October Gourmet Night at Natalie's

The Menu:
Italian Spread for Bread or Crackers
The Punch
Apple & Spiced Pecan Salad
Spinach Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Cream Sauce
Chicken, Pine nut and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust

Italian Spread for Bread or Crackers
Red or yellow bell peppers
Red onion
Roma tomatoes (or about 4 regular tomatoes)
6 oz.
Jar of Capers (with juice)
¼ tsp.
Cloves garlic

Whipped cream cheese

Olive oil
1.  Dice peppers, onion, and tomatoes (I dice pretty small)                                                              
2.  Add salt, capers, and garlic.
Stir well. Drizzle with olive oil.
4.  Spread whipped cream cheese on crackers or sliced crusty bread (sourdough is good).
5.  Put spoonful of mixture on top of cream cheese.

Focaccia Bread
Original recipe by Tyler Florence
  • 2 tsp rapid rising dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/2-4 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt + 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • Olive oil to brush surface of the bread


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary


In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stove top or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, coat a small saute pan with olive oil, add the onion, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the onions caramelize. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and then add caramelized onions, garlic, cheese, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

Apple & Spiced Pecan Salad
6-8 cups assorted greens (anything but iceberg)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large red-skinned apple, diced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
dash Tabasco sauce
2 TB. sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Whisk together dressing ingredients.

Spiced Pecans:
3 TB. butter
1 1/2 TB. sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Over medium heat, melt butter in a pan and add sugar, spices and salt. Add pecan pieces and stir until well coated. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until sugar caramelizes and pecans darken slightly in color. Transfer mixture to foil or parchment paper to cool. Break up pieces.

Assemble salad ingredients and top with cooled pecans. To avoid browning, apples can be added directly to dressing, or diced just prior to serving. Toss salad with dressing and serve.

 This was the only ravioli picture I got! Sorry, it's sans sauce and I don't even have a picture of the other ravioli!

Basic Egg Pasta
4 large eggs
1⁄2 cup water
31⁄2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in mixer bowl.
Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and
mix 30 seconds.
Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes. 
Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing with Pasta Sheet Roller attachment. (or roll out to desired thickness)
Yield: 1 1⁄4 pounds dough.

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Cream Sauce
1 recipe Basic Egg Pasta
1 tbs  olive oil
11/2 cups  finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup  shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 large head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs  butter
1 tbs all-purpose flour
11/3 cups whipping cream
1/8 tsp  ground nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp  salt
1/8 tsp  black pepper

Prepare pasta dough; let rest.
In medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms and garlic; sauté
cheese, salt, and pepper; stir in mushroom mixture. Refrigerate until ready to fill ravioli. Fill ravioli with mixture using whichever method you prefer (I used my KitchenAid Ravioli Maker attachment).

For Sauce:
Peel loose, paper-like skin from outside of garlic. Cut 1/2" slice from top of garlic to expose cloves. Place cut side up on 12"  square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil; wrap securely in foil. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife point in center meets no resistance; cool. In small bowl, squeeze garlic out of cloves; mash with fork.
In heavy 2 qt  saucepan over medium heat, heat butter until hot. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in cream, mashed garlic, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Heat to boiling; boil and stir 1 minute, or until thickened. Serve hot over cooked ravioli.

Chicken, Pine Nut and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1 recipe Basic Egg Pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup  finely chopped roasted chicken
1 package mild goat cheese with garlic and herbs
1 tbs  olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbs packed fresh basil or 2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp packed fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 jar (7 oz) roasted red bell peppers, undrained
1 cup half-and-half
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Prepare pasta dough; let rest.
On baking sheet, place nuts in single layer. Toast in oven at 350°F (180°C) for 5 to 7 minutes, or until light brown and aromatic. Cool slightly; chop. In medium bowl, combine nuts, chicken, and cheese; refrigerate until ready to fill ravioli.
Fill ravioli with mixture using whichever method you prefer (I used my KitchenAid Ravioli Maker attachment).

For Sauce:
In medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion; sauté until onion is tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; set aside. In food processor work bowl, position multipurpose blade. With motor running, add basil and oregano. Process until
chopped, 5 to 10 seconds. Add onion mixture and bell peppers. Process until smooth, scraping sides if necessary. Add onion-pepper mixture to skillet. Over medium heat, heat to simmer. Add half-and-half, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook until mixture is thickened and heated through. Serve hot over cooked ravioli.

*I made and filled all my ravioli a week prior and froze them. Huge time saver!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 3/4 C gingersnap crumbs (about 30 small cookies)
6T real butter, melted
3 T brown sugar
3/4 C ground pecans

3 8oz blocks cream cheese
3/4 C canned pumpkin puree
6 oz melted white chocolate (that's about 1 C white chocolate chips)
1 C sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/4 t nutmeg
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves

- 1 C whipping cream, beat with 1/2 tsp vanilla and 4 Tbs powdered sugar until medium peaks form.
- 1/3 C roughly chopped pecans, either toasted or caramelized
- 2 Tablespoons jarred caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Using 2 large pieces of heavy duty foil, securely wrap the bottom and outside of your cheesecake pan. This will prevent leaks when using the water bath.

For Crust:

Use a food processor to crush gingersnaps. Then do pecans. Combine gingersnaps, pecans, brown sugar, and butter and stir well to combine. Press into a 9" spring form pan. Evenly spread across the bottom of pan and up the sides about 1 inch.
To melt chocolate, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside.

With an electric mixer beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Add pumpkin, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

With the mixer running, slowly add in white chocolate in a steady stream (or steady blobs).

Pour mixture on top of the crust.
For water bath:

Place cheesecake pan inside of a larger pan. I use a roasting pan. The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth. Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle or pitcher filled with hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The center should be just a tad bit jiggly still. It will finish cooking while cooling.

When it's done, remove from oven and place on a rack until completely cool. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.  This is a very soft cheesecake so sufficient chilling is a must!

When ready to serve spread sweetened whipped cream on top, drizzle caramel sauce over it, and sprinkle with pecans.


  1. So yummy Dar! All of it. Though I especially loved the cheesecake and the salad. Can't wait to make them!

  2. That dinner was amazing. I loved it. Great job!


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