EEEEEEEPPPP!! I’m so excited I can barely sit still right now, ‘cause, AHHHHHHH, I’m going to be waking up in Tuscany next week (insert a million party poppers, wine glasses, bowls of pasta, and crazy face emojis right here)! Actually, let me clarify, WE’RE going to be waking up in Tuscany. The awesome, crazy wonderful folks over at DaVinci Wine selected a few of us as this year’s DaVinci Storytellers and we’re all heading out to Vinci, Italy for a week long immersion in all things DaVinci Wine. Think pizza making, cheese making, grape harvesting, vertical tastings, and even blending our own Chianti. What’s even more exciting is that “we” refers to some of my favorite bloggers: Molly of My Name is Yeh, Brandon of Kitchen Konfidence, and new friend Rebecca of Foodie with Family. OH EM GEEE, I am so seriously so excited that I have been happy dancing, with Vienna, around the living room every day for the last couple of weeks. (Sorry Vienna, no dogs allowed on this trip.)
Naturally, I have been preparing myself for our adventure by walking around the house saying all the Italian words I know: “prosciutto, PRO-SHOOT-TOE,” “mozzarella, MOTS-A-RE-LA,” “stracciatella, STRA-CHA-TE-LA.” Yes, almost all the Italian words I know are food related. I do know a few general greetings and phrases like “buongiorno” and “molto bene” but I’m going to be very thankful for our translator this trip, as Spanish is the only other language I know, and to say I know it would be very generous. In addition to practicing my words, I’ve also been educating my palate with all the awesome wines DaVinci produces: Pinot Grigio, Chianti, Chianti Riserva , and Brunello di Montalcino. If I’m being honest, I haven’t had a lot of experience with Italian wines, as I grew up in a strictly French wines kind of family, so I’ve been having a blast “educating” myself. I’ve been whipping up pizzas, panzanella salads, and yes, pastas, opening up a red and a white wine to pair with each dish. Surprisingly, the Chianti and Pinot Grigio both paired well with just about everything I’ve made so far, including this kale ricotta cavatelli!!
And yay for homemade pasta!! I love making it and I really don’t make it as often as I’d like. I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of pasta making. When dreaming up a pasta to pair with all these yummy DaVinci Wines, I originally wanted to go with something like pappardelle or pici but I ultimately went with the pasta shape I love most, cavatelli. I’m obsessed with the chewy, pillowiness that comes with ricotta cavatelli. I added kale mainly because we’ve got kale growing out of our ears right now but also because gives it this gorgeous green color as well as adding nutrients. I’m pretending that since there’s kale in there, it’s automatically healthy! :D
If you’ve never made pasta by hand, I want to give you fair warning, it’s a labor of love, not because it’s particularly difficult to make, but rather because it takes time and should absolutely be made with friends or family. It also takes a minute to get your pressure and rolling method down but when you do, it’s exhilarating and you’re guaranteed to smile from ear to ear. If you haven’t got an extra board, or a partner to roll with you, might I suggest watching Under the Tuscan Sun, pretending you’re Diane Lane, and you just purchased a villa in Tuscany! I can’t wait to share our adventures with all of you but until then, I’ll leave you with this pasta, as well as a couple serving suggestions! Both pair well with either the Chianti or the Pinot Grigio but right now, with all this LA heat, I found myself leaning toward the chilled Pinot Grigio!
