With help from Cameron Mitchell Catering, we've created a New Year's cocktail party menu that can be tackled in your own kitchen. Our holiday print spread showcased six delectable drink, appetizer and dessert recipes. As an online exclusive, we're offering two more. Enjoy!
Port Wine Poached Pears
In a large saucepan, simmer the red wine, the ruby port, the water with the sugar, the honey, the grenadine, the zest and the cloves, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Then, add the pears, peeled, quartered, and cored. Cover so that they are fully immersed in the liquid and simmer on very low for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let them continue to sit in the liquid for at least 1 hour. Transfer them to a shallow bowl. By this time they should be a very dark red color. Place bowl into fridge to chill overnight. Cut and serve over crostini.
Ingredients for pasta dough
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting 4 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon salt 2 to 3 tablespoons water
Note: You will need a pasta rolling machine
Directions for pasta dough
Mound flour on a work surface, preferably wooden, and make a well in center. Add eggs, salt and 2 tablespoons water to well. With a fork, gently beat eggs and water until combined. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a paste, pulling in flour closest to egg mixture and being careful not to make an opening in outer wall of well. Knead remaining flour into mixture with your hands to form a dough, adding more water drop by drop if dough is too dry. (Dough should be firm and not sticky). Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with an inverted bowl and let stand 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.
Rolling the pasta dough
Divide dough into 8 pieces, then flatten each piece into a rough rectangle and cover rectangles with an inverted large bowl. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting.
Lightly dust one rectangle with flour and feed through rollers. (Keep remaining rectangles under bowl.) Fold rectangle in half and feed it, folded end first, through rollers seven or eight more times, folding it in half each time and feeding folded end through. Dust with flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding. Continue to feed dough through rollers once at each setting, without folding, until you reach narrowest setting. Dough will be a smooth sheet (about 36 inches long and 4 inches wide). Cut sheet crosswise in half. Lay sheets of dough on lightly floured baking sheets to dry until leathery but still pliable, about 15 minutes. (Alternatively, lightly dust pasta sheets with flour and hang over the backs of straight-backed chairs to dry.) Roll out remaining pieces of dough in same manner.
Ingredients for the filling
1 pound asparagus cut into small coins and blanched 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano 1/4 cup mascarpone 1/4 cup ricotta 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs 1 egg 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
Directions for the filling
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Using a large spoon, place about 1 tablespoon onto dough about 2 inches away from each other. Lay another sheet of pasta over the filling and cut around with a metal ring cutter (an empty aluminum will work, too). Discard extra pasta. Make sure to push all the air out of the ravioli and press on the edges to seal with a fork.
Ingredients for sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (packed) 1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds (toasted) 1/4 cup oil packed and drained sun-dried tomatoes 1 garlic clove pinch crushed red pepper flakes 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup water 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Directions for sun-dried tomato pesto
Blend all dry ingredients in a food processor or blender until almonds are finely chopped. While machine is running slowly, pour in oil, then the cup water. Blend until it is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange ravioli on plate and spoon pesto over top. Makes 16 servings.
(Pesto can be made ahead of time and frozen in small amounts for later use.)