Tag Archives: Ravioli

Volt Review

16 Jan

Are you all enjoying this lovely three-day weekend?  I know I am!  It’s been so nice to have an extra day to relax after several days of events and errands.  It also gave me time to catch up on my blogging for Imperfectly Delicious and Pamela’s PunchAnd boys and girls, I have a rave review for you! 

First let me preface this review by saying I grew up in a family of foodies.  My parents always used fresh ingredients in the kitchen and on the grill.  Which makes me appreciate restaurants like Volt, who really focus on using seasonal produce and local farmers.  That might make me sound snobby (my nose is in the air as I type), but I think you’ll all agree that at least 90% of the time fresh food just tastes better.  All of this is to say that my family was pre-disposed to like Volt for this reason, oh and because of the unbelievably positive press surrounding the restaurant. 

My family arrived about 30 minutes early to the restaurant, shocking given DC traffic on a holiday weekend.  The friendly hostess team took our coats and seated us immediately in a simple and chic dining room.  The dining room had cream-colored artistic lights, bright white table cloths, and vivid orange menus.  The multiple servers brought us drink and wine menus and enthusiastically described the artisanal cocktails.    I was freezing, so ordered a Hot Buttered Rum and my parents both settled on the EnclaveBoth drinks packed a punch and warmed us up quickly!

We stalled and snacked on house-made bread sticks dusted with fennel pollen, as we waited for my sister to arrive.  The servers were pleasantly patient and didn’t rush us in the slightest.  Once she arrived one of our servers (we had many) described the menu ordering options in detail.  At Volt you can either order a seven course protein-based tasting menu, a seven course produce-based tasting menu, or a four course menu that combines the two.  Our table opted for the four course tasting menu.

My first dish was the Oyster, Smoked Potato, Truffle and Bacon chowder.  This deconstructed soup was creatively displayed, and once combined, all of the ingredients formed the best chowder you ever ate.  Light and creamy with pleasant bite from the potatoes.

My second course was a recommendation from a friend.  I ordered the tangy Goat Cheese Ravioli with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Parsley Root Ash, and Sage Foam The pasta was spectacular!  I would have probably left the restaurant happy just by ordering this one dish.  The goat cheese was tart and creamy, and the mushrooms and sage gave the dish a deliciously woodsy flavor.  If you go to Volt this dish is a must-order item.

At this point the restaurant sent over their Wine Director to assist us with the expansive list.  Jill enthusiastically guided us through the menu, and helped us to select the perfect bottle for our tastes.  I loved talking to her and listening to all of the stories behind the different wines. 

For my third course I went against the table and ordered the Pork Shoulder, Sunchoke, Onion, and Cabbage.  As you can see from the image above, this dish way exceeded my expectations in terms of types of pork on the plate.  I not only had a nice portion of the pork shoulder, but also some pork belly and a sparerib.  The onions were the perfect complement and added a bit of sweetness to the dish.  The rest of the table ordered the Lobster, which was also outstanding.  I sampled a bite because it looked so pretty!  The lobster was perfectly cooked with just a touch of sweetness

My fourth course was dessert (yay), and I selected the Chocolate Marshmallow with Caramel and Peanut Ice Cream.  Oh heavens, my mouth is watering just thinking of it now.  I loved the rustic look of the dish and the playful touch with the gourmet marshmallow fluff.  I wanted to lick the plate. 

I would have too if I wasn’t so busy staring at the gorgeous plates around me.  Check out my dad’s striking dessert of the Peppermint White Chocolate and Eggnog Gingerbread.  How clever to take traditional flavors from the Holidays and reinterpret the presentation to invoke thoughts of Spring.

Oh but we weren’t finished yet!  Our four-course meal also included Volt’s complimentary tray of sweet bites to round out the meal.  These included chocolate and coffee macarons, house-made gelee, a fennel marshmallow, and hazelnut espresso truffles.  Two trays were delivered for our table of four!

This meal was absolutely divine.  In fact, it doesn’t even seem fair to call it a meal, it was more of a dining experience.  This dinner ranked up with the top five meals of my life.  The food was superb, and Chef Bryan Voltaggio elevated classic flavors with his witty, artistic presentation.  I would also like to say the entire staff at Volt were knowledgeable and welcoming.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been rushed through a dinner, but they let us truly enjoy our meal at a relaxed pace.  Hands down the best service I’ve ever experienced at a restaurant.  Finally, I know that $80 can seem like a lot to spend on a four-course dinner.  Our dinner was actually more like a seven-course dinner, and included the four courses described above with the bread course (bacon brioche!), complimentary dessert bites, and house-made granola togo delivered with our check. 

My overall rating is an A+ for Volt. Truly inventive and delightful food and worth every bit of traffic.   Thanks to my fabulous family for the reservation, meal and company!

