Tag Archives: extra dry vermouth

Tortellini at The Gulla’s

Tortellini at The Gulla’s

You know this labor of love is so worth the effort when you taste how tender and flavorful these homemade tortellini are! The delicate, circular shaped pasta are stuffed with a purée of sundried tomato, mozzarella, and Reggiano Parmesan and served in one of my all time favorites, a tomato-cream sauce.  I introduced Steve to another easy and scrumptious sauce, Gorganzola Dolce-Cream Sauce that’s garnished with fresh thyme and a drizzle of truffle oil! 

This past weekend I was at The Gulla’s house with Steve and his son Maximo making their homemade tortellini. Steve dedicates a few hours every Christmas Eve making these little gourmet bites for his family’s Christmas dinner. Making these tortellini is definitely a labor of love because you are creating each little amazing folded bundle of pasta by hand.

Having a Smart pasta machine like Steve’s really cuts down on the labor of making tortellini as the pasta comes out of the machine in long ready-made sheets in mere minutes. It’s a very cool process putting out smooth sheets of pasta in 3 minutes flat but you can also learn to make Steve’s tortellini using homemade pasta too if you don’t own an Smart pasta machine. I have a homemade pasta recipe below for all of us without a pasta machine who don’t want to miss out on learning how to make these incredible tortellini.

As Italian legend goes on how the shape of the tortellini came about dates back to the days when Venus, the Goddess of Love, was traveling to a small town in Italy between Modena and Bologna. She was staying at a tavern where the Innkeeper was so taken by her beauty he peeked thru the key to her room one night and got a glimse of her navel. He rushed to the kitchen and created a pasta in the likeness of her belly button. And that’s how the shape of the tortellini came about, the belly button pasta! Who Knew?

While you are working hard forming these wonderful tortellini you may need a little sip of something to get you through like a Metaxa Mojito! And for easy nibbles you can pick on some Mango Salsa, Sweet Potato Fries and Green Goddess Dip II,  Best Guacamole Ever or some delicious Mediterranean Layered Dip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGRDIENTS for making PASTA in The Smart Pasta Machine:

  • 3 parts flour
  • 1 part semolina
  • 180 ml OR 3/4 cup of water for 2 lbs flour in pasta machine
  • 1 egg and 1 tsp water whisked in a small bowl – set aside until ready to form tortellini

INGREDIENTS for Sun-dried Tomato FILLING:                                                                                         NOTE: THIS FILLING IS UNBELIEVEABLY DELICIOUS!…try it on crostini OR on crusty bread!

  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella – whole milk or part skim
  • 1/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Purée these ingredients with an immersion blender or add to food processor and pulse. Start with 2 tbsp of olive oil and add a little extra if needed to purée til smooth texture

DIRECTIONS FOR FORMING THE TORTELLINI WITH SHEETS OF PASTA MADE FROM THE PASTA MACHINE:

  1. Begin to cut 2″ circles with your cookie cutter out of the machine made sheets of pasta
  2. Brush top 1/2 of the circle edge with a whisked egg
  3. Place 1/4 tsp of sun dried tomato filling in the middle of the circle pasta
  4. Fold the circle in 1/2
  5. Press to SEAL the 1/2 circle of pasta…VERY IMPORTANT to SEAL this edge!
  6. Take 1/2 circle and wrap around your pinky having each end meet
  7. Press these two ends together to seal and form one continous circular shape
  8. Fold down top of circular pasta to form tortellini
  9. Place in a bowl as you finish each one until you gone thru all the pasta sheets
  10. Bring large pan of salted water to a boil and add fresh pasta
  11. Cook pasta for 8 minutes, test pieces of pasta for proper doneness
  12. Serve with tomato-cream sauce or Gorganzola Dolce-cream sauce, garnish with thyme and truffle oil … mmm!

INGREDIENTS FOR TOMATO-CREAM SAUCE:

  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 1/4 cup POMI “strained tomaotes” – 1 med box – 26 oz.
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Sauté finely chopped garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil for 3 minutes, add in POMI strained tomatoes, salt & oregano and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in 2 cups of heavy cream to tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer for 15 miutes more. Serve with cooked tortellini, garnish with fresh thyme (and truffle oil.

