• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!


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Ravioli with Roasted Chanterelles, Garlic, and Bacon with Pepadew Peppers

I scored some gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms from the storeroom this weekend. I felt like I’d been eating a lot of pasta recently, but I couldn’t help but think of making some fresh pasta that I could fill with the mushrooms. I roasted them with garlic, onions, and bacon and then sauteed the finished ravioli in butter with sweet peppadew peppers. The whole process would be easier with a pasta machine – but it is possible to do it with a rolling pin and some brute strength! I love making oversized raviolis that can hold a lot of filling – and they look so great on the plate.

Caramelized Onion Gnocchi with Spring Veggies and a Simple White Wine Sauce

I love gnocchi – not just eating it, but making it. There’s something so satisfying about gently rolling out the ropes, cutting them, watching them fall into the water, and rise again – letting you know (just in time) that they’re ready for eating. One of my favorite versions of gnocchi is ricotta gnocchi, a super easy, apartment kitchen friendly recipe that replaces the relatively tedious potato cooking/mashing with ricotta cheese. It got me to thinking what else you could use to make these lovely pasta dumplings.

After a little research I discovered that I’d been crazy to limit my gnocchi-making self to just potatoes or cheese. Recipe writers and food bloggers everywhere had made gnocchi using spinach, carrots, and much more. So I ran home to make gnocchi with one of my favorite things: caramelized onions. The result was delicious. The onion flavor in the gnocchi was actually a little mild, but with more caramelized onion in the pasta it was delish!

Chicken Soup with Homemade Ravioli and Fresh Herbs

It’s the end of winter (hopefully) but it’s not the end of winter bugs. Just about everyone I know is suffering from a cold, the flu, or some combination of both. Not something to necessarily whet your appetite, but there is no better time for comfort foods – like hot soup.

I had planned this weekend to make fresh pasta – to see if I could do it without a pasta machine (another piece of equipment that the apartment kitchen lacks). I decided to make a brothy soup with some ravioli added for heartiness in an attempt to buck up any of my sick friends – and ideally to prevent me from getting sick as well.

The result was warm and comforting and relatively easy. The process of forming the ravioli was slightly time consuming, but well worth it to know that delicious, fresh pasta can be enjoyed without owning an expensive pasta machine!

Ricotta Gnocchi with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Many people are nervous at the idea of making their own pasta, and I suppose for good reason. Pasta is one of those easy-to-impress dishes, which is only magnified by it’s easiness to prepare.  All you have to do to earn rave reviews is to toss a box of dried pasta into some hot water, and take the praise as it comes at you, because everyone loves pasta.  But making your own pasta brings your dish over the top, transforming it from a plain old pasta dish to a magnificent culinary creation.  

Ok, so perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, but I found a pasta recipe so simple, every apartment cook would be able to make it with no difficulties whatsoever.  It’s a classic twist on the well known gnocchi, or Italian pasta dumpling.  Normally made with potatoes, gnocchi are tender and delicious when cooked, though slightly time-consuming to prepare.  With this recipe, ricotta replaces the potato in the dough, making it easier and faster to prepare.  

The end product, however, is no less delicious, rich, or satisfying.  In less than 20 minutes, you too can make your own pasta from scratch…and no one has to know how easy it was.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Served 2
Leftover Potential: Reheats relatively well, but do not keep for more than 1 or 2 days as the gnocchi begins to lose some of it’s texture.  Provided one more meal after the initial dinner.

For the gnocchi:
2 oz all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
6.5 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
.75 oz olive oil

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 pieces bacon, cooked until done in the oven, then chopped into bite size pieces
1/4 cup chives, finely minced
cayenne pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
parmesan cheese, to  garnish

1. Mix together the flour and the salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate container, mix together the ricotta, egg, and olive oil.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the ricotta mixture.  Mix until completely combined into a useable dough, 1-2 minutes.
2. Form the gnocchi using your hands and a fork.  For video instructions, check THIS out.
3.  When all the gnocchi are formed, cook them in a large pot of salted boiling water until they are cooked through completely, and rise to the surface, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the gnocchi and set aside.
4.  In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until beginning to caramelize.  Then, add the garlic and allow to cook until aromatic, about another minute.  Add the bacon and allow to cook until it gets even crispier, 1-2 minutes.  Add the chives, and season with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste.  
5.  Serve in a warm bowl with grated parmesan cheese.