Guest Post Exchange with Tasty Trix!
Philadelphia vs. Baltimore Cuisine!!
It is my expressed pleasure to introduce you to Trix of Tasty Trix. She is a wonderful blogger who creates the most unique and beauteous of dishes, the one below is no exception. I am so honored to have her here. Do me a favor would ya? Show my girl some love (I know you will!) Also stop by here to check out my spin on a Maryland Crab Cake.
When Emily asked me if I wanted to do a guest post exchange, of course I was on board right away. She is, after all, fabulous, as all of you loyal readers of her blog are undoubtedly already aware.
But everything is more fun with a theme, right? So we put our heads together and came up with this: We would each put our own spin on an iconic dish from one another's respective cities. Emily would create something original representing my city of Baltimore (you can check out her yummy creation here on Tasty Trix) and I would make my own version of something famous from Emily's amazing city, Philadelphia. (I not-so-secretly wish I lived there.)
Now, most people think that Philly food begins and ends with the cheesesteak, but I think the city's sandwich culture is much richer than that. To me, the truly iconic Philly hoagie is roast pork, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone on a seeded roll, and if you ask me, nobody does that better than Paesano's, one of the best sandwich shops in the world (I am not exaggerating). Behold their "Arista," made from juicy roast suckling pig:
For my Philly creation, I wanted to capture the flavors of this sandwich, but in a new form. I also wanted to incorporate Italian American influences, given that community's profound historic influence on shaping the city's food culture. And so I came up with ...
... broccoli rabe and sharp provolone ravioli, smothered in a rich pork ragu:
Yes, it is every bit as good as it looks! Be warned, though, it's definitely a weekend dish - you've got to start the sauce in the morning and just let it simmer all day until it's thick and porky and infused with layers and layers of flavor. Then, if you're unlucky like I was, your pasta rolling machine will break and you'll spend half of your afternoon hand rolling your ravioli dough in a 300 degree kitchen. I don't recommend it.
But, all's well that ends well. Just have a gander at these beauties:
Considering the fact that I am not an Italian grandma (or granddaughter, for that matter), I had to roll the stuff by hand, and this was my first-ever attempt at home ravioli making, I don't think they turned out too badly! Here's what you do:
First, get your sauce going. In a large stockpot over medium heat, gently saute 2 medium onions, 3-4 celery ribs, and 2-4 carrots, diced small, in 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil. To this, add a few slices of chopped prosciutto and a dash of sat and pepper. Next, add 1 pound each of ground pork and sweet Italian sausage that's been removed from its casing. Don't let the meat brown - just cook until it's fragrant and loses its pink color. Now add one 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and one 28 oz can of San Marzano plum tomatoes. Give everything a stir, turn the heat down very low, and just let it all come together for hours, stirring occasionally. Once the meat is cooked you can start tasting the sauce for seasoning, but don't go crazy with the salt too early because your sauce will continue to reduce and concentrate in flavor.
Meanwhile, make your dough. You can use AP flour or, ideally, farina tipo "00." Basically, figure you'll need 1-2 large eggs per cup of flour. I used 3 cups of flour and ended up needing 5 eggs. Make a well with the flour (add a good pinch of salt), put the eggs in the middle and mix until the dough comes together. Don't knead for too long or the dough will get tough. I did a pictorial on it here. Let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
Now make your filling. Blanch one large bunch of broccoli rabe for one minute in boiling salted water, and immediately plunge into ice water. Dry thoroughly and chop very finely. To this, add 2 ounces of grated sharp provolone, one beaten egg, and enough ricotta to hold everything together.
When you're ready to make the ravioli, roll the dough out into thin sheets, and place one-inch balls of filling at even intervals. Fold the dough over the filling, and cut the ravioli to your desired size. I started out using a ravioli cutter, but I found that in my hot kitchen it was pinching the dough, and I had better luck with my trusty bench cutter and a fork.
You know the rest: Boil the ravioli in salted water for just 3 minutes, top with that luscious sauce, grate a little sharp provolone on top, pour yourself a glass of red wine, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
The flavors of my favorite Philly sandwich - slightly bitter rabe, garlic, pork, pungent cheese - really were present in this dish, but in an entirely different configuration. Just look at that ravioli filling ... I could eat pounds of it. I think I actually did:
Thank you Emily for having me as your guest - I had a great time! And thank you to Emily's readers for checking out my post - don't forget to go check out her fabulous Baltimore-style creation on Tasty Trix!