Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Red Wine Ravioli

Well, summer is here, the sun is shining, holy crap it's hot out even in Minnesota, and it's time to pluck fresh herbs from our garden, buy produce from the Midtown Farmer's Market (how we missed it) and make pasta from scratch. A lot.

After making quite a lot of linguine and farfalle, we decided to try an elusive shape we'd never tried before: the mysterious ravioli...

Red Wine Ravioli

about 2 cups durum semolina flour
about 1 cup bread flour
3 medium eggs
red wine as needed
15 mushrooms
1 red shallot
olive oil
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
hefty pinch oregano
small handful chopped basil

Music Listened To
chances are we put an iPod on shuffle and enjoyed whatever ridiculous thing came out


Step 1: The Pasta. Pile a mixture of semolina and bread flour on a clean counter top and make a well in the middle. Crack your eggs into the well, taking care not to let it spill over the edge. Use a fork to break the yolks and mix them.

Very, very carefully, start to incorporate the flour from the edges of the well into the mixture, bolstering your walls as necessary. If it breaches (which it usually has when we do it) it's OK - just stop the egg from spilling all over the place and bring it back in its place (we did say this should be a clean counter top). Now, this will probably start to get pretty dry once everything gets mixed together, so this is where the wine comes in. Just give it a little glug every time it isn't holding together. I wouldn't go more than a quarter cup (if that), but do not fear the wine. If you're especially avid, you could even replace one or two of the eggs with an equivalent amount of wine.

Once it's mixed and the dough holds together in one big lump, wrap it up in plastic and throw it in the fridge for about an hour.

Step 2: The Rolling. This step really doesn't warrant much description, but it does take a heck of a lot of time. Divide the dough into two equal balls and roll it out (we went by hand with a rolling pin, but feel free to use a machine. If you're a wuss) until you have two 1 mm thick sheets of pasta. Don't just go by the thickness on one side - try to get it as even as possible.

Step 3: The Filling. Chop you shallot and mince your garlic. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the shallot. Saute for about 3-5 minutes, then add the garlic and finely chopped mushrooms. Add several glugs of wine - the mushrooms will just drink it up. After the wine is almost soaked up, add the herbs, salt, pepper and Parmesan and mix. You can leave it on low for a while if you like, but it's effectively ready to go once the cheese melts and is thoroughly mixed in.

Step 5: The Assembly. Lay out one of your pasta sheets on a cutting board and trim into the shape of a rectangle. Place about a teaspoon of filling in one corner, leaving about half an inch border from the edges. Place the next dollop also half an inch from the edges, a whole inch away from the first dollop. Continue adding dollops until you fill the rectangle with dollops, each separated by an inch, each no closer than about half an inch to the edge. Use a brush or your fingers to brush water onto the pasta that isn't covered by filling. This will help glue the ravioli together. Lay the other sheet on top. Gently use your fingers to form it into mounds over the dollops of filling.

Once you have all your pillows of filling set up, trim away the edges and cut the pasta into squares. Press the edges of the squares together to form a good seal (or else you may let water into your scrumptious filling).

Step 6: The Yummies. Put some water up to boil and prepare a sauce (I might suggest using the red wine sauce from my earlier post, although we just did a basic tomato marinara sauce).

Once the water is gently boiling, turn down the heat to medium or medium-high and drop in as much of the ravioli as will comfortably fit. We did ours in about two batches. You will be able to tell they're done once they're puffy and float to the surface. Scoop them out and put in the next batch.

At last, at long last, place ravioli in a bowl, slather with delicious sauce, and top with some freshly grated Parmesan.

Sorry to follow up all that typing with such a lousy photo of such a delicious dish. This is probably the first homemade pasta we ever made completely forsaking a recipe. While this sounds like a lot of work (indeed, it is more work than most of our recipes), it's honestly not as difficult as it sounds. The trickiest part is honestly just managing your time. This dish is more fun with a partner to help, but an adventurous sort could handle it on their own.

Have an excellent evening, and enjoy!

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