INGREDIENTS FOR GORGANZOLA DOLCE-CREAM SAUCE:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Gorganzola Dolce cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • truffle oil

Add heavy cream, Gorganzola, and vermouth to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. When it comes to a simmer whisk the melted cheese into the cream and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with tortellini, garnish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of truffle oil.

INGREDIENTS for Easy Homemade-Handmade Pasta- (Recipe from “Pasta at Vin’s“)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/2  – 5 lg eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put the kneading attachment on your food processor and add the flour
  2. Add the salt and olive oil
  3. Turn on the food processor to slow
  4. Add in 1 tbsp of water
  5. Begin adding in 1 egg at a time with the processor still on slow
  6. Add in the rest of the eggs
  7. Keep the food processor going on medium speed to begin kneading the dough
  8. Let knead for about 8 minutes until the texture turns into a smooth consistency
  9. Remove the pasta dough and place onto the counter
  10. Knead briefly with your hands and let sit for 1/2 hr.
  11. NOTE: Vin does not cover his pasta dough while it sits for the 1/2 so it can begin to dry out  a little bit
  12. Sprinkle some flour onto the counter or work surface and cut pasta dough into 8 pieces
  13. Begin to roll out each piece of dough to your desired thickness, into long lasagna-like sheets
  14. Sprinkle more flour on top of each thinly rolled out pasta piece and begin to cut out 2″ circles with your cookie cutter
  15. Brush top 1/2 of the circle edge with a whisked egg
  16. Place 1/4 tsp of sun dried tomato filling in the middle of the circle pasta
  17. Fold the circle in 1/2
  18. Press to SEAL the 1/2 circle of pasta…VERY IMPORTANT to SEAL this edge!
  19. Take 1/2 circle and wrap around your pinky having each end meet
  20. Press these two ends together to seal and form one continous circular shape
  21. Fold down top of circular pasta to form tortellini
  22. Place in a bowl as you finish each one until you gone thru all the pasta sheets
  23. Bring large pan of salted water to a boil and add fresh pasta
  24. Cook pasta for 8 minutes, test pieces of pasta for proper doneness
  25. Serve with tomato-cream sauce or Gorganzola Dolce-cream sauce, garnish with thyme and truffle oil … mmm!

 

 

Gorganzola Dolce Cream Sauce with Fresh Thyme

Gorganzola Dolce Cream Sauce with Fresh Thyme

This Gorganzola Dolce cream sauce with fresh thyme couldn’t get any easier and your dinner guests will think you secretly went to culinary school and became a saucier! Gorganzola Dolce cheese originated in Northern Italy, and is made from cows milk. It’s a mild, creamy, and sweet cheese great for spreading on baguette slices or even crackers. It’s moister than Stilton and definitely more buttery than Roquefort. It’s decadent really, one of my very favorite cheeses of all times along side of Taleggio…another amazing Italian cheese!

I came up with this recipe because I serve it on my homemade gnocchi (potato pasta) with truffle oil and fresh thyme. You won’t believe how easy this is to make. You can make it to go over any kind of pasta you like and pair it up with grilled steaks or sautéed chicken along side.

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Ingredients: Makes enough for 1 lb. pasta

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of Gorganzola Dolce Cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup extra dry vermouth or white wine
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Reggiano Parmeggiano to sprinkle on top at the end
  • Truffle oil

Directions:

  1. Pour heavy cream into a medium sauce pan on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add in the gorganzola dolce cheese and whisk just to combine.
  3. Add in the vermouth and simmer for 5 minutes on low
  4. Turn off and stir in 1 Tbsp of fresh thyme leaves..set aside til pasta is ready
  5. Cook 1 lb. of your favorite tubular, shaped pasta, or gnocchi and pour sauce over
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of Reggiano cheese, a drizzle of truffle oil and more fresh thyme leaves sprinkled on top

You may want to serve some appetizers with this dinner like:

Jumbo Crab Cakes

Jumbo Crab Cakes

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Curry-Yogurt Dip & Asparagus

Curry-Yogurt Dip & Asparagus

Seafood Stuffed Artichokes

Seafood Stuffed Artichokes

Artichokes, any way you cook them are simply a treat because they are a seasonal veggie here on the east coast. 100 percent of all artichokes that are commercially grown in the U.S. come from California where you can pretty much buy them year round. My artichoke recipe is a tasty concoction of shrimp, sea scallops, fresh spinach, mushrooms, onion, garlic, Reggiano Parmesan, bread crumbs, red wine, extra dry vermouth and chicken broth. They are a lot of work granted but it’s not like you make these all the time and once you taste them you’ll want to set aside time in the future to plan for these babies!

