Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nettle, Goat Cheese, and Wild Mushroom Ravioli

Here's the first thing I've done with nettles this year. They have a taste and texture that can be similar to spinach, so this seemed a natural choice.

Made up a batch of pasta dough. There's a bunch of recipes on the 'net, but pasta is basically just water, flour and eggs.

Still managed to screwed it up, of course. Not enough liquid. It was like kneading a brick. Also, thanks to a bike accident some years back I'm now partly bionic. It hasn't really hampered me but and kneading is about the only thing my shattered wrist really, really doesn't like to do. Well, that and pushups. But my wrist and I are in agreement on that one. So I tend not do much baking or anything that requires lots of kneading. But between the limit of my kneading abilities, my stand mixer, and my wife's capable hands we managed salvage some decent semolina pasta dough out of it. Stuck the ball of dough in the fridge to rest and worked on the filling.

The Filling

Into a Cuisinart went:
  • A cup of Ricotta from Seabreeze Farm
  • Two marinated crotins of my homemade Mushroom Marinated Goat Cheese (about 5 oz.)
  • A couple tablespoons of the marinated wild mushrooms from the jar
  • A cup of nettles, blanched first to remove sting, shocked and drained
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A dash of balsalmic
Blitzed to a nice texture, tasted and adjusted seasonings until it seemed ok.

Right. So I have to admit that I hate making raviolis and every time I do it I tell myself that I won't ever do it again. But eventually I fall off the wagon and find myself making another round of oddly shaped, floppy, leaky, and generally messy ravioli. This time would be different! But unlike all the other times, this one actually was.

This was due to three major differences. First, semolina flour in the dough made it a bit more stretchy and forgiving. Second, I managed to somehow inherit a ravioli crimper from my mother. Third, I used a pastry bag to fill the raviolis.

So I divided up the dough into four balls and got to rolling.

For the first set I had a brilliant idea. I would press parsley leaves into the dough before the last run through the pasta maker, creating a decorative leaf pattern in my pasta.

It looked great. I was excited.

Back to the drawing board. Total failure. The #6 setting just shredded the leaves up, though it did press them into the dough. So it wasn't a total loss.

Thus only 1/4 of the ravioli's had the Mark of the Beast on them, the rest were just normal pasta dough.

Once the pasta had been rolled out onto a floured work surface, I folded the long sheets of pasta over on themselves lengthwise, then trimmed off the ends to square things up.

Then it was just a matter of piping a tablespoon or so of filling in two rows down half the sheet of pasta.

Using a brush I put a little water around all the edges and between the fillings, then carefully laid the other half of the sheet over the top.

The next step is fairly important. You gently press down around the raviolis and try to press out as mush air from the pockets as possible, or it may expand and pop the ravioli during cooking.

Then run the ravioli crimper around and cut out the individual raviolis. There you go, 1/4 done! Transfer them to a floured cookie sheet in one layer and either freeze them or get ready to cook them. I froze about half and cooked half.

The Sauce

I had some wild mushrooms around, Hedgehogs and Black Trumpets, and they needed to be used ASAP. So I made a Brown Butter sauce similar to this one.

Sweated a large chopped shallot for a couple minutes, added the mushrooms until they started to give off liquid, then deglazed with 1/2 cup of white wine. Once the wine was cooked down I added a stick of butter and cooked till it browned. Finished with a bit too much lemon juice. Still good though.

To cook the ravioli, bring a gallon or more of salted water to boiling, then back just off the boil. Add the raviolis and cook until they float, about 1-2 minutes.

All in all I was pretty happy with this. Wish I had some better photos, the lighting in my kitchen is really quite terrible. I think if I had anything to change I might add a dash or two of red pepper flakes into the filling. Otherwise, it made enough ravioli for probably 8 servings and I've got some in the freezer for later. Pretty good use for an obnoxious weed!


Chloe said...

That's really pretty with the leaves in each square.


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