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Valentine's Dinner from Your Chef

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February 10, 2013

Valentine's Dinner from Your Chef


Valentine’s Day is typically celebrated with those you love with chocolates, dinner, gifts and treats but do we know how Valentine’s Day originated? HideAway Country Inn, located in Bucyrus, Ohio, has watched couples come and go during the special Valentine’s Day weekend. Happy couples will book luxurious suites, enjoy a candle-lit dinner for two, delight in a couple’s massage, and so on. To say the least, the inn is full of love this special weekend. But where did Valentine’s Day come from? Why do we celebrate?

According to history.com, “The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.” Therefore, Valentine’s Day is celebrated to commemorate the burial of Valentine’s death.
Because HideAway wants all you couples out there who can’t make it to the inn to enjoy an amazing night, our chef is sharing the perfect recipe for two: spinach and mushroom ravioli. Enjoy!


Directions

In a large sauté pan heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get a coarse texture. Place in bowl and stir in mascarpone and Parmesan cheese. Check for seasoning and set aside.

Line up 3 wrappers on a cutting board. Brush with the egg and

water mixture. Using a tablespoon, arrange 4 dollops of the filling on each wrapper – 2 on the first row and 2 on the second – 1-inch apart. Place another wrapper directly on top, pressing around the filling and sealing the edges. Using a fluted ravioli cutter, cut out squares of ravioli. Each filled wrapper will yield 4 raviolis, giving you a total of 12 ravioli. Place ravioli onto a floured baking sheet and keep covered with a linen towel.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of salted and oiled water. Carefully add small batches of ravioli, about 3 to 4 at a time. This will prevent them from crowding in the pot and sticking together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spider strainer, carefully remove the ravioli and place on the plate. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue cooking remaining ravioli.

In a sauté pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When almost smoking, add chopped mushrooms and sauté until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Carefully pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

Divide ravioli between 2 serving plates. Top with mushroom tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.


Simple Tomato Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

 

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