Okay, we’ll be the first to admit it, ravioli are a bit fussy, but not so fussy that you can’t whip up a batch or two. And, here’s a tip, kids, write it down, get a couple of people working on the ravioli; it’ll be over in no time. We happened to make enough so that we could freeze some for later and it’ll be nice to take out a bag of raviolis and just cook ’em up and cover with a sauce.
We’ve made these mushroom ravioli a couple of times; they are full of mushroom flavor, and people really like them. By using homemade pasta, the ravioli have a nice toothsome bite, not all mush like some ravioli you’ve (and we’ve) had. So let’s mix up a batch of ravis.
Makes about 4 generous servings (70 good-size raviolis)
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms, preferably including porcinis
- 1 cup dry white wine, perhaps Pinot Grigio
- 1-2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 4 Tbs butter, unsalted
- 1/4 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Double batch of home-scratched pasta, ready to roll
To maximize the mushroom flavor, try to get some porcini mushrooms in there; we use some dried ones that we reconstituted. Other than that, consider using portobella, crimini, or whatever you can find that you like. The wine is optional; it adds flavor, so consider it. As far as ricotta, when we want ravioli for special occasions, we make our own, but feel free to buy it to save a bit of time.
Mise en place. Chop that onion and garlic, chop all the mushrooms into small dice (1/8 to 1/4 inch), rehydrate and chop and dried mushrooms.
Saute onion and garlic. Toss those four tablespoons of butter into a large skillet and start it melting. When it’s pretty hot, toss in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is just beginning to brown.
Add mushrooms. Toss the mushrooms in and let them cook. They’ll produce a lot of water, so your job is to cook it off. If you’ve used dried porcinis or other dried mushrooms, toss the liquid that you’ve used for soaking them in, too. Mushrooms have mild flavors, so you want to concentrate all those flavors into each ravioli.
Cook down. Let the mushrooms simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is gone. It’ll start to smell really tasty.
Add wine. Once the mushrooms have cooked down, add the cup of wine and reduce again. It’ll take a while, but you’re not making a Chef Boy-ar-dee product here, you’re scratchin’ up real food.
Season to taste. Once you have cooked down all the liquid, season those mushrooms with salt and freshly-ground pepper. By waiting until the liquids are concentrated, you won’t run the risk of concentrating the seasoning and making salt-block raviolis.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool. The bowl is where you’ll make your filling; let it cool, because you’ll be adding an egg and you don’t want it to cook.
Add ricotta. The ricotta makes for a richer-tasting ravioli, so add between one and two cups, and mix it in thoroughly.
Add egg. The egg will bind everything together when you boil up the raviolis; otherwise, the filling would just crumble when you bite into them.
Roll out pasta. Run the pasta dough through your pasta machine until you reach a thickness that you like. For our machine, we find the setting of ‘4’ works great. Try to get a sheet about 3 inches wide, and however long is easy to handle, and place it on a lightly floured counter. If you don’t have a pasta machine, use a rolling pin and elbow grease. They’ll look a bit more rustic, but they taste great.
Add filling. Drop teaspoons of filling on one side of the sheet, making sure they are about 1/2-inch apart.
Fold over pasta, cut, and seal. Carefully fold the pasta over lengthwise to cover the filling, press down and cut between each filling-lump (we have a funny zig-zag wheel that works a treat, but a knife will work, too). Then, using the tines of a fork, seal all the sides.
Place on towel. Set your freshly made pasta on a clean towel to dry, and make your next ravioli. As we said in the introduction, this goes a lot faster if you can get an extra pair of hands on the production line.
If you’re not cooking soon, refrigerate all your raviolis. Just transfer the towel to a cookie sheet and pop in the fridge. Or, you can freeze ’em on the cookie sheet, and when frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.
Boil ravioli. Since these are fresh pasta, they cook up fast. Bring several quarts of salted water to a rolling boil, and boil about 16 raviolis for 3-4 minutes, testing for doneness. Remove with slotted spoon, and boil up the next batch.
Serve with your favorite sauce. We made a variation on the hand-crushed marinara sauce, which was pretty good, but a nice cream sauce would be a good choice, too.
These raviolis are outstanding, but they do take some time so as far as worth it goes, we’d probably give ’em four stars. They are definitely worth having for a special occasion, and, if you freeze some for later, they become even more worth it.