Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 31: Winter Squash Ravioli Prep Work. Step 1: Clarified Butter

Friday, finally!  It's been a long stressful week for Paul so I want to make something special for dinner -- sort of a welcome to a relaxing weekend meal.  I decided on the Winter Squash Ravioli from The Greens Cook Book. I love this cookbook.  I feel very accomplished after cooking one of the recipes.   Everything is from scratch, and sometimes the steps are a bit complicated, but I'm learning so much -- it's a lot of fun.  I decided to break the prep for tonight's dinner into three steps spread throughout the day so I don't get too stressed trying to do everything at once.  So when Paul comes home, a cold beer for him, a glass of wine for me, and a little talk while I cook the pasta!

Step 1:  Clarified butter.  I've cooked recipes that called for clarified butter, but I never really knew what it was so I would just use regular butter.  Luckily for me The Greens Cook Book has a section on sauces, relishes, and butters, and on page 325 are (yup, you guessed it!) the instruction on how to make clarified butter.  

Clarified Butter
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  1 1/2 cups

Clarified butter is butter from which the milk solids have been removed through heating and straining.  AND once the milk solids have been removed, the butter will not burn when heated!  One pound of butter will yield about 1 1/2 cups of clarified butter.  The cream sauce I'll make for tonight's pasta dish will use 4 tablespoons, so I'll cover and refrigerate the rest.

Cut unsalted butter into small pieces, and melt it slowly in a heavy saucepan over low heat.

Once the butter has melted, raise the heat to medium.  A white foam will rise and cover the surface. 

Skim off the foam with a fine sieve (I used a metal table spoon) but don't worry about removing all of it.  Cook the butter slowly for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the butter cool to tepid. 

The milk solids will settle to the bottom.  Pour the butter through a fine-meshed strainer or a strainer lined with cheese cloth. 

I first poured the butter through a sieve into my "fat separator", and let it cool a little more before pouring in though the sieve again into a dish.  

Let it cool completely and then cover and refrigerate (or not, as you prefer).  

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