Recipe Source (Filling): Martha Stewart http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/mushroom-ravioli-from-living
Recipe Source (Pasta Dough): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fresh-Semolina-and-Egg-Pasta/Detail.aspx
OK – I know what you're thinking … raviolis aren't grilled or smoked… why is Fearless Grill making them? I actually enjoy making fresh pasta a lot. I received a pasta machine for Christmas years ago, but I rarely actually have time to use it. Since primary cooking responsibilities have fallen on me while Jess was pregnant, I was trying to mix in a few things that didn't involve barbeque and decided that I'd try and make some raviolis since I had the time, I had always wanted to make them, and Jess had been craving ravioli for a while. I was at my butcher shop, which also sells a variety of produce, and they had some baby portabella mushrooms for a great price, so I picked those up and decided to make mushroom raviolis. Oh – and I had planned to roast the mushrooms in my Big Green Egg to give them some smoke flavor, but it was absolutely freezing outside the day I cooked this, and I decided to just make them indoors.
While I've made plenty of pasta before, I hadn't tried raviolis, so I started looking online to find a good recipe for mushroom raviolis. I found a number of recipes, but a lot of them had mushrooms in the sauce, not in the pasta. Others looked really bland. I finally came across this recipe from Martha Stewart. I haven't cooked anything from her books or magazines before, but Jess likes her work, so I figured I'd give it a chance. I was a bit turned off by the call for multiple types of mushrooms in the recipe since I didn't have those, and frankly didn't want to spend a fortune on esoteric mushrooms. However, I decided to just go with my baby portabellas and the dried porcinis the recipe asked for, and trade off a bit of the flavor complexity for budget and simplicity. I also used a lot less olive oil for sautéing the shallots and mushrooms than called for, since I didn't think something stuffed with cheese needed additional fat. I also substituted pecorino cheese for the parmesan called for in the recipe, since it is significantly cheaper, behaves similarly when cooked, and it's what we tend to keep on hand. Otherwise, I didn't make any significant changes to the recipe for the filling. However, Martha's accompanying recipe for pasta dough used all-purpose flour only. I've only made pasta using semolina flour in the past, and this struck me as odd. I was too lazy to find a book to get a proper dough recipe, so I just did a web search and used a recipe from allrecipes.com, which called for a combination of semolina and all-purpose flour. The only other change I made was that I thought I had fresh sage to put in the sauce as called for in the recipe, but when I took it out it had gone bad, so I just tossed the ravioli in butter before serving.
A couple of notes on lessons learned from doing this. First, stuffing the raviolis takes a long time. It took me an hour longer than I thought it would (about 90 minutes total) to finish this task, though part of that was working on perfecting my technique, as I tried several different methods to cut, fold, and seal the pasta. Second, the two recipes I combined here didn't quite match in quantity, and I used up my filling while I still had plenty of dough. This isn't a bad thing, since the leftover dough can easily be used to make some other type of pasta for use at another time. Third, buying semolina or other specialty flours in bulk can save you a lot of money. In the past, I would buy a little sack of semolina flour that would cost $4-$5. This was certainly a disincentive to making a lot of fresh pasta. However, I decided on a whim to check the bulk food section of our local Whole Foods, and they had bulk semolina for 1/2 the price they were selling it for on the shelf. This was an easy way to significantly reduce the cost of making my pasta. Finally, I hadn't ever thought of using my stand mixer to make pasta dough before. Every recipe I had tried called for it to be kneaded by hand on the counter, and that's what I had always done. While I was searching for a dough recipe, I found a few that referenced using a stand mixer. I decided to give it a try, and I was really happy with how the dough turned out. It was a lot less work than hand kneading, and certainly made a lot less of a mess.
Jess's parents joined us for dinner the night I served these, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed them. The flavor of the mushrooms came through nicely, the pasta had a great texture, and not a single ravioli exploded while cooking. I had been a bit concerned about just serving these with butter, rather than making a proper pasta sauce, but it worked fine, and I think a more strongly flavored sauce, such as a tomato-based sauce, would have obscured the flavor. I really had fun making these, and I'm already thinking about what my next ones will be filled with.
A note from Fearless Kitchen: FG doesn't know about blogging events. I'm therefore submitting this entry of his to Presto Pasta Nights, which is organized by Ruth from 4EveryKitchen and is being hosted this week by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook. Thanks to Susan for hosting!
Mushroom Raviolis (Serves 4. Approx. Cost Per Serving Not Available)
- Pasta machine (optional but recommended)
- Biscuit cutter or pizza cutter
- Stand mixer (optional)
For the Dough
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups semolina flour
1 pinch salt
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Filling
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil (or more if you prefer)
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely shopped fresh parsley
2 pounds of baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and coarsely chopped (or substitute any mix of mushrooms)
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Sauce
Unsalted butter (enough to coat the amount of pasta you cook)
Fresh sage, chopped
Ground black pepper
- At least 90 minutes before you're ready to begin stuffing your raviolis, make your pasta dough. Using your stand mixer, add the flour to the bowl, add the salt, eggs, and olive oil, and, using your dough hook, mix on a low speed until the dough is smooth, firm, and dry. You don't want pasta dough to be at all sticky, or it will gum up your pasta machine when you try and roll it out. If it is too sticky, add more flour till it dries out. If it is too dry, add water, a small amount at a time, till the consistency is correct.
- Once your dough is ready, break it up into smaller pieces for running through the pasta machine. For this recipe, I broke mine into eight pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for about an hour.
- To make the filling, begin by adding the dried porcini mushrooms to the hot water, and let them soak for 1/2 hour or until soft. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.
- In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and cook for 1 minute more. Add the fresh and dried mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, and the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved soaking liquid, and cook until that evaporates, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl, allow to cool slightly, and stir in the cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Dust 2 large baking sheets with flour. Unwrap one of your pasta dough balls, flatten it with your hands, and run it through your pasta machine on the widest setting. Follow your machine's instructions for running the dough through on successively smaller settings until it is about 1/16" thick. Lay the finished sheet on a floured baking sheet.
- Place a teaspoon of filling on the pasta sheet. Using a large round biscuit cutter, cut out the ravioli. Moisten the edges of the pasta with water, fold over, and crimp the edges with a fork. Note that there are multiple methods of doing this, but I found that this one made the cleanest raviolis that held together with minimum effort. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Go for what gives you the shape and look you want. Lay the finished ravioli on the other baking sheet, and cover with a clean kitchen towel to prevent from drying out. Continue making your raviolis until you run out of filling.
- At this point, you can either freeze your ravioli until you are ready to use them, or cook them right away. To cook, place in boiling water for about 2 minutes for an al dente finish. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the water and put in a large bowl. Toss with butter and chopped sage, add black pepper to taste, and top with grated cheese.