Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli with Smoked Tomato Cream Sauce
Somewhere, in the back reaches of my mind, a single piece of straw turns a camel into a paraplegic...
Rich earthy ravioli in a sweet and smokey cream sauce.
Fresh pasta (and I'm swiping this from Batali; it also makes far more than you'll need, but fresh pasta is a wonderful thing):
3.5 C AP flour
4 extra large eggs
For the filling:
8 oz full fat ricotta
1/4 C romano or parmesan
8 oz mushrooms, minced
1-2 shallots, minced
2 T butter
For the sauce:
~1C heavy cream
moderate handful of smoked tomatoes*
Salt and pepper to taste in both the sauce and filling
*I smoked the tomatoes myself; I made these by mostly dehydrating them then sticking them over low temperature but intense smoke. To be exact I used Mortgage Lifter and Amish Paste (heirloom varieties that aren't too sweet when fresh) tomatoes over a charcoal fire adding fresh wet hickory every 30-45 minutes or so for 2 hours without letting the temperature get past 200 F in the smoker. If the tomatoes weren't sufficiently dry for cabinet storage after the smoker I dehydrated them further until crisp.
Make a well in the pasta, add in the eggs and beat the eggs.
Mix in the flour, adjusting flour/water so you have a just slightly sticky pasta.
Knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.
Let's be honest, you didn't knead it enough, knead it some more.
Let it rest for 20 minutes.
Now, you can either use a pasta maker, or a rolling pin. If using a rolling pin you might as well double the prep time, and you'll have to guess about the thickness of the dough, because I did all this using the settings on my pasta maker.
Start on the thickest setting, run the dough through, run it through again, fold it in half lengthwise, run it through, then run it through again (flouring as necessary).
Repeat that for each setting on the pasta maker until you reach either the next to thinnest or thinnest setting (depending on the amount of pasta you want to your filling and how much chew you want). This develops the gluten and makes for a somewhat chewy (when al dente) pasta to contrast with a creamy sauce and filling.
Melt the butter then saute the shallot.
Add in the mushrooms, salt and pepper (keep in mind the romano will add to the salt), and saute over medium or medium low until you've cooked pretty much all the moisture out of the mushrooms.
Allow the mushrooms to cool some, before adding them to the ricotta and romano and food processoring to thoroughly combine.
Check and adjust seasoning.
Toss the cream and the smoked tomatoes in a sauce pan and bring to a low simmer (don't let it come to a full boil). Keep it here for about 20 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, then puree either with a blender or stick blender. The tomatoes should provide all the thickening agent the sauce needs, but a little romano could be okay if it's not quite there.
Cut the pasta sheet in half, and on one half space out teaspoons worth of the filling leaving enough room to cut individual ravioli.
Seal the other sheet of pasta on top (which may require a little water or egg wash if your pasta is dry, you want a solid seal), trying to minimize the amount of air around the filling.
Cut the pasta using an appropriately sized ring mold or similar (or even a sharp knife if that's all you have, but then be prepared to increment up the prep time).
Dump the ravioli in a large amount of salted water at a high boil, and cook to desired doneness (I tend to go for quite al dente).
Spoon the sauce on top, sprinkle a little parmesan and maybe some chopped parsley and serve.
This is the alpha version of this recipe, and all amounts are approximate. That said, the way it turned out, I'd crawl across broken glass for seconds. This strikes me as a recipe where you could do everything except the sauce and the cooking of the finished ravioli the day before, or even freeze the uncooked ravioli so you could cook the ravioli and make the sauce in a few minutes for a short notice special dish. -Davik