Honor & Ravioli

ravioli

There will always be days that cause more grief than others. Holidays and anniversaries are particularly hard for some, but for me it is the month of April. April is bittersweet; the time of one of my greatest joys and definitely my greatest sorrow. William died on the 16th of April just 6 days shy of his 23rd birthday. It has been 3 years since Will’s accident. Where do I go from here? Where do you go from here?

honor

Will at Great Lakes Boot Camp

Those in mourning have two choices as I see it. Remain in the never changing deep dark hole or adapt and develop an amazing strength (we all have it) to continue the climb up and out. The transformation is not perfect, but allows one to move forward. It is the honorable thing to do. It is what your loved one wants IMHO.

honorMy William was all about HONOR. I may be over-glorifying him, but I truly believe he had a keen sense of ethical conduct and respect for others. His word was a guarantee that it would get done. Certainly, he honored all of us with his love of family, friends and country.

Speaking of family and honor my father would always tell me that the best thing about me is being Italian. So to honor my mom and dad today I will share my mom’s best recipe. She always made these ravioli for Easter and they were created on a board that my grandpa Matino made for her. I make them now on that same board. It is my honor to share this recipe with all of you.

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Ravioli

DOUGH

1 ½ cups semolina flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons olive oil

FILLING

1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese

¼ pound shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Mix flour and salt on work surface forming a well. Drop eggs, 1 tablespoon of water and oil in center. Beat lightly with a fork and combine egg mixture and flour together, adding enough water gradually to form dough. Knead dough until smooth; cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Using a pasta machine, according to manufacturer directions, cut and roll dough into thin sheets. In large bowl, mix all filling ingredients together; blend well. Drop spoonfuls of filling about 1 ½-inches apart on 1 sheet of dough. Cover with another sheet of dough. With fingertips press dough around each spoonful of filling being careful not to make any air pockets. Cut into squares with a crimped rotary cutter. When ready to serve drop ravioli into salted boiling water; cook until tender. They will float. Serve with your favorite sauce.

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Happiness, Let It Go & Frozen Peas

spring peas & pasta

spring peas & pasta

Inspired by the Oscar nominated songs I have decided to seek Happiness today and let the grief go…..at least for now. We all deserve a break from our grief and why not do some happy things in the process? Plus it has been one long snow storm in my neck of the woods and anything to break this cabin fever and help me ease into spring will be a welcomed delight. What makes you happy?

The Deamon Deacon Dog makes me happy

The Deamon Deacon Dog makes me happy

For me, it starts with planning a garden. I am currently taking a class, “The Hungry Gardener” at the famous Longwood Gardens which is just a mile from my house. The class is filled with a variety of interesting people including a private chef, a health coach and a young couple living on a 60 acre farm. We all have one thing in common and that is the desire to grow our own food. I also signed on with a web based program offered by the Territorial seed company. I can plan my entire garden on the computer complete with alerts and reminders about crop rotation, frost dates, when to start and plant seeds, etc. It’s fun and makes me happy. I can’t wait to harvest what I sow.

Happiness is a day with my daughter at Longwood Gardens

Happiness is a day with my daughter at Longwood Gardens

In the meantime, I am eating frozen peas. It’s OK as they are the one vegetable that tastes quite good directly from the freezer to the pot. Nothing could be easier or tastier than this old-fashioned Italian specialty: Pasta with Peas. I bet you have all the ingredients right in your pantry and freezer. Happy Spring!

Happiness in a hot air balloon and seeing Cait and Sam so happy makes me happy

Happiness in a hot air balloon and seeing Cait and Sam so happy makes me happy

mise en place

mise en place

Spring Peas & Pasta

1 ½ cups ditalini pasta or small shells

1 cup frozen petite peas

1-tablespoon olive oil (Olio Carli brand is my favorite)

1-tablespoon butter

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced

1 (14 oz) can chicken broth

¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. During last 5 minutes of cooking time add frozen peas. Meanwhile, in large skillet, over medium heat, combine olive oil and butter. Add onions; cook 5 to 8 minutes or until softened. The onions should not get brown. Add garlic and prosciutto; cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add broth. Drain water from pasta and peas; add to skillet. Cook until just heated through. Add cheese and parsley. Spoon into serving bowls and top with additional cheese and parsley and some freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Note: season as you go with salt and fresh pepper. You can also add a pinch of crushed red pepper when you’re heating the olive oil and butter