I went for a quick a wander to the market on Sunday in the blazing sunshine (first outing in shorts so far) and found some wonderfully fresh local mushrooms for the fresh ravioli I had in the back of my head… Some asparagus and fresh vine tomatoes, a few herbs and a poussin (baby chicken) filled up the basket and sent me trotting home smugly. The plan for the afternoon? Fresh ravioli!
Wild Mushroom and Chicken Ravioli
There are a few sections to this and it might take some time, so I’ll break it down to make it a little easier… (for us both)
– ravioli filling
– the pasta
– the sauce
– putting it all together
Finely chop up 100g of wild mushrooms (whatever you can find -I found Chanterelles) and cook with a little butter, oil and finely diced onion/garlic. When cooked, leave to cool somewhere out of the way. Meanwhile, blend 100g of chicken breast with 1 egg until it looks like a paste, adding 2 tablespoons of double cream (3oml or so) as you blend. Once firm, mix with the mushrooms and leave to rest while you take on the pasta…
No need to be scared of fresh pasta. It can be a bit of a nuisance, and very time consuming, but it makes pasta feel a little bit special (as opposed to the quick fix dinner it has become in the UK).
On a large flat surface, make a mound out of 250g OO grade flour and crack in an egg. Using your fingers, mix them together, trying to keep the well in the middle. Add a second egg and keep mixing until you have something that looks like this (if needs be, add more flour/egg until you get to something like this):
When you’re looking roughly dough-like, work it with your hands, turning the dough over and over, until it feels smooth (10 mins should do it). Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge while you take a well deserved 30 minute break.
Putting it together
After your beer/wine/tea break, throw some flour on that big table and remove the pasta from the fridge. Roll your pasta out until it is as thin as you can possibly make it. (I try to make it so that it’s pretty much see-thru) Rolling pins work, but take effort and time. Wine bottles are the same but slightly more tricky. If you have a pasta machine, even better. Simply work the dough through the levels until it reaches the thinnest one. (I found out my machine had broken so had to use the rolling pin approach, much to Sarah’s annoyance.)
Once you have lovely flat sheets of pasta, grab something circular and make some casings for the ravioli. Take the filling from the cool place and place a small dollop (what a great word) in the middle. Fold one side over and crimp the edges using your fingers/a fork. I found a ravioli shaper which works a treat! Hey presto, fresh ravioli! Place in a pan of salted hot water and cook for about 6 mins.
Take some more of the mushrooms and cook with more onion/garlic. Once softened and looking good, add and a little chicken stock (a few tablespoons), a squeeze of lemon and a splash of white wine – reduce down until it looks like just mushrooms, onion and garlic! Bang in some cream (couple of tablespoons) and a big handful of fresh parsley then place over the drained ravioli with a few shavings of Parmesan.
(A big Thank You goes to the guys who replaced the pasta machine this week!)
(Make sure you get the best flour you can find. Mine came from an Italian deli close by, and cost as much as a bottle of Whisky. That was my fault for being an idiot though – most supermarkets have it now.)