The start of Mardi Gras. . .Fat Tuesday. . .Paczki Day. . .a rose is still a rose by any name. I’ve never been to New Orleans ~ yet. It looks like so much fun though so it’s on my list of things to do. In honor of Mardi Gras, today I’m making a weekday version of Jambalaya – a spicy sausage, shrimp and rice dish I’m calling Mardi Gras Shrimp and Rice. Jambalaya often includes chicken and some vegetables too. The dish is lightened up a bit because I’m not using sausage and if shrimp doesn’t make your sails fly, feel free to just use chicken. In other words, this is a very loose interpretation ~ but delicious nonetheless. Maybe when I get the New Orleans one day I’ll rethink the whole interpretation/weekday version, but in the meantime. . .
I’m not ready to wave the white flag just yet, but this has definitely been a week-from-
hell technology, tr ying to learning some new techy stuff and realizing that while an old dog can be taught new tricks — we learn more slowly . . . and stuff needs to be repeated. . . ’cause we forget. . .often. . .wait, where was I?
Oh yes — the reason I haven’t blogged all week.
— last Saturday before the week-from-
hell tech, I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the Mt. Clemens Farmers Market because even though I have so.much.produce. from my own garden, I couldn’t resist a trip.
So as I wandered around the farmers market, juggling my oversized to-go mug filled with coffee in one hand and a caramel-pecan Danish purchased at the Mt. Clemens Bakery stand in the other, I found myself with produce envy. Beyond the produce though, one stand I simply can’t pass up is fresh pasta (something I’ve never mastered) and Pasta-e-pasta is one of the best I’ve tasted. They sell a wide variety of pasta (spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, among others) and enough sauce choices to keep you vacillating as long as I did choosing (finally) the Portabella Mushroom Ravioli.
As a food blogger and self-professed food nerd, I typically like making every part of the meal from scratch. There are some things, however (other than an oil change or re-wiring your house) better left to the professionals — ravioli is one of them.
I did, however pair this ravioli with a homemade, really simple Alfredo Florentine sauce, breaking the traditional Parmesan used in Alfredo in favor of Smoked Gouda (what else?) and Mozzarella. This ravioli cooks in under 5 minutes and even the sauce doesn’t take much longer. It’s also ridiculously delicious and the entire meal will have you sitting at the table asking red or white faster than you can imagine.
- 1 package of pre-made ravioli (from farm mkt or Buitoni brand available in grocery stores)
- Olive oil (drizzle)
- 1 T butter
- 2 gloves of garlic, grated
- 3/4 C smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- 1/2 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 C fresh spinach, stems removed and rough chopped
- 3 T fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 C white wine (most any kind you like to drink, except sweet Moscato)
- 1 1/4 C whole milk
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- When the water reaches a boil, slowly drop in the ravioli. When they float to the surface, remove them from the pan.
- While the water is coming to a boil, begin the sauce with a drizzle of olive oil and melting the butter into a pan.
- Grate in the garlic and add the spinach to the pan, continuing to cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't burn and allowing the spinach to wilt.
- Pour the wine into the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the milk, then incorporate the shredded cheeses, stirring to blend.
- When the mixture is completely blended, mix in the fresh parsley.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently add the ravioli to the sauce, turning to coat.
- If you're a super-fan of mushrooms, feel free to chop up a few fresh mushrooms and sauté along with the garlic. I am -- and I did.