Saturday, October 4, 2014

Recipe for Today: Homemade Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Parmesan Cream

I tried this delicious recipe for today's dinner.  Added a side salad and a glass of red wine and we were all set.

What you Need for homemade pasta:
  •  1 egg, beaten
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2 tablespoons water

* Original recipe makes 3 servings

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the flour, add the slightly beaten egg, and mix. Mixture should form a stiff dough. If needed, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3 to 4 minutes. With a pasta machine or by hand roll dough out to desired thinness. Use machine or knife to cut into strips of desired width.
What you Need for filling:
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • olive oil
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 6 baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry and ¼ cup beef stock, or substitute sherry with more beef stock
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 big handfuls of grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 3 cups flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter


For the filling, heat the butter, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil oil, 2 of the garlic cloves, and the minced onion over medium heat until they get crispy and golden.

Then finely chop the mushrooms and add them to the saucepan. Continue cooking until they start to release a little water, and add the sherry and beef stock. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, add salt and pepper if you want, then set aside and cool until you are ready to make the pasta.
Make the sauce first by heating ¼ cup of olive oil with the other minced garlic clove until the garlic starts to turn golden.

Then add the milk and the cheese, and whisk for a few seconds. Then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer.

While the sauce is simmering, make the pasta by using a fork to mix the flour with the salt, then put it onto a board or the counter.

Add the egg in the middle, and start mixing it into the flour with your fingers. Add the butter, and keep mixing. Add up to a cup of warm water (enough to make the dough just stick together) and knead it until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth.

Put the dough ball in a bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it stand for ten minutes.

On a floured cutting board or counter, roll out the dough as thin as possible. Then cut it into two rectangle shapes.

Put spoonfuls of the mushroom filling a few inches away from each other on one piece of dough, and then cover with the other piece of dough. Cut them into ravioli and use a fork to press the edges together.

Store the pastas on a baking sheet in the fridge while you bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Drop the ravioli in a few at a time, and let them cook for about two minutes (until they float and the water comes back to a boil).

Drain them in a colander and put them straight into the simmered cream sauce. The longer they cool in the sauce, the more the sauce will stick to the ravioli. Serve with fresh basil, cracked pepper, and more shredded cheese on top if you want.

MAKING PASTA FROM SCRATCH - Making pasta at home is really fun (and it’s super impressive to say you made pasta from scratch)! Usually I just stick to gnocchi made with instant potato flakes. Gnocchi are little potato dumpling kind of pastas, and they’re especially easy to make if you use instant mashed potatoes like I do in my recipe.

Making pasta dough from flour and egg and then rolling it and cutting it into pasta shapes is a little trickier, but very rewarding if you do it right! The recipe I made this ravioli dough with is from a cookbook called The Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Lo Pinto. It was published in 1948, which is cool because back then people used to make a lot of things by hand that we would just buy in the store today. There are recipes for homemade pasta dough, homemade ladyfingers to use in tiramisu, and many other things that we would normally buy pre-made.

I made my ravioli filling beforehand from diced mushrooms, onions, and garlic cooked in olive oil, sherry, and beef broth until it was rich and dark and very flavorful.

It’s kind of chunky and rustic sort of. Any filling can be used for these ravioli, though. Maria Lo Pinto says to use a filling made of finely chopped chicken and to cover the ravioli in tomato sauce, but I chose to use mushrooms and a cream sauce to go on top.

To make the dough, I mixed together flour and salt with a fork and then poured it out onto the counter and dropped an egg in the middle.

I kneaded it together with my fingers starting from the egg in the middle. Then I added melted butter and gradually added warm water as the dough got stiffer. The reason that pasta dough recipes often say to “make a well” for the egg and other ingredients is so that they can get incorporated gradually and make a smoother dough.

Once all the flour was in the dough, I kneaded it for a few minutes to make it smooth and put it in a bowl which I covered with a towel and set aside for ten minutes.

While the dough was resting, I made a garlic parmesan cream sauce by cooking garlic in olive oil

Then adding whole milk and shredded romano cheese, whisking it a little, and letting it simmer over very low heat.

Then I took the pasta dough out of the bowl and rolled it out thin on the floured counter.

I don’t have a pasta machine, but that’s okay because I guess most people who used this cookbook didn’t either; the recipe just says to roll it out thin instead of “use pasta machine setting number..” I rolled mine as thin as I could, but that’s the hard part about this recipe. You need strong arms to get it as thin as possible! Actually the dough is so tough that you really can use your hands to pull it apart and stretch it if you want.

If you don’t have a rolling pin, a drinking glass works perfectly! Then cut it into two equal-sized rectangles.

Place spoonfuls of filling a few inches apart on top of one of the dough pieces (I spaced mine sort of far and it made big ravioli):

Then place the other rectangle on top and press them together where you plan to cut the squares. You can even trace those lines with some water on your finger before you put the second rectangle on top; it helps the seams to stick together better.

After you cut them, you can use a fork to press the seams and make sure they stay tightly closed. It’s also really pretty!

I made some big ones, some smaller ones, and then some random noodles from the leftover scraps.

I put mine on a baking sheet in the fridge while I got a big pot of salted water boiling.

Then I dropped in the raviolis and let them cook for about two minutes each (until they floated to the top and the water started boiling again).

Fresh pasta takes way less time to cook than dried pasta does, and I like mine al dente too :)

I drained them and put them straight into the pot with the simmered cream sauce. I also added fresh basil and black pepper.

Then I served them with more grated pecorino romano cheese on top.

The longer the pasta cools in the sauce before you serve it, the thicker the sauce will be and the more it will stick to the ravioli. 
The flavors here are so rich and go together perfectly! And making ravioli at home is really not as hard as it seems. I will definitely be making these ones again! I doubled the amounts for what I made, so the recipe below will make about 22 or 24 big ravioli.

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