Saturday, 18 October 2014

Autumn ravioli

A little while back I got some feedback from one of the readers via blog's Facebook page. Apparently ravioli are a total waste of time. And pelmenis take far too much work, too. I would like to point out that neither of the recipes he'd used were mine...

I couldn't agree less. I genuinely believe that making one's own pasta from the scratch is one of the best things one can do in the kitchen. Well, if one is not seeking culinary inspiration from 9 1/2 weeks, that is...

And once you've got the right tools, it's easy, too. The situation has dramatically improved since the first time I made pasta int he form of these spinach and ricotta-ravioli. Now I've got a digital scale that measures the flour perfectly, a food processor that prepares the dough and to top it all off a pasta machine. And not a carpal tunnel syndrome in sight!

If making pasta sheets form scratch isn't your thing however, you can use fresh lasagne sheets. And I've heard store-bought wonton wrappers make for a great shortcut too!

And to make things even more convenient, apples, sage and mushrooms were all courtesy of my colleagues' harvest. Oh, I'm spoiled. Instead of good pork sausages you can use ground pork too in which case you might need a bit more fennel and sage. Though, if your sausages are very strong, you might not need to add them at all. Owing to the fattiness of the sausage meat the ground pork version tends to be a bit drier.

For pasta recipe please see here. I made mine with 300 g of flour, but the eggs I used were smaller, so in addition to the 3 eggs I also used an extra yolk. Just listen to the dough, it will tell you if it's too dry and needs more eggs. I used am 8-centimetre diameter glass and got 32 ravioli.

Knead the dough so it's smooth and elastic, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge while you prepare the filling.


300 g good pork sausages (without the casing) or ground pork
200 g wild mushrooms 
1 large shallot
7 sage leaves (finely chopped a little under 3 tsp)
1 apple, peeled, cored and cubed (100 gr)
1,5 tsp fennel seeds, gently toasted and ground
salt, black pepper
pinch of nutmeg (or allspice)

Fry mushrooms on a hot, dry pan until the moisture has evaporated and they start getting a bit of colour. Toss in a small knob of butter and move aside. Leave half for serving and roughly chop the rest.

Peel, core and dice the apple to small cubes. Fry in a bit of butter until golden and move aside. 

Peel and finely chop the onion. Sauté in a bit of butter. Add into the pan the pork and brown. Then add fennel, sage and rest of the ingredients. Check the taste and season as needed. Let cool.

Divide the ravioli dough in 4 and keep remaining segments covered while working on one. Run it through the pastamachine using the biggest setting (mine was 7 according to instructions of the machine (mine suggest repeating this 5-6 times). Lightly dust with flour between each round if needed. Then turn the dial don a notch, run the dough through and turn it down again. Repeat until you've got the right thickness (I finished after setting no 2). Spoon the filling ( a little less than 1 tbsp) on the sheet leaving enough space in between. Repeat halfway up the sheet. Brush the edges and space between the filling with water or leftover eggwhite and fold the other half on top of the filling. Pinch the dough firmly around the filling making sure there's no air and cut into desired shapes. Place on a gently floured surface and cover with tea towel until all the ravioli are done and ready to go into the pot.

Depending in the texture (and flour content) you can work the leftover pasta dough into one more sheet. Not for a third round though as the dough starts to get too dry by then. 

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and cook ravioli until done (about 3 minutes). Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and serve with the remaining mushrooms. And some toasted pine nuts should you have some. Perhaps with some browned sage and garlic-butter, too..?




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