Thursday, August 18, 2005

Really Big Cookoff - The First

Rachael from Fresh Approach initiated the food blogging world's first ever "Really Big Cookoff" featuring a recipe adapted from Jaime Oliver. I was very happy with the finished product. I'm not sure the purple potato added anything to the recipe other than color. The mashed garlic did positively intensify the flavor.

Ravioli with Watercress, Two Cheeses and Potato

I have never made pasta dough from scratch and I felt this was not the time to start. I therefore used the suggested wonton wrappers. Cutting large wrappers with a cookie cutter to the size and shape I desired. After cutting a few of these, I questioned the impact on presentation. I probably should have used the small square wonton wrappers.

My selected cheeses included parmesan and an apple smoked gruyere cheese. Both cheeses were finely grated and added to the potato and watercress mixture. I could envision the smoky flavor of the cheese as a welcome addition. This was a great choice. a smoky cheddar, gouda or gorgongola would also have worked.

With my ravioli prepared, I was ready to cook. I used the reserved water from the potatoes plus some addional water. Why waste the garlic flavor in the water.

For color, I selected purple potatoes. I boiled the potatoes with not 4 cloves of garlic but with 6. After boiling, I took two of the softened cloves and mashed them with the potatoes. I then took the suggestion to leave the mixture chunky. The boiling water was also saved and set aside.

The starting recipe:

Ravioli with Potato, Watercress and Cheese
Serves 4-6

Make a point of using 2 delicious, contrasting cheeses, for example a strong cheese like Gorgonzola or a creamy taleggio and a hard cheese such as pecorino or Parmesan.

6 sheets fresh pasta (cut out into 36 circles or squares, or use 36 wonton wrappers)
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
4 or 5 good handfuls watercress, large stalks removed, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup butter
10 - 12 oz. cheese, extra for garnish
Grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash and peel the potatoes, put them into well-salted, boiling water with the garlic and cook until the potatoes are just tender (it is very important not to under- or overcook them). Drain them and let them sit for about 5 minutes to enable the excess water to evaporate (if you overcook them or don't drain them correctly they'll be too moist and your filling will be too wet).

When the potatoes have cooled slightly add your butter and your chosen cheeses. Stir and mash with a fork to mix and break the potatoes up (I like to leave the mixture slightly chunky). Add the nutmeg and seasoning to taste. Stir in the watercress, half finely chopped and the rest coarsely chopped.

Place a good heaped teaspoon of this mixture onto the lower half of each of the pasta squares (or circles). To seal, wet the inside edge with a little water or egg wash, fold over and presssing down to seal completely. Cook in boiling salted water, stirring constantly, for about 3-4 minutes, until tender. The ravioli will float when done.

Serve with some extra olive oil or butter, some more of your chosen cheese grated over the top and some torn watercress.Season to taste and serve.


Rachael said...

I love that you used purple potatoes! Excellent idea! And such great pictures too. Thank you so much for joining in. I will post a round up next week.

Unitas We Stand said...

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I posted pictures and soon there will be reviews of J & J's, Phillips, JR's and Tasty Q. All four BBQ places are within five miles of each other.

Please email me at This is just a throw away email addy. I will give you my real email.