Butternut squash ravioli

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The holidays are approaching faster than ever. It’s that perfect time of the year to take some time to cook something delicious from scratch for your loved ones. Butternut squash ravioli is a traditional recipe from Emilia Romagna in central Italy but is enjoyed across the country as a holiday classic. There is a version of this recipe from the town Mantova that sees the addition of amaretti cookies and fruit preserve. We are proposing the classic one, but  by adding the mentioned ingredients in the filling and you will obtain the Mantova version.
We love this dish! It’s a celebration of squash and winter flavors, simple yet comforty and delicious.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Recipe for 2

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash (about 2lb when whole)
2T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
sea salt
ground black pepper
¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
¼tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 garlic clove
2 stalks fresh rosemary
3T butter
1 small bunch sage

Pasta:
2 Eggs
100 grams “00” flour
100 grams semolina flour

Directions:
Cut Squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut is smaller chunks (about 1inch thick) and place in a baking dish. Season with 2T EVOO,1 tablespoon of salt and half a tablespoon of pepper. Break the rosemary in half and place in the tray. Peel the garlic clove, cut it in half and also place in tray. Cook in oven at 390°F for about 30 minutes or until very tender. Remove from oven and cool. Once cool peel off the skin with a small knife. In a bowl, mash the squash with a fork, fold in 1/2 a cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper to season.

For pasta:
In a mixer combine eggs and flours, mix well until dough comes together. Continue mixing for 3-4 minutes until dough is smooth. Remove from bowl roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

To make the Ravioli roll out the pasta by hand or with a machine into thin sheets. Place a small amount of the filling at intervals onto the pasta. Brush around the filling lightly with a beaten egg or water and then layer another sheet of pasta on top. Removing as much air as possible form each ravioli press down well and then cut into rounds or squares.

To Cook:
Add butter to a sauté pan along with fresh sage leaves. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and add ravioli and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Once the ravioli are cooked add the melted butter sage and toss gently. Plate and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Check out the recipe video: https://vimeo.com/192320956

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Take a trip to VENICE

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Italy offers so much in terms of diversity and destinations. The Mediterranean, the Alps, historical sites, endless heavenly foods… Each region has its unique charm and characteristic traditions. This month we went to Venice for the best foodie finds off the beaten track.

Venice stands out for its history, symbolic architecture, romantic allure, and vibrant modern art scene. Miraculously built on water, it has maintained over centuries a classical grace and unbeatable atmosphere.

A small island always packed with hordes of tourists 365 days a year, this mysterious town still  hides many forgotten campi (squares) and narrow secret calli (streets) that offer memorable surprises. Regardless where you are,  you’re just a few bridges away from a local and authentic discovery. Forget souvenir shops and the restaurants displaying pictures of spaghetti and fried calamari. Get lost in the back alleys, find a traditional bacaro (bar/restaurant) and indulge in authentic treats whilst listening to loud Venetians discuss important matters in dialect. Make sure to enjoy the essence of aperitivo: ombre (glasses of wine) paired with cicchetti (bites, similar to tapas). Our favourite spot in town for this is Estro Vini (http://www.estrovenezia.com) offering a wide selection of natural wines and seasonal delicacies:  polpette (meatballs), baccalà (cod creamy spread), moeche (fried soft shell crab), castraure (violet small artichoke grown on the Sant’Erasmo Island) and the incredible selection of tramezzini (small triangular sandwiches filled with all kinds of delicacies). It’s a feast for the senses, a great way to fix a meal hopping from bacaro to bacaro and immersing into all the traditional exquisite flavors.

If what you are looking for is a sit down meal, you must go and visit Mauro Lorenzon at La Mascareta, possibly the most charismatic host ever, an incredible wine connoisseur and entertaining character (www.ostemaurolorenzon.com). You will be sure to savour the freshest fish and the best selection of wines. A great find is also Alle Testiere (http://osterialletestiere.it/), a seafood classic located in the heart of Venice between San Marco square and Rialto bridge. If you want to experience a real traditional meal, a place where Venetians eat on Sundays with their families, ask a local for directions to Alla vedova – a classic bacaro, so classic that it doesn’t have a website. For an exceptional treat, book a table at Da Fiore (http://www.dafiore.net), tradition brought to the next level. Don’t miss out on a Campari drink at historical Harry’s Bar open since the 1920’s, filled with a charm from another era. (http://www.harrysbarvenezia.com/). Dive into history and have breakfast in the center of San Marco square at Caffè Florian (http://www.caffeflorian.com/) open since the 1720’s, said to be one of the oldest bar establishments in the world. Anyone that loves food must go to the food markets near Rialto bridge, a hustling scene, with loud vendors and local shoppers eager to find the freshest fish and the tastiest vegetables.

Where to sleep

Architecture is one of the highlights of this marvellous destination, so sleeping in a charming place will really make your stay. Agenzia views on Venice rents apartments and luxury homes (http://www.viewsonvenice.com/it) all across the island. Hotels such as Hotel Danieli (http://www.danielihotelvenice.com/it) and Gritti (http://www.thegrittipalace.com/it) are definitely worth the spend.

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Cantaloupe and feta summer salad

Celebrating cantaloupe peak season!
A fresh, Mediterranean and incredibly easy to make recipe.

Check out the recipe video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxJJoinW__U&feature=youtu.beIMG_5941.jpg

Yield: serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: none
 
Ingredients
Cantaloupe, 1 whole diced
Feta cheese, ½ pound
Toasted pine nuts, 2 tablespoons
Black taggiasca olives, 3 tablespoons
Extra virgin Olive Oil, 2 tablespoons
Fresh basil, ½ bunch torn
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Scrape seeds out of the cantaloupe, dice and mix with all other ingredients in a bowl. Crumble the feta with your hands – the texture will be more pleasant. Tear the basil and don’t chop with a knife, the metal oxidises it very quickly and will make it turn dark brown. Serve chilled with a glass of crisp white wine.

Buon Appetito!

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