20 April 2009

brown a little more butter.

You have all heard about my love for brown butter. This recipe is a new and different twist for a bit of a fancier dinner... but still a quick one. It is really simple, but it is so good it deserved a post to honor its yummy-ness. It works really well for a quick dinner because cooking store-bought stuffed pasta takes no time at all and browning the butter is really quick. Plus, most things are probably already in your pantry (frozen cheese tortellini is a great thing to have on hand). So if you have surprise guests, you won't be caught with nothing to serve, and you will still be able to impress them.

When I made this, I completely forgot the walnuts. Duh. But it was still good. Make sure to cool the butter a bit because if you don't it splatters. A lot.

Stuffed Pasta with Balsamic Brown Butter
adapted from Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentis

8 to 20 ounces store-bought ravioli or tortellini
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle walnuts and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.

13 April 2009

in search of the perfect brownie.

Are you on the search for the perfect brownie? Well, your search ends here. This is the recipe that will get you that brownie. And it will be amazing. I promise. I Have made homemade brownies in the past, and I was never really impressed. They just didn't come out right. They were disappointing. Maybe I was just doing it wrong, but I have to admit that I always thought the brownies from the box came out better. Never again. These brownies are it, and they make enough to last quite a while... long enough, at least, until you get the energy up to make them again.

They aren't difficult to make, just a little time intensive. I made these with the peanut butter for valentines day, and they were great, but I like the parts without the peanut butter better. So the next time I made them without.

adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the prepared sheet pan. If using, spoon the peanut butter over the top of the chocolate mixture and using a knife, swirl it through the chocolate mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into large squares.