The Artichoke is actually a relative of the thistle so if you ever see one fully mature they open into this incredibly gorgeous giant purple flower. That’s where the choke comes in because it’s a cluster of immature florets at the center of the artichoke which is not edible. This hairy-like choke in the center MUST be removed when you stuff them. I show you how to prep the artichokes and scrape out that choke in the photos below. This seafood stuffed artichoke recipe is delicious with my sun-dried tomato aioli sauce for dunking the leaf ends and heart and you can make this aioli dip a couple of days ahead. After these stuffed artichokes you may need a sweets recipe that you can make the day before like pavlova with fresh pineapple and berries, or chocolate-avocado mousse.

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Ingredients – Serves 4 People at 1 Stuffed Artichoke Each:

  • 1 recipe of sun-dried tomato aioli sauce
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 3 large sea scallops cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 10 lg shrimp cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 1/2 lb)
  • 3 strips of Boars Head Bacon
  • 6 button mushroom caps sliced thinly and then chopped
  • 6 oz. fresh spinach leaves coarsely chopped (a handful less than a bag)
  • 1/2 large spanish onion or Vidalia onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves put thru the garlic press
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine (1/4 cup to deglaze onion/mushroom mixture and 2 Tbsp in the stuffing and 1/4 in baking dish with vermouth and chicken broth)
  • 3/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tsp salt (1 Tsp for boiling the artichokes)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and sliced up lemon
  2. Cut the ends off of the artichokes
  3. Cut 1  1/2 ” off the top
  4. Using your thumbs in the center of the artichoke pull apart as much as you can to loosen the inner layers a little
  5. Insert pointy spoon and begin to dig in to the center removing the purple pointy leaves and keep digging til you reach the hairy choke and then remove all of that too
  6. Rinse the center holes of the artichokes to fully remove any left over choke
  7. Always keep the all the artichokes in the lemon water bowl while working on them (it helps them from not turning too brown)
  8. Pour the whole bowl of lemon water and artichokes into a large pan and add 1 tsp salt
  9. Bring to a boil ( this will take about 15 minutes) and then simmer for 30 minutes
  10. Drain Artichokes and turn them upside down in a baking dish to further drain
  11. Cook up 3 pieces of Boars Head Bacon til crispy, chop and set aside
  12. Sauté the chopped onion, mushrooms caps and garlic cloves put thru press in 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 Tbsp butter, and 1/2 Tsp salt til golden about 12-15 minutes
  13. Add in 1/4 cup red wine to de-glaze pan, let reduce for 1 minute
  14. Add in fresh chopped spinach and cover for 2 minutes
  15. Mix spinach with tongs and take sauteed onion/mushroom/spinach mixture off of the stove  and put into a fresh bowl to let cool
  16. Wash, dry and chop sea scallops and shrimp to 1/2″ pieces
  17. When onion/mushroom mixture is cooled add in scallops, shrimp, Gruyere, Parmesan, chopped bacon, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and 2 Tbsp red wine
  18. Mix items gently together
  19. Turn artichoke over in baking dish, drain any water left over at the bottom
  20. Stuff the artichokes with the seafood stuffing making sure to add in to all the layers of leaves going around the artichoke as shown in the photo
  21. When the artichoke is stuffed add in 3/4 cup extra-dry vermouth, 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup red wine to the bottom of the baking dish
  22. Cover the Artichokes with foil and bake for 35 minutes
  23. Take Foil off and bake 5 minutes more
  24. Serve with sun-dried aioli sauce on the side for dipping the leaves and dunking the heart …mangia!