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Sweet Potato Ricotta and Arugula Ravioli

23 Jan

There are days where I wake up ready for a challenge in the kitchen.  I want to experiment with something new and discover uncharted territory.  This is one of those days.  Brace yourself, because we are making homemade ravioli!  Oh, and not just any ravioli, veg-friendly Sweet Potato Ricotta and Arugula Ravioli.

Sweet Potato Ricotta and Arugula Ravioli (serves 1-2)

The filling:

  • Half a bin of arugula
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 tbs of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs ricotta cheese

The dough (recipe and process from Eat Live Run):

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs

First things first, let’s get the sweet potato going.  That way we can cut down the time spent on this recipe, and get closer to the eating part.  After washing and drying your sweet potato, poke several rows of holes in the top with a fork.  Put the sweet potato directly on the oven rack and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 1 hour.  While that’s cooking you can multi-task, and start on the ravioli dough. 

I always thought making my own pasta would be an impossible feat, and that the process would be overwhelmingly complicated.  I’m happy to say, this is not the case.  All you need is 3 ingredients to make a basic dough:  flour, eggs, and salt. 

On a clean countertop, pour 1/2 cup of flour.  Add a sprinkle of salt over the flour and mix in with your hands.  Cup the flour with your hands and make a circle.  Then push out from the middle to make a well. 

Crack 2 eggs in the center of your well and slowly start pulling the flour into the egg with your fingers a little at a time.  The egg mixture will be very sticky at first.  You will end up with dough after just a few minutes of mixing the ingredients.  My dough was still a little sticky and I just added a sprinkle more flour to get it to the right consistency.  You should then form a dough ball and cover your masterpiece with a wet paper towel for 45 minutes. 

 

The dough process took me about fifteen minutes.  This means that your baked sweet potato and ravioli dough should both be ready in about 45 more minutes.  You have two options for the next 45 minutes.  Option 1:  clean up your counter, your hands, and get started on the rest of the filling.  Option 2:  watch an episode of Top Chef on your dvr to feel inspired, and do the cleanup afterwards.  I went with option 1, because I have a small apartment kitchen and needed the clean space for later.  Told you I love to multitask! 

 

 

Now for the other half of the filling.  In a medium-sized pan, heat 1 tbs of olive oil on medium heat.  Then add  1 tbs of chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your arugula, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper to the garlic.  Stir this all together to wilt your greens.  You will notice they cook up rather quickly and reduce in size. 

Take your wilted arugula off the heat and put on a back burner.  You’ll come back to it in a minute.  Scoop out the inside of your baked sweet potato and transfer it to a large cereal bowl or small mixing bowl.  Mix the sweet potato with a sprinkle of nutmeg, the other 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1 tbs of butter. 

Now add the garlic arugula mixture to the sweet potato, and also 3 tbs of ricotta cheese.  Mix well and taste to make sure your filling doesn’t need additional seasoning.  Set filling aside and let’s get back to our ravioli dough. 

Sprinkle a little flour on your counter and on a rolling pin.  You don’t want your dough to stick!  You can also use a wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin available.  Roll out your dough, starting in the center and working your way out.  This will take a few minutes (and some patience), as you want your dough to be very thin.  Now use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut rows into the dough.  The rows should be about the same length and width.  They will be the top and bottom of your ravioli.  Think about the size of your ravioli, and spoon a tsp of filling out across the dough. I had 4 blobs of filling for each strip of dough.  You want to leave plenty of room between the filling.

Take the top piece of dough and put it over the dough with filling.  Gently press down and pinch the dough around the filling to make a little pouch.  You want to make sure it’s sealed properly so the filling doesn’t leak out later.  I used a fork and pressed around the edges to get a good seal and pretty rustic design. 

Repeat this process until you have finished assembling your ravioli.  I used my scraps of dough to make one extra piece of ravioli. 

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and put in a few pieces of ravioli to cook.  Make sure not to overcrowd the pot.  The ravioli should take about 6-7 minutes to cook, and will look pale in color.  Take one out and test with your fork to make sure it’s cooked and the pasta dough is light.  I used a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper and red pepper flakes to finish my ravioli.  You could also use marinara sauce.

Here are a few short cuts for this recipe:

1.  I baked my sweet potato, but you could also microwave it for 6 minutes on high if you are pressed for time.  Remember to poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork (or it will explode), and expect a little whistling. 

2.  You can make the filling the night before and keep it in the fridge covered with cling wrap. 

3.  Please please please make sure to roll out a thin dough.  I was impatient (surprised?), and left mine a little too thick.  This meant each piece had to cook for longer and my ravioli were a bit dense. 

My experiment was so delicious!  I learned from my dough mistakes, and can’t wait to try it again.  Oh, and don’t feel bad about eating any leftover filling straight from the bowl.  It was just as good this way, and I might offer it up as a side for my veg sister at Thanksgiving next year!