The Italian Job

So I finally bothered/managed to pull my finger out and write a new post! Shock horror!!!
It was my husbands birthday last weekend so instead of going out for dinner I decided to make a big fancy meal. We have decided that every other weekend we are going to make ourselves a 3 course meal. My thoughts being that we never treat ourselves much so this is our new treat.
A couple of weekends ago I became totally engrossed in More 4’s Italian cooking fest. I loved the Italian top ten meals programme presented by Michela Chiappa. I thought the way she explained things and presented the programme was great. A nice warm character and her ease in cooking made me want to make everything.
Our starter was butternut squash ravioli followed by pork meatballs with polenta and sauce and for pudding I made gelato.
The ravioli we didn’t have a recipe. I did follow her method for pasta. I have never ever made pasta before nor do I have a pasta machine. I do however have a good rolling pin and a fair bit of weight to put behind it!
The recipe for the pasta is 100g ’00’ grade flour and 1 egg per person. Hence we used 200g and 2 eggs. Make a flour volcano with your eggs in the middle and slowly bring it all together to a dough similar to Play-Doh. Then wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for half an hour.
I roasted the squash with a bit of sage and seasoning. When roasted and soft mush it all up.
Roll out the pasta as thin as you can (thin thin) then put blobs of squash evenly apart and wet around it with water. Sandwich the pasta together and get any little air pockets from around the squash and make sure they are well sealed.
Leave to rest for half an hour spread out so they dry up a little.
When you want them, plop them into a big pan of boiling water and cook for a few minutes until they start to bob to the top. We served ours with nutty browned butter and sage.
The recipe for the main can be found here:

http://www.thechiappas.com/italian-meatballs-served-with-polenta/

I made half the quantity of this recipe by literally halving everything. I will be honest, I really struggle with polenta. But if its your thing then you will love this meal.
For pudding I made chocolate gelato, the recipe is here:

http://www.thechiappas.com/bacio-home-made-gelato/

Again I tweeked this for my taste. I didn’t put the hazelnuts in as my fillings are always a worry! I couldn’t lay my hands on any Baci chocolates so I replaced them with 2 Alpini bars from thorntons. I have had Baci chocolates before and find that Alpini are a very similar taste.

This was so easy to make and completely delicious and it makes plenty!

I shall be investing in a pasta machine from now on. The fresh pasta was great and so easy. Everyone should try it!

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