ravioli-party_jenn-and-erin

I really love playing in the kitchen and sometimes, I like to play in the kitchen with others. The kitchen in our condo is kind of small and lacking counter space, but I have still found it possible to squeeze people in the kitchen with me, so we can have a good time cooking up something fun! Everyone I know, knows about my love of cooking and I like to have the opportunity to share this passion of mine with them. Cooking together is a whole different experience from cooking FOR someone, although that is great too! I think the key to cooking together with people in small kitchens is to use as few bowls and pans as possible, and to keep it simple so people can enjoy themselves no matter what their level of cooking is.

A few weekends ago we had both my mom and my cousin Michelle visiting. They both came up on a Friday, and since Fridays are always “Movie Night” in this household, I wanted to pick something that would be quick and easy, but also fun and delicious that we could eat while watching movies. Also since Michelle is the only other person besides Roberto that I know who could literally eat pizza every day I decided to do a “make your own pizza” night!

Before anyone arrived I made sure to make a batch of the Olive Oil Dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (seriously, if you don’t already have this book, stop reading this post and get it!). I also checked to make sure we had my secret pizza sauce ingredient – tomato paste. We use it straight from the can as pizza sauce – it is nice and thick, so no soggy crust!

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Everyone had a great time rolling out their individual pizzas. I wish we had been better about taking photos of actual people, but we were too busy having fun! We had a variety of toppings to choose from, which are things I just had in the fridge: fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, olives, Applegate Farms pepperoni (no nitrates, antibiotics, etc), peperoncini and fresh heirloom tomato slices, and of course extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top. We had a great time making pizzas and a week later I was still finding flour in random places :)

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Then last week, our friends Chris and Erin from The Olive Notes came over for a pasta party. When they lived in Italy they always had several jars of Barilla’s Pesto Genovese in their Italian pantry, however were sad to discover that they could not find it back in the states. So when we were in Italy in March ( and I promise there are more travel posts to come) we brought them back a few bottles. To thank us, they suggested we have a pasta making party. Since Roberto and I are moving at the end of the month, we decided to have them over so that we could have one last get together at the condo.

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We decided to make a filled pasta, and went with ravioli. We used this recipe for the dough from Recipe Zaar and decided to fill our fresh pasta with a mixture of wild mushrooms that Erin got at the Farmers Market, goat cheese and fresh chives from my garden. We also seasoned it with Sicilian Sea Salt with Blood Orange Zest that we got from D’Italia .

ravioli-party_jenn-and-erin-rolling-dough

First we made the filling in the food processor – basically threw everything in there and let her rip. Then we cleaned it out and made the dough in the processor at well. Then Erin and I got to rolling out the dough, while the boys made various bruschetta.

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Once the dough was rolled it had to sit for 15 minutes and then we filled and cut out the ravioli.

ravioli-party_using-fork-to-shape-ravioli

At this point we had another hour to wait until we could cook it, so we ate our bruschetta, sipped some wine and made a delicious salad made from wild arugula and heirloom tomatoes topped with a homemade balsamic-mustard-honey dressing Erin made – it was delicious.

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We cooked up the ravioli and then enjoyed an evening reminiscing about our respective Italian travels.

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We had such a good time cooking with people in our home that I plan to make this a regular thing, especially now that we are going to have a much bigger kitchen in the new place! So look forward to more of these posts in the future! :)