Archive for the ‘Mains’ Category

Unfortunately, I do not presently have any pictures to go with this one (taking pictures of my food is a rather new thing for me), but next time I get around to making this, I’ll take pictures and update (and I actually do plating and everything rather well with this one).

This is probably the most complicated recipe I have. It’s not complicated because it’s difficult though, so don’t get intimidated by the idea of trying it. It’s complicated because to do it in its entirety, it involves multiple steps and at least a day in advance to start everything. But, most of that time is actually in making the sauce, if you want to just do the ravioli without the sauce, then you can do that too.

I’ve broken this down as much as I could think to be able to. Hopefully it’s simplified enough for everyone, but if you have any questions about any of it, feel free to ask, and I’ll try to answer.

Needed Supplies/Tools:

  • Plastic wrap
  • Parchment
  • Rolling pin or pasta machine (if you plan on doing pasta often, I strongly suggest looking on Amazon and getting a pasta machine)
  • Pastry brush
  • Fork
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Knife and/or Pizza cutter
  • Ravioli tray or small ice-cube tray
  • Sifter
  • Food processor, or blender, or a lot of muscle and a masher
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Bowls
  • Pots
  • Frying pans
  • Strainer

Ravioli Pasta Dough

Needed Ingredients (all ingredients should be at room temperature):

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (plus about 1 cup for use as needed)
  • 2 eggs, 4 yolks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • About 1 cup water for use as needed

What to do:

  • Separate you yolks (save the whites, you’ll need them later), and beat the yolks with the eggs thoroughly while mixing in the salt.
  • Lay out the parchment on your work surface. Sift the flour on the parchment area in a mound and make a hollow in the middle, try to keep your walls thick and solid (or you’ll have a mess).
  • Slowly pour the egg mix into the hollow. Don’t over-flow it, if you need to, only pour a little at a time, and then mix some of the flour in from the bottom of the hollow with a fork until the egg mix becomes more manageable. Then re-create your hollow, and continue pouring. Repeat this method until the egg mix is completely pored in.
  • Using both hands, work the flour into the paste, and begin kneading until the dough has a firm but slightly elastic consistency and no longer changes shape when you remove your hands. If the ingredients cannot be easily worked, add a little water (only a little, don’t drown it), then lightly brush flour over the surface of the dough (just enough to keep the dough from sticking to everything, but no more, or you’ll dry it out and have to add more water).
  • Cover with plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

My Ravioli Filling:

Needed Ingredients:

  • About 1 lb of your favorite ground meat. For this, I like to use a mild Italian ground beef that can be found at Kroger (it’s actually good enough, it could go on its own).
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon fresh oregano
  • Teaspoon course ground black pepper
  • Teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and broken
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic
  • Half a red bell pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

What to do:

  • Brown your meat
  • Mix everything together evenly
  • Throw in food processor until everything is finely ground.
  • Put it in a bowl with plastic around it until needed.

Bringing the Ravioli and the Filling Together:

Needed Ingredients:

  • The 4 egg whites from earlier
  • 4 teaspoons of water

What to do:

I’m going to give two ways to do this, since some may not wish to use a tray or just don’t have one on hand they can use.

Way #1

  • Cut the dough in half.
  • Roll out the dough as thin as you can get it.
  • Lay the dough out on the tray, gently tucking in into the slots.
  • Using a ½ teaspoon (or full teaspoon, depending on your slot size) as a scooper, tightly pack your filling, and place it in the slots.
  • Mix the water and egg whites together, and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the exposed dough.
  • Lay the second sheet of dough over the tray
  • Cut the pieces away with a knife or pizza cutter. With you fingers, press around the seal and remove any air bubbles. And gently pop the pieces out like you would ice-cubes.

Way #2 (can be a bit more pain staking, and it is technically tortellini, not ravioli)

Cut the dough in half or even in fourths to make the dough more manageable (if you’re using a pasta machine, you’re gonna really want to do this, or you’ll end up wishing you had a much longer table)

  • Roll out the dough as thin as you can get it.
  • Lay the dough out on your work space.
  • Mix the water and egg whites together, and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the dough.
  • Using a ½ teaspoon as a scooper, tightly pack your filling, placing the filling evenly on the dough giving it about an inch of space on all sides.
  • Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut away the squares (you may wish to do this one at a time until you get more comfortable with it—yes, it will be even more pain staking, but you’ll have it right).
  • How you fold them is up to you, but the way I prefer to do it is fold it diagonally from one corner to the other and make them into triangles, and cut away any excessive slack.

Cooking:

Needed Ingredients:

  • At least 1 quart of water for every 4 ounces of pasta (more is never bad, only less is)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt for ever 1 quart of water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil for every 1 quart of water (to keep pasta from sticking)
  • About 2+ tablespoons of butter (it will be best to just keep the butter out for quick grabbing of more)
  • 1 table spoon of sliced sage

What to do (two parts):

Part #1

  • Add the salt, oil, and the water together and bring it to a rolling boil (you may need to turn the heat down to keep from boiling-over, but you must keep the water at state of bubbling).
  • Put in ravioli and let it sit. The water’s boiling will do most of the stirring for you, but you may wish to stir it a bit yourself as well for the sake of rotating the pasta from the bottom.
  • When the pasta reaches the state of al dente (when it feels soft to the touch but is very slightly resistant and firm in the center when bitten into), drain quickly into a strainer.

Part #2

  • In a pan over medium heat put in butter until it just starts to brown.
  • Toss in a few ravioli until coated.
  • Sprinkle the sage and toss again to evenly distribute.
  • Repeat as needed until done.

If you do not wish to make a sauce, you can just as easily eat the ravioli with nothing more than some melted butter and grated parmesan.

Wild Mushroom Demi-glace Cream Sauce:

Demi-glace (I’m going to give you the simple Julia Child “semi-demi-glace” version, but this still takes at least half a day to make, so give yourself time for this part—in the end you will realize why I also recommend using this to replace everything that calls for beef broth):

Needed ingredients:

  • 2 quarts of beef stock
  • (optional, but advised for thicker stocks) 2 tablespoons of red wine.

What to do:

  • In a large saucepan, bring stock to a boil adding in the wine.
  • Turn the heat down to low and allow simmering until the stock has reduced to about 1-2 cups. Remove any scum that rises to the surface as it simmers with a slotted spoon (with some lighter broths, you may not need to do this much at all).
  • Strain into an air-tight storage container.

The Sauce

Needed ingredients (strongly advised that you have everything pre-measured and ready before starting anything, since this will be largely on a high heat and can burn easily if not watched):

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thickly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup red wine (or another ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, I tend to prefer the sweetness of the balsamic over the wine, but either works)
  • 1 cup demi-glace
  • ½ cup heavy cream

What to do:

  • In a large sauté pan over high heat, add olive oil.
  • Add the red onion and sauté until tender. Season with salt and red peppers.
  • Add the mushrooms and bay leaf and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  • Deglaze the pan with the balsamic (the first ¼ cup—highly recommended that the area is ventilated for this part and/or you have the exhaust fan turned on… vaporized acid kinda burns the eyes a bit).
  • Add the parsley and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the red wine (or the second ¼ cup vinegar) and demi-glace and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the cream and stir to combine.
  • Simmer for another few minutes or until the sauce coats the back of the spoon.