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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ravioli di taleggio con salsa alle spugnole

After our journey through Paris and our trials in getting a rental car, we made our way through Switzerland into Italy via train.  We decided that it would be a bad idea to try and learn how to drive a manual transmission car and drive it through the Swiss alps.  This was the best decision of our entire trip.  While we ended up missing out on a day in Interlocken, we gained so much more time by travelling by train. 

Rather than focussing on maps and driving directions, we took our time on the rails to learn about our next destination, play games and talk with fellow travellers.  We travelled through the mountains, skirted lakes and pulled into Venice, from our window seats.

After we checked our luggage at the baggage drop, we made our way through the winding streets of Venice.  A pair of American tourists gave us their vaparetto passes (their friends gave us a second pair, which we passed along to a couple on their honeymoon), which allowed us access to the Venice boat busses. 

We rode the vaparetto along the grand canal and under the Rialto bridge, passed by gondolas and ancient churches.  As the grand canal opened up into the lagoon boyfriend turned to me and "This is completely surreal."  Even though we had seen so many famous landmarks, climbed an unbelievable amount of stairs and taken hundreds of photos, this was truely a surreal moment.

Of all the days we spent travelling across the continent, I remember that day in Venice so vividly.  Our walk around Piazza San Marco, the amazing mushroom tortellini from a hidden bistro and the hazelnut gelato we ate while watching a crazy house dog, all combined for a perfect day in such a unique city.  It would have been a perfect day, had our hotel not given away our room and sent us to the Hotel Marco Polo.

At least it has one redeeming quality, it's PINK!

Brining memories home with mushroom ravioli

One Year Ago: Caramel Thumbprints

Ravioli di taleggio con salsa alle spugnole

1 lb chicken breast
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 large package cheese ravioli (5 servings)
6 ounces oyster mushrooms (or morels), roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
chives & chervil

Coat chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill chicken until cooked through.  Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Chop into bite size pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add ravioli and cook according to package instructions.  They tend to cook fast, to prepare the sauce while the water is coming to a boil.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat.  Add shallot and stir to coat in butter.  Saute shallots until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and stir to coat in butter, saute until mushrooms soften and reduce in size.  Add chicken broth and cook until the volume is reduced by half.

Drain pasta and return to the pot, add chicken and mushroom sauce.  Add fresh chives and chervil (I could only find dried chervil) and stir to combine.
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