Here are pictures of 5 dishes. 2 are dishes I made at home and 3 are from Lawrence restaurant where I work.
A local chanterelle and small zuchini linguini I made with a yolk from a “Les Fermes Valens” egg. Lots of olive oil, parsley and parmesan. The pasta was store bought unfortunately; had it been homemade this dish would have been a homerun.
Yesterday was raining. I like snow more than I like rain, but rain in March is a sign of things to come and is thus somewhat enjoyable. But waking up today, thinking that the rain would have washed away some of the snow accumulation and finding out instead that it was snowing and that Montreal was covered in white once again was a shock I did not expect! Oh well… There’s not much we can do about it.
Saturdays are Carolina and I’s day off, and we spent the day slowly getting things done that weren’t that important. We met up with a good friend of mine, discussed movies and had absolutely delicious burritos and quesadillas at Burritoville.
Perhaps the best in Montreal… They also make a light and very simple quinoa salad with yellow bell peppers and celeri that is surprisingly satisfying. I think it’s mixed in with a touch of lemon juice, dried oregano and salt. Simple, simple, simple.
Last night we had frozen eggplant parmigiana from Pasta a Go Go. Far off the beaten path, Pasta a Go Go is on Henri Bourassa in Montreal’s Anjou area. The chef/owner is Roberto Bergola, a man in his early 40s who used to make the pasta at a restaurant calle Bronte I worked at. He makes the best pasta I’ve ever had. Although, as the article about him that I’m about to share with you states, he humbly refutes that claim and reminds us all how simple pasta really is.
Who cares! He still makes the best pasta I’ve ever had. I went to see him a few weeks ago to catch up and dig through his culinary knowledge. He’s a wonderfully sincere and generous man. I’m delighted that I decided to make the trek to see him. If you live in Montreal, seriously consider doing so. Once there, you’ll be able to stock up on fabulous frozen meals that will facilitate your life without sacrificing on flavor or draining your wallet.
His tomato sauce is a perfect balance of sweet and acidic, his pasta is light with just the right amount of bite, his meat balls melt in your mouth flavored with great quality parmesan, and his egglant parmigiana is surprisingly light for a dish consisting of cheese, tomato sauce, eggplants and a bit of pasta. When there, I had baked mushroom ricotta raviolis that were wonderful, and he gave me some spinach ricotta raviolis to try that were equally savory.
Refined flours are not something that I would ever declare as healthy, in fact, most of what I’ve read describe them as literally unhealthy. However, they are simple and satisfying, and one must indulge occasionally.
Last night I made two different kinds because I didn’t have enough of a single pasta to make both Carolina and I dinner, and because, for whatever reason, I don’t like the combination of broccoli and tomatoes.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these, ahah. I have a few other recipe posts planned, but I work as a waiter and thus am not cooking as much as I’d like.
However, a few nights ago I was invited to a friend’s house who was making salmon fillets for a group of our friends. I had bought some ricotta cheese a few days earlier that I used as a dessert with a bit of honey, walnuts and apple slices. It’s a nice, light and healthy way to get some additional vitamins and minerals after a meal. (There are numerous sites on the web that give you a breakdown of a food’s nutrient content. For those interested in learning more I suggest you look at this site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ )
And so, needing to use the cheese while it was still fresh, I decided I would make some homemade pasta. I had never done ravioli before but had made pasta a few times over the last few years. When my wife and I got married, we received a pasta machine that facilitates the shaping of the dough. I don’t think that it is necessary to have one, although it certainly makes it easier. I also have a rolling pin, that I’ve used to prep the pasta for the machine, and I was lucky enough to find a huge sq. meter wooden cutting board last year that I use for making doughs and pastas.
I looked up a basic recipe online and roughly followed it. Pasta isn’t like pastry cooking, it’s not a science. I used 2/3 type 00 flower that is a finely processed flower made for pasta, and I used 1/3 seminola flower in order to make the pasta a bit denser.
My proportions were as follows(rougly): 1/2 kilo of type 00 flower. 1/4 kilo of seminola flower. 5 whole eggs, and 2 egg yolks. Use the net for different measurement systems, i.e, cup sizes and so on…
I needed the dough added a bit of salt, a few tbls of extra virgin olive oil and continued to work the pasta until its texture looked even. There’s a trick people use to kneed pasta. You make a volcano shape with your flower mix, and add the eggs to the center and you slowly mix in the flower with the eggs in the center making sure to avoid flower clumps.
My ricotta mix was simple. I quickly blanched some spinach, mixed it in with my ricotta, some sun-dried tomatoes, some freshly grated Parmesan, a bit of salt and pepper, as well as a touch of olive oil.
I cut my pasta strips into squares, and placed a dollop of the ricotta mix in its center. I then used the egg white left over from the 2 eggs I used for their yolks when making the pasta, and lightly “painted” the pasta edges with my finger in order for the other layer to properly stick and i started sandwiching the ricotta mix between 2 pasta squares that I carefully closed making sure no air got stuck inside.
I placed them in a tupperware and put them in the fridge. You can keep them this way for a day or 2. One other thing I’d like to mention: I made way too much dough. I think half of what I made would have been enough. With the rest of the pasta that I didn’t stuff, I kept it in a ball that I covered in olive oil and also tupperwared it in order to make more during the week. Last night I made some pappardelle with asparagus, parsley, parmesan, lemon juice and olives. Simple and delicious. The pasta came out great.
Hope this helps some of you. The ricotta mix can be used for lasagna, stuffing a meat roast, a vegetable, and more. It makes a great dip also.