Cooking Class with Chef Michael Rossi, The Ranch

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Award winning executive chef at The Ranch in Anaheim, Michael Rossi, charmed  students with his skill and culinary passion in a recent cooking class. It was the first class taught in the beautiful teaching kitchen on the sixth floor – high above the restaurant.

Twenty-four students sipped sparkling wine in this intimate-yet-high tech setting while watching Rossi’s every move. If they wanted a tight shot of the action, they could view it on three large screens arranged to capture every move.

He flawlessly prepared 5 dishes, everything from appetizers to main course, while his brother, award-winning executive pastry chef David Rossi, taught the dessert; scrumptious Butterscotch Pots de Creme.

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Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Brown Butter, Sage and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pasta made from scratch …

The menu was themed to fall, a season that cooks look forward to for its richly flavored ingredients, slow braises and decadent desserts. Wild Mushroom Ravioli made with from-scratch pasta wowed the crowd, each pillow-like disk generously filled with irresistible flavors.

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A tomato salad showed off a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes harvested at “the farm;” the colorful concoction was napped with a classic vinaigrette and topped with blue cheese and house-cured bbq bacon (note anything with blue cheese and bacon in my opinion is a big winner). ranchtomatotrimmings

Even the trimmings are pretty ….

The main course was Veal Osso Buco served with Anson Mills’ polenta and roasted root vegetables.

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Appetizers are always high on the list of what home cooks want to master.

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His Fig & Burrata Toasts were easy to prepare and designed to tempt any palate. (If you want to prepare this and figs are out of season, substitute cubes of caramelized butternut squash tossed with dried cranberries, or diced Fuyu persimmons). Here is the recipe:

Fresh Figs and Burrata Toast
Yield: 6 servings
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced orange zest (colored portion of peel)
2 teaspoons honey, divided use
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil and 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
Kosher salt to taste
12 fresh figs, stems removed, halved lengthwise top to bottom
Nonstick spray
6 slices baguette or rustic Italian bread (1/2-inch thick)
Extra-virgin olive oil for lightly coating bread slices
6 ounces burrata cheese
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish: microgreens  (I buy them at Trader Joe’s)
1. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, zest, 1 teaspoon honey and olive oil; whisk to combine. Stir in basil, mint and salt. Add figs and toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2.Spray grill pan with nonstick spray and heat on medium-high. Brush both sides of bread lightly with olive oil. Grill bread until nicely toasted; set aside. Grill figs on cut side until soft but not squishy, about 2 to 4 minutes. Return figs to bowl with residual marinade and cool; toss. Cool bread.
3. Tear pieces of chilled burrata cheese to fit the top of each bread slice. Top with figs, cut-side up. Drizzle with reserved honey and season with Maldron salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Top each with a smidgen of microgreens. Source: Michael Rossi, executive chef, The Ranch, Anaheim

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