Sometimes you just want dessert. Warm, gooey, chocolatey dessert.
However you don’t have a whole afternoon to dedicate to making a decadent dessert. So in honor of a visit to a dear friend and fellow chef in training, I made these nutella banana fold-overs as the perfect finish to our meal.
As a young girl I grew up on Nutella sandwiches. All of the kids in the lunch room would ask me how I convinced my mom to make me “chocolate sandwiches” and at the time, I had no idea how I was so fortunate. But, later on I learned Nutella is a staple of many European households, and growing up Italian-American, we were no exception to this rule!
Although I don’t eat Nutella as often as I did when I was a kid, it is still such a special treat for me and this recipe is a great way to get your Nutella fix.
Nutella Banana Fold-Overs
1/2 cup Nutella
Frozen phyllo dough or pastry dough equivalent
1. Defrost the dough, and cut into squares
2. Fill with nutella and a few bananas
3. Fold over into a triangle shape, bake on 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Serve warm (be careful though, I wasn’t patient and burned my mouth in the process since it was fresh out of the oven)
For those of us with our own gardens, July means the advent of zucchini season! Before you know it your garden will be overpopulated with these bright green gems, and there are so many ways to incorporate them into your recipes.
So, in honor of zucchini season, I wanted to share one of my favorite pizza recipes adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe. The dough I use incorporates semolina flour which adds a nice chewiness to the dough. Serve piping hot with a side of olive oil and herbs to dip it into!
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/4 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp dry yeast
dash of salt
fresh herbs chopped (optional)
1 Yellow Squash
1 Zucchini Squash
1. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water. Be careful, if water is too hot it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle in the sugar afterwards to encourage the raising of the yeast. Let raise for 10 minutes.
2. Mix flours, salt, and herbs in a bowl.
3. Add the yeast and water to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated and form into a ball. Add more flour if the dough feels too sticky. Cover with a towel and let sit for 20 minutes. After first rise, punch the dough and let rise again for another 15 minutes.*
4. Add flour to your rolling surface, and roll the dough to your desired thickness.
5. Place the dough into a pan that has been oiled with olive oil. *Note, you can do the second rise in the pan itself if you prefer a more fluffy dough.
6. Crumble goat cheese onto the dough. Layer very thin slices of the squash and zucchini on top of the goat cheese.
7. Zest the lemon on top of the pizza, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.
8. Remove when dough is a light brown color on the bottom and is nice and crispy.
It’s only appropriate that my first recipe on Pleadings & Pasta be, you guessed it, a pasta recipe.
As a first generation Italian American, I grew up eating my Nonna’s fresh lasagna with homemade sheets of pasta that almost melted in between the layers of rich simmer-all-day tomato sauce, hand grated mozzarella, and fresh basil from our yard.
There was something notably different about the homemade pasta versus the store bought. It was lighter, richer, and seemed to dance off the plate and into your mouth.
I let far too much time go by before learning how to make my own pasta from scratch. However, I made up for that lost time once I started law school and realized cooking, one of my favorite past times, was actually one of the best stress relievers available to me. The beautiful thing was by the end of the creative cooking session,I was more relaxed, and got to eat the fruits of my labor! You can’t beat being full and relaxed.
Now let me disclaim: Making your own pasta is difficult. At least the first few times. Once you realize how the texture should feel, get a sense of the proper rolling techniques, and develop an eye for when the pasta is “al dente” (it cooks much faster than dried store bought pasta) you will proudly sit over your steaming bowl of tagliatelle with a smile on your face that says “I did it!”
Here’s the basic recipe adapted from a combo of Nonna’s recipe and Bob’s Red Mill Flour recipe:
1/2 cup Semolina Flour
1/2 cup Unbleached Flour
A generous pour of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
A pinch of salt
2 table spoons of water
1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. If you want to do this old school style, do it on your kitchen counter and make a small little canyon in the mound of flour. You can also do this in your bowl as well.
2. Crack the eggs into the canyon along with the olive oil and water.
3. Incorporate the mixture until the dough is stretchy. It may be a little sticky but avoid adding more flour at this stage.
4. Cover the dough or place in a plastic bag and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
5. Remove dough and lightly flour your rolling surface. Begin to roll the dough to the desired thickness and shape and cut. To make tagliatelle, I rolled the pieces thin and cut long strips in a larger width. (Readers…here’s where I made the biggest mistake over and over. Unless you are looking for an upper body workout, rolling the entire piece of dough is going to wear you out to the point of being too tired to enjoy your pasta. If possible, cut up the dough into smaller pieces so you can easily roll it thin with a rolling pin. Better yet, invest in a pasta machine! It will make for consistently smooth and even pieces of pasta)
6. Put a generous pot of boiling water on the stove. With fresh pasta you want the water to be nicely salted and in a big enough pot to give your beautifully rolled pasta space to cook.
7. Drop the pasta in the boiling water and once it floats to the top (approximately 2-5 minutes depending on cut) it’s done!
Goat Cheese Herb Ravioli is so easy to make. Just mix plain goat cheese with freshly chopped herbs of choice, and spoon onto squares of dough. Place another square on top, press firmly with a fork to close and boil.
8. Drain well and add sauce of choice.
Yes, it’s that simple. The beautiful thing is you can vary this recipe with all unbleached flour, or all semolina. You can add dried basil or other herbs. You can make a beautiful goat cheese and herb mix and stuff your squares of pasta to make ravioli. I would love to hear what kinds of variations you all make on homemade pasta dough recipes. It’s basic enough that you can truly make it your own.