The Girl with the Dragon Cashew

Over the weekend, we hosted an open house so that I could see family and friends before moving to London. From Saturday morning until well into the Sunday brunch hours, people from various walks of life came and went. In the midst of the haze of food, wine, laughter, and plenty of hugs, I began thinking about how each person at the party had influenced my life and my decision to begin an adventure across the pond. Every guest differs in age, personality, and role in my life, but they’ve all contributed a bit to what happens next.

Cooking is like solving a mystery. As a chef’s job is to find the perfect flavor combination, a crime novelist must make multiple seemingly random elements come together in the end. In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, Stieg Larsson introduces multiple characters, each with a complex history that contributes to the plot. Like a fiery red pesto with surprising flavors, this novel’s many elements make up a delectable story. The audience may not understand throughout the creation process, and to the outside eye, some of the ingredients may seem bizarre, but the end result makes perfect sense.

SONY DSCPesto:

1/4 cup cashew nuts

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I used the jarred kind soaked in olive oil, drained.)

1/4 cup basil

1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, to season

1/2 pound angel hair pasta

Instruction:

1. In food processor, combine cashew nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and red pepper flakes. Slowly add olive oil and allow it to incorporate as processor is still going. Season with salt.

2. Cook angel hair pasta in boiling salted water. Mix with pesto and thin out with a few tablespoons of pasta water, if necessary.

Enjoy fiery pesto and angel hair with Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and check in at warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

Me Talk Parsley One Day

Parsley Confetti Ravioli

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When my sister and I moved out of the house for college, my parents developed some eccentricities because of their newfound and undirected attention. They began watching British sitcoms from the early nineties each night. My mother became so addicted to Scrabble that she has now taken to giving it up for Lent to control herself. My father began adopting plenty of new children – the herbs in our backyard. Every day he waters, prunes, and primps. They have flourished so much under his care that they’ve taken over a large percentage of our back deck.

With parsley coming out of my ears, I decided to use the opportunity to my advantage. Just as David Sedaris took his father’s bizarre habits and turned them into the hilarious anecdotal short stories of Me Talk Pretty One Day, I’ve taken my father’s herb garden and used it for my own craft: cooking. Adding parsley to pasta dough for a confetti pattern makes the dish whimsical and fun. As Sedaris achieves lighthearted and bite-sized stories that are loaded with many different colors and flavors, these raviolis are encouraging my father and his quirks to grow. If only there were a way to melt my mother’s Scrabble tiles into a soup…

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Whole wheat pasta sheets:

3 cups whole wheat flour

4 eggs

1 tbsp salt

1/4 cup water (as needed)

Ravioli filling:

4 oz mascarpone

2 oz ricotta

4 oz mozzarella, grated

2 oz parmesan, grated

4 oz (1/4 pound) prosciutto, diced finely

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper

(You can play with the ratio of the four cheeses, depending on which flavors you like, but make sure there is enough mascarpone or ricotta to bind the rest of the filling together.)

Instruction:

1. Pasta dough: In a standing mixer, combine flour, eggs, salt, and water. Knead on countertop and form into a ball. Wrap in cling film and let rest at room temperature for fifteen minutes or so.

2. Filling: Combine four cheeses, prosciutto, and parsley. Season as needed and transfer to piping bag.

3. Assembly: After dough has rested, use pasta machine to roll out sheets (to gauge thinness – I rolled each sheet to 6 out of 8 settings). Pipe filling and make small raviolis, pressing the sheets together with a fork to seal.

4. Cooking ravioli: Drop raviolis in boiling salted water. When raviolis are cooked, they will float to the surface. To be safe, let them cook for a minute more. Serve with butter and parmesan shavings.

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Enjoy parsley confetti ravioli with David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day, and check in at https://warandpeach.com/ for future recipes and book reviews!