Baked Focaccia w Asparagus, Red Onion, & Hot Pepper

 

Greek Island Cruise – Saturday November 2, 12:30 pm

Lemony Hummus

Smoky Eggplant Babaganouj

Spinach & Feta Pies

Walnut & Honey Baklava

 

Fireside Supper – Wednesday November 6, 6:30 pm

Gorgonzola Polenta w Fennel-Scented Lamb Ragu

Roman Peas & Asparagus w Pancetta & Onions

Pumpkin-Ricotta Mini-Pies

 

Home Cooked Italian – Saturday November 23, 12:30 pm

Sautéed Crispy Peppery Pork Scallopine Cutlets

Aunt Mary’s Sweet Peppers w Walnuts & Capers

Buttery Mashed Potatoes w String Beans & Parsley

Tender-Crust Hand-Pies w Mascarpone & Blueberries

 

Christmas Cookie Bake (Take-Home Tins!) Wednesday, December 18, 6:30 pm

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Biscotti Regina – Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies

Chocolate Mini-Biscotti w Craisins & Pistachio Nuts