Sunday, July 25, 2010

7/11/10 - Buitoni Reserva Party!

I was really excited to find out that I was picked to hold a dinner party using Buitoni Reserva Fresh Pasta. For once I didn't have tons of prep which was amazing - the Tastemaker program from Foodbuzz provided all the fresh pasta! It was fun to focus on my friends and enjoy the party instead of hanging out behind the island chopping, stirring, saucing..... The fresh agnolotti (which is basically like a ravioli) came in 4 different combination of meats, veggies and cheeses. Since the pasta cooked up so quickly, I decided it would be a perfect match for some fresh summer vegetables. The veggies combined with the filling agnolottis made a perfect main course for any hot summer night. The best part of dinner was that in the time I boiled the water to make the pasta my sauce was ready to go!

Each dish contains a good amount of veggies which makes for a balanced meals. I tried to complement the flavors in the agnolotti with a fresh bright summer vegetable fresh from the farmer's market. The favorite dish of the night was the starter because of the unique way that I served the agnolotti. The Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti was also the favorite pasta of the night as well! The runner up was the second dish which was made with vegetable 'noodles'. These noodles are a fun unexpected way to serve vegetables - I make the carrot noodles with a standard vegetable peeler while I used a large box grater to make the zucchini however a spiral vegetable peeler is an easy way to do this as well (unfortunately I don't have one and couldn't locate one anywhere near by!)

Check out my whole menu:
Baby Arugula salad with Crunchy Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti in Cilantro Shallot Vinaigrette 

Zucchini & Rainbow Carrot "noodles" with Wild Mushroom Agnolotti in Pesto Cream sauce

Spicy Beef & Sausage Ravioli with Fresh Tomato and Spinach Sauce

Keep reading for the recipes!

Cilantro Shallot Vinaigrette
1/2 c cilantro leaves
3 tbsp shallots - finely diced
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

1) In a mini-chopper, blend all ingredients until smooth

Crunchy Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti
2 eggs - beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
2 c frying oil
Pack of Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti (you do not need to cook them)

1) Coat the agnolotti in beaten egg and then breadcrumbs
2) Fry in hot oil for 3-5 min per side until golden brown
3) Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil 
*caution cheese inside will be hot*

Pesto Cream Sauce
2 c fresh basil
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c fresh ground cheese
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
salt & pepper
4 tbsp shallots - diced finely
2 tbsp olive oil
1 c light cream

1) In a blender, combine basil, oil, cheese and pine nuts - blend until smooth
2) Heat oil in pan and saute shallots until translucent
3) Add pesto sauce and stir with whisk till combined
4) Lower heat to medium and add cream - cotinue to whisk until mixture is even and begins to thicken
5) Season with salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Tomato & Spinach Sauce
2 bunch spinch - rinsed, destemmed and ripped up
4 fresh tomatoes - seeded and diced (remove skin by blanching if desired)
1/2 green pepper diced
1/2 red pepper - diced
1/2 onion - diced
3 cloves garlic
10 -15 pitted olives (green & black)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 c fresh basil - rough chopped
salt & pepper

1) Heat oil and saute garlic
2) Add peppers and onion - cook until softened
3) Add tomatoes to mix and then cover with spinach - cover pan and allow to wilt
4) Season with fresh basil, salt & pepper and serve over pasta