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Santa Barbara, CA, United States
I enjoy creating original wine-pairing recipes that are healthful and delicious. I work for Touring & Tasting a Santa Barbara based wine club and national magazine as Food Editor. However, I am not paid for this blog and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I received my Personal Chef Skills Competency Award from the SBCC's School Of Culinary Arts. In 2012, I started Inside Wine - Santa Barbara with pal Lila Brown which features wine tastings with winery owners and winemakers. I also serve on the Board of the Santa Barbara Culinary Arts group, which had Julia Child as one of the founding members and funds scholarships for SBCC culinary students in her name.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

The Joys of Handmade Pasta

Making pasta is one of the joys of cooking. When the clumpy, gooey mess of flour and egg begins to come together, the supple smooth dough begins to feel like firm pliant flesh. The pasta springs back to the touch like a living being, and it has a wonderful, fresh smell of egg yolks and good olive oil. Pasta is one of the best things to make for a potluck because people are impressed (don't let them know how easy it is to make!) and if done well, becomes the hit of the party. You'll know when it has been a success when people crowd you for the recipe--so this one is tried and found to be true!

Helpful hints for less mess:
1. Use a big ceramic bowl to mix the dough--the one I have is large enough that I can do all the kneading inside of it and not have to clean up a floured board.
2. Use parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking to the counter, instead of flour--the clean up is easier and there's no wasted ingredients.
3. Drape the bottom layer over a mini-muffin tin, but don't press it into the cups. The dough will droop down a bit, making a small depression where you can spoon the filling exactly in the center of each ravioli.

1 cup blue cheese
1 1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated grana padano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups white flour
3/4 cup pastry flour (can be whole wheat)
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
handful rock salt
You will need a pasta machine and optional mini-muffin tin.
Mix flour and salt in large bowl; make well in center. Add eggs, yolks, and olive oil to the middle of the well. Mix with your fingers, then start kneading. The dough will be sticky at first. Keep kneading in the bowl or on a floured surface (or large ceramic bowl) for at least 10 minutes. The dough will get smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic and let rest 1 hour at room temperature. Cut the dough into four sections and and roll out each one through the pasta machine. Cover the dough that is not being rolled with plastic wrap while you work. Begin with the thickest setting, folding the pasta into thirds after the first run. Run it through 2 times through each setting (or according to your pasta machine's instructions) until you get to the thinnest, which you can just run through once. Lay a sheet over a mini-muffin tin--do not pat down into the muffin holes. The pasta will droop a bit over the holes--spoon a teaspoon of filling into each depression, then top with another piece of dough and press around the filling to seal. Cut out the individual ravioli with a sharp knife. Using your fingers, press the top and bottom dough together around each ravioli. Save the scrap dough to reroll into sheets that can be used for more ravioli or for noodles. Lay the finished ravioli on a sheet of parchment paper or lightly floured surface. Boil a large pot of water, then toss in a handful of rock salt. Cook the ravioli until al dente, about 10 - 12 minutes. Plate and serve with sauce. Makes about 28 ravioli--six to nine servings, depending on your appetite. Pair this delicious ravioli with a glass of 2007 DARE Cabernet Sauvignon.

Antonio Gardella's wine class at the School of Culinary Arts flew by in a flash. We'll miss having him regale us with stories of fabulous wines and experiences that are beyond any we will ever have--like dinners with Julia Child and Robert Parker, Jr. and winemaker feasts in Europe where fine wine flowed in rivers. Recently, he met with his Santa Barbara wine tasting group whre all the wines had to have ratings of 98 point and above--they had 18 of these wines in one evening! What we will remember most, besides his encyclopedic knowledge of wine, is his passion for his work. It's clear he loves all aspects from the vineyard to the glass, and loves teaching wine appreciation. "Wine" he says, "opens the doors to ecstasies and dreams and stirs the fierce embers of memories".

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