Romantic recipes created by husband and wife

John LaFemina, chef and owner of Apizz and Orchard in New York City, teamed up with his wife, Pam Manela, to create the recipes for this pear and prosciutto salad, hen-of-the-woods ravioli and molten chocolate cake:

Pear and prosciutto salad with port glaze and herbed walnuts
Servings:

Four servings

Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 sprig rosemary
    • 3 to 4 sprigs thyme
    • 1/2 cup walnut halves
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 4 Bartlett pears, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges
    • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced (12 to 15 slices)
    • 8 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, roughly chopped
  • For the port glaze

    • 1/3 cup tawny port wine
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the rosemary, and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, so the flavors blend. 2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the herbs, walnuts, and salt. Mix to coat the nuts well. 3. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the walnuts to cool to room temperature.4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat until it begins to smoke. Add the prosciutto slices and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, turning them over frequently, until they are stiff and slightly crisp. Remove the prosciutto from the pan and drain on a paper towel. 5. To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the port wine, balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and cook until the mixture reduces by half and turns syrupy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar. Allow the glaze to cool to room temperature.6. To assemble the dish, divide the pear slices among four plates, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Lay the prosciutto slices between the pears. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of port glaze over each serving, and place a small mound of walnuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side of each plate.

Hen-of- the-woods mushroom ravioli
Servings:

4-5 servings

Ingredients

  • Filling and topping

    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh shallots
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
    • 1 pound hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, roughly chopped, thick stems removed
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened butter
    • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 7 ounces robiolla cheese (it comes in 3 1/2-ounce cubes)
    • 9 ounces ricotta cheese
  • For the ravioli

    • 1 pack of 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch square sheets of wonton skins or wrappers (it’s typically 100 in a pack for about two dollars)
    • Flour for dusting, about 1/2 cup
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • Remaining half of diced mushrooms
  • For the sauce

    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon diced shallots
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 1 tablespoon diced garlic
    • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • Salt and black pepper to taste, plus 1 tablespoon salt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For the topping:Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat until just smoking. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, butter, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper and saute until the mushrooms are soft, 4-5 minutes. Remove half of the mushrooms for the topping and reserve the other half for the filling.For the filling:1.Dice half the mushrooms into small pieces.2. Place the diced mushroom into a mixing bowl and fold in the robiolla cheese and ricotta cheese.  For the ravioli:1. Lay wonton skins on a floured work surface (two wonton skins will make one ravioli). Brush a 1-inch border of the egg around the edges of the wontons.  2. Place 1 tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in the center of each wonton square. Place a second wonton square over the mixture (like a sandwich) and pinch the squares together around the edges until they stick together. Dust the ravioli with a little flour.  3. Using a two-inch round cookie cutter, cut round forms out of the square ravioli. Recheck the edges to ensure there are no openings. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or cook right away.For the sauceHeat the oil in a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat until it begins to smoke. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for another minute.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Keep the sauce on a very low simmer while cooking the ravioli.2. Fill a 4-5 gallon pot with water (about ¾ full). Add  the tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Boil the ravioli for about 1-2 minutes. Drain the water and divide onto dinner plates. Spoon sauce and extra mushrooms on top. (We sprinkle a little chopped thyme as well.)

Molten chocolate cake
Servings:

4-5 individual servings (with 2” x 4” ramekins)

Ingredients

  • For the crust

    • 1 box graham crackers
    • 1 ounce butter, at room temperature
    • 1 ounce cream cheese
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • For the cake

    • 4 ounces milk chocolate
    • 1 ounce dark chocolate
    • 3 ounces butter, plus extra for greasing
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For the crustPlace all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until moist, 30 seconds. Set aside at room temperature.For the cake1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.2. Place the milk and dark chocolate in a microwave-safe container. Place three ounces of butter on top of the chocolate and heat in the microwave for 1-1 ½ minutes. Remove the container from the microwave, mix well, and heat for an additional 20 seconds. Set aside.3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar and cocoa powder. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well.4. Grease the ramekins with butter. Spoon ¼ cup of the graham cracker crust mixture into each ramekin. Gently pack crust down, allowing it to come up about ½ inch all around. Fill the remaining ¾ of the ramekins with the chocolate mixture. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Serve immediately with vanilla gelato or fresh fruit.

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