We spend Christmas day with the Outlaws, where the melodic song of the vacuum plays all day and maniacal cooking renders the kitchen off limits. I find the whole she-bang somewhat joyless, because in my prefect world Christmas is spent in pajamas with chocolate smeared across oneself and martinis are for breakfast.
But, you know, I married it.
To offset what is quickly becoming my least favorite day of the year, we have a Faux-Ristmas several days before, where we pretend Santa just popped down the chimney and all is a- sparkle with the world. There is Champagne before noon and typically something highly caloric for dinner, the preparation of which can take all day.
Having almost divorced the last time we made pasta together, I was trepidatious as we cracked the eggs and began to make the dough. But the spirit of Faux-ristmas prevailed and the ravioli progressed along merrily without bloodshed.
Caramelize leeks. A little trick I learned recently is to score the leek down its spine before cutting into rounds. This way they will fall apart instead of staying in tight little coils. Works particularly well in this incarnation.
This “pasta flour” really makes a difference. It’s part semolina and gives a lovely silky texture and avoids the dreaded stodgy taste homemade pasta can have. I used two cups of the pasta flour with four whole eggs and a pinch of salt. Mix as pictured and then knead the dough on a floured surface until combined. Cover with cling film. Leave to rest at least half an hour.
To the ricotta I added one egg, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, lemon zest, some finely chopped sage leaves and any other seasonings or spices you dig. Then the leeks. I made two versions actually, one with home ground veal and pork, but I preferred the vegetarian versions.
Once the pasta is rolled out and you haven’t murdered your co-cook, the fun begins! (The pasta rolling took four hands hence the lack of photographic evidence. But we used a hand cranked pasta maker. We asked Santa for a Kitchen Aid Pasta attachment because it is at this stage the murderous rage can kick in…)
The sauce was completely made up and I might have had a glass of wine or 93 by that time, but it was delicious. On a low heat I threw the sage, butter and pine-nuts in a pan. I just waited for them to get good and brown looking. Splash of white wine for some acidity. I did add a tablespoon of homemade veal demi-glace. Which gave it a great depth of flavor and consistency. Can be left out. Just add a teeny bit of the pasta water to the sauce
If you really want to gild the lily, go ahead and fry some!
Do any of you have Faux-ristmases to compensate for unspectacular family events? Or am I the only bitch around here?