KALE RICOTTA CAVATELLI RECIPE
[SERVING SUGGESTIONS: PROSCIUTTO, KALE, TOMATO PINOT GRIGIO SAUCE OR CREAMY SORREL PEPITA PESTO SAUCE]
MAKES ABOUT 2 POUNDS OF PASTA
- 2 c. curly kale, deboned
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 ½ c. Tipo “00” flour or all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 15 oz. ricotta
PROSCUITTO, KALE, TOMATO, PINOT GRIGIO SAUCE
- 1 + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 3-in. pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced, crosswise
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3/4 c. DaVinci Pinot Grigio
- 3 leaves of kale, deboned and torn into 3-in. pieces
- 10 – 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 c. grated parmesan, plus more for serving
- 12 oz. cooked cavatelli
- Salt and pepper, to taste
CREAMY SORREL PEPITA PESTO SAUCE
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2/3 c. toasted pepitas, plus more for serving
- 1 c. French sorrel
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 12 oz. cooked cavatelli
- Food processor
- Large pot
- Marble pastry slab/ large wooden board
- Pastry cutter
- Large Bowl
- Tea towels
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- Gnocchi Paddle
- Heavy bottomed pan
- Wooden spoon
- Fill a large pot of water with enough water to cover 2 cups of curly kale. Bring water to boil then add kale. Boil for 5 minutes or until tender then drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain well then place in a place in a food processor with a teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. You can also finely mince by hand if you do not have a food processor, just make sure you have a sharp knife! You should end up with around a ½ cup.
- On your marble pastry slab or large wooden board, mound flour and make a well, large enough for two eggs, the pureed kale, and half the ricotta. Add the two eggs, pureed kale and half the ricotta and mix up the eggs, kale, and ricotta with a fork, carefully pulling in a bit of flour as your go. Use one hand to maintain your flour well as you mix with your fork until it looks like the eggs, kale, and ricotta are coming together. Add the rest of the ricotta and continue pulling in the flour with your fork while mixing to create a shaggy dough. When the dough looks shaggy enough to handle, use your hands to knead in all the flour. Knead for at least 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Add flour, a tablespoon at a time, if necessary.
- Form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, and cover with a clean tea towel. Let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
- Lightly flour your surface and cut dough into 8 even-sized wedges, using a pastry cutter. Transfer wedges back to bowl and cover with tea towel. Working with one wedge at a time, roll into a ½-inch thick rope. Using your pastry cutter, cut the rope into ½-inch pieces. Using your thumb, flatten one piece of dough into an oval. Place oval on a lightly floured gnocchi paddle, lengthwise, across the groves of the board, holding the paddle handle with your less dominant hand. Place your dominant thumb on the bottom of the oval, the side closest to you and the handle, and press down while rolling your thumb to the top of the oval, away from you. You are rolling the dough over itself to form a cavatelli shaped pasta. Place the shaped cavatelli on a large, lightly floured, rimmed baking sheet to dry until you are ready to cook them. Let dry for at least one hour before cooking.
- To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a few pinches of salt when water comes to boil. Add the pasta and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cavatelli rise to the top of the water. Drain in a colander and add to desired sauce.
FOR PROSCUITTO, KALE, TOMATO, PINOT GRIGIO SAUCE
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add one tablespoon of olive oil and evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the torn prosciutto and cook until the prosciutto begins to crisp. Remove from pan and transfer to a clean plate.
- Reduce heat to medium and remaining olive oil and evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for a minute or until the garlic begins to turn golden brown. Remove from pan and transfer to the plate with the prosciutto.
- Add the butter to the pan and then add the wine once the butter has melted. Simmer for a minute then add the halved tomatoes. Cook for 2 more minutes then add the kale. Cook for an additional minute or until the butter-wine has reduced by half.
- Add the cooked cavatelli and the shallots, garlic, and crispy prosciutto and toss for 30 seconds. Turn off heat and toss parmesan.
- Serve and enjoy immediately, garnishing with parmesan if desired and seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
FOR CREAMY SORREL PEPITA PESTO SAUCE
- Combine the garlic, pepitas, and French sorrel in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add parmesan, and pulse to combine. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse to combine. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and add cream. Add half the pesto (around ½ cup), and stir to combine. Add the cavatelli and toss for at least 30 seconds.
- Serve and enjoy immediately, garnishing with parmesan, toasted pepitas, and salt and pepper, to taste.
P.s. HUGE thanks go to DaVinci Wine for sending us to Tuscany to live out our own adventures under the Tuscan sun. As a 2015 DaVinci Storyteller, this post was written in partnership with DaVinci Wine. DaVinci Wine has provided me with this experience. All thoughts, opinions and recipes are my own.