We’re Cooking: Ravioli

May not sound too exciting…but trust me, it was a major accomplishment, with a little back story.  Christmas 2009 I gave Gary a Kitchen Aid (romantic, I know, but he wanted one) with a pasta attachment, but I guess that attachment made angel hair and linguine and spaghetti, but not long sheets for lasagna or ravioli, hence Gary hadn’t ever made pasta.  So for Valentine’s Day I gave him the pasta rolling machine (I know…romance in kitchen tools) and Saturday night we decided it was time to make pasta. 

Ravioli to be exact, filled with home-made ricotta  that I changed just slightly from my last recipe using Champagne vinegar instead of white, and whole milk.  The whole milk did result in a creamier cheese, but the flavor vs. the lower fat version was pretty comparable.  We also topped the ricotta with a bit of truffle paste….delicious. 

I am saying “we” but this was really Gary’s show…as he made a perfect pasta, and then a stunning mushroom, red wine and cream sauce to top the pillows of ravioli in pure decadence.  The process is a bit time-consuming, but the result gives a true sense of accomplishment when done, and then you get to eat!

We paired our earthy mushroom and truffle rich ravioli with an amazing earthy Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Domaine Serene that I had been holding for a few years.  2003 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee Pinot Noir, filled with aromas that reminded me of a forest floor with elegant earthiness and incredible balance giving way to blackberry, black cherry and herbal flavors with a long, savory finish. 

Oregon Pinot Noir has a layer of earthiness that I think is a perfect match for any mushroom dish, much like the classic Burgundy, which adds great depth to the pairing.  Domaine Serene is one of the best in Willamette, with great dedication to allowing the terrior of the valley to shine. 

Recipe:

Home Made Ravioli with Ricotta and Truffle, with a Mushroom, Red Wine and Cream Sauce
Ingredients:
For the Ravioli dough:
3 cups flour + additional for dusting
4 large eggs
1  tablespoons water + additional if needed

For the Ravioli filling:
1 1/2 cups ricotta with 1 tablespoon each fresh parsley and fresh thyme stirred in
1/2 cup truffle paste

Preparation:
To make the pasta, either by hand or with a mixer combine the ingredients together, folding everything together for about 1 minute; then begin kneading the dough making sure all ingredients are fully blended together, about 2 minutes in a mixer, then pour out onto a counter top and knead by hand for about 2 minutes forming a ball.  If the dough is too tough add a bit of water…just a bit though, you don’t want a wet dough.  (If doing by hand about 5 minutes total).  Allow to rest for about 15 minutes.  After the dough has rested cut the dough in half, then in half again and roll out slightly on a floured surface.  When the dough is thin enough to begin rolling it through the pasta machine begin feeding it through, decreasing the size of the feed each time (our machine went from “1” setting to a “6” setting to get to the thickness – or thinness – we wanted for the pasta.)  It took us about 7  feeds through the machine, creating a long thin rectangle piece of dough.  Set this piece aside and repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough.  We opted to make about 16 very large ravioli instead of many small ones, so each guest for our dinner that night would get 2 with a few extras. 

When the dough is rolled out, lay one of the sheets on the counter and begin to fill, spacing the filling out about an inch and a half between each spoonful.  I used about a tablespoon of ricotta cheese on each one, with about 1/2 teaspoon of truffle paste on top.  The truffle is so rich it shouldbe used sparingly.   After the filling is on the pasta dough brush around each mound of filling with water to help the top layer of pasta stick to the bottom.  Carefully lay another piece of pasta dough on top of the first and carefully press out any air pockets.  Then cut and trim each ravioli to your desired shape, and crimp the edges well to ensure the ravioli doesn’t pop open when cooking.  Lay each ravioli out on a parchment lined baking sheet until ready to cook.  When ready to cook fill a pasta pot with water and salt generously to flavor the dough.  Once the water comes to a boil gently lay 2 -3 ravioli at a time in the water and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  (The pasta takes no time to cook.) Drain well and lay each ravioli out on a large serving platter, awaiting the sauce. 

For the Sauce:
1  tablespoons butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves roasted garlic, minced
3/4 pound chopped fresh mushrooms, we used shiitake
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil + 1 teaspoon for garnish
1 1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup cream or half and half (we used fat-free half and half, the flavor was great)
2 tablespoons marscapone
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Preparation:
In a large saute pan heat the oil over medium and add the onions and roasted garlic and begin cooking.  When the onions are slightly translucent add the mushrooms.  Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the fresh herbs, salt and pepper and wine and cook until the wine has reduced by 1/2.  Lower heat and stir in the cream and marscapone.  Once the cream is heated through and the marscapone has melted the sauce is ready.  If you are making ahead prepare to the place that the wine has been reduced, then set aside.  When ready to serve bring the sauce back up to medium temp and stir in the cream and marscapone right before serving.  Spoon over the cooked ravioli and top with parmesan a garnish of fresh basil.

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