Thursday, June 24, 2010

Morel Mushroom Ravioli


My mother recently made a visit out to my brother & his family, in Jackson Hole Wyoming. It's morel mushroom hunting season out there & she came home with a container for me. I love morels. But, I have never had the opportunity to cook with them fresh before. So, I was pretty excited.
The problem was, I had no idea what to do with them! I wanted to make something, where they would be the highlight of the dish & not overpowered by any other flavors. I scrolled around the Internet looking for some inspiration. What stood out for me the most was the idea of making some mushroom ravioli. None of the recipes I saw really appealed to me much. So, I came up with my own, using snippets of ideas from this & that.
Another inspiration, was my wanting to finally crack open my pasta machine, which I have probably owned for 10 years & never used. This was my first time making homemade pasta...and, while time consuming...it was super easy! So easy, I wondered why it's taken me so long. Our raviolis came out very rustic, as I had both the Bozos in the kitchen helping me out.

To begin, you need to make some pasta dough.
Add 2 cups of flour & 1 teaspoon of salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse it a few times to combine. Then, add in 2 whole eggs & 3 egg yolks & process until a ball begins to form.

Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface & knead into a ball, or disc. Cover with plastic wrap & let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, you will need 9 ounces of fresh morel mushrooms. Of course, if you are unable to find them, the dried variety will work. Just reconstitute them in hot water before using.
Cut the morels in half & swish them around in a bath of cold water to release any grit.

When they are thoroughly clean, remove them from the water & drain. Then, you will need a 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh tarragon,

and a 1/4 cup of minced shallot.

Heat the butter in a skillet, over medium heat & add the shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they are softened & translucent. Add the mushrooms, a sprinkle of salt & freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have sweat out all of their liquid {about 10-12 minutes}. Add a 1/4 cup of dry white wine & let it simmer, for a couple minutes, or until it is absorbed. Add the tarragon, cook for one more minute. Remove from the heat & let cool to room temperature.

Finely chop the mushroom mixture. Add it to a mixing bowl, along with 1 1/2 cups of {drained} ricotta, 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano,

1 egg & a pinch of nutmeg. Season with salt & pepper,

and stir to combine. Clamp a pasta machine to the counter & lightly flour the rollers & a work surface. Remove about a third of the dough from the ball & keep the rest wrapped up. Dust the dough lightly with flour & shape it into a rectangle. Pass it through the machine 2-3 times, on its widest setting. Dust the dough lightly, as you work, if it gets sticky.

Set the machine one notch smaller & roll the dough through another 2-3 times. Continue doing this, going down one notch at a time, dusting with flour as you go, until you reach one setting less than the lowest. The lowest setting makes it a bit to thin to handle.

Dust a work surface with cornmeal & have a small bowl of water nearby. Lay out 2 sheets of your prepared pasta dough. They should be roughly the same size, but they don't need to be perfect. On one of the sheets, mound small scoops of the filling into the center of the sheet, spacing them an inch, or so, from the end & apart from each other. How many raviolis you get out of each sheet depends on how large it is. Dip your finger in the water & moisten the edges of the dough, around each mound of filling. Take the second sheet of dough & lay it on top. Press gently around each mound of filling to seal the edges.

Using a pizza wheel, or a sharp knife, cut each ravioli into a square...or, use a ravioli, or biscuit cutter, to make circles. Lay the finished ravioli onto a cornmeal dusted sheet pan & cover with a kitchen towel, or plastic wrap. Continue the process, keeping them well dusted with cornmeal, to keep them from sticking to each other, or the pan.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently drop in the ravioli, one at a time & simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the top.
Using a spider strainer, remove them from the pot & transfer to a serving plate. These ravioli have huge flavor & need nothing more than a light drizzle of melted butter, some fresh pepper & a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Morel Mushroom Ravioli

Inspired by a multitude of different sources
Makes 2 dozen raviolis

Note: If you can't find fresh morels, you can use
reconstituted dried morels, or any variety of fresh mushrooms. Morels are very gritty & can contain anything from dirt to pine needles in them. So, I recommend breaking the rule that some chefs have, to never wash mushrooms in water. I also recommend slicing them in half before washing, to get any dirt lodged in the centers out.
I used fresh homemade ricotta cheese, which is much drier in texture than store bought. If you decide to make your own, you can skip the draining part of the recipe.


9 ounces fresh morel mushrooms
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 egg
1 1/2 ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
a pinch of nutmeg
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 recipe Fresh Egg Pasta {rolled through a pasta machine, into long, wide strips & covered with a towel, to prevent drying}
cornmeal, for dusting

Cut the morels in half & swish them around in a bath of cold water to release any grit. When they are thoroughly clean, remove them from the water & drain.
Heat the butter in a skillet, over medium heat & add the shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they are softened & translucent. Add the mushrooms, a sprinkle of salt & freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have sweat out all of their liquid {about 10-12 minutes}. Add the wine & let it simmer, for a couple minutes, or until it is absorbed. Add the tarragon, cook for one more minute. Remove from the heat & let cool to room temperature.
While the mushrooms are cooling, place the ricotta cheese in a fine mesh strainer & let it drain,
to remove excess moisture, for about 15 minutes.
To make the ravioli filling, finely chop the mushroom mixture. Add it to a mixing bowl, along with the ricotta, egg,
Parmigiano-Reggiano & nutmeg. Season with salt & pepper & stir to combine.
Dust a work surface with cornmeal & have a small bowl of water nearby. Lay out 2 sheets of your prepared pasta dough. They should be roughly the same size, but they don't need to be perfect.
On one of the sheets, mound small scoops of the filling into the center of the sheet, spacing them an inch, or so, from the end & apart from each other. How many raviolis you get out of each sheet depends on how large it is. Dip your finger in the water & moisten the edges of the dough, around each mound of filling. Take the second sheet of dough & lay it on top. Press gently around each mound of filling to seal the edges. Using a pizza wheel, or a sharp knife, cut each ravioli into a square...or, use a ravioli, or biscuit cutter, to make circles.
Lay the finished ravioli onto a cornmeal dusted sheet pan & cover with a kitchen towel, or plastic wrap. Continue the process, keeping them well dusted with cornmeal, to keep them from sticking to each other, or the pan.
At this point, you can refrigerate, or freeze them, if desired. When ready to cook them, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently drop in the ravioli, one at a time & simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the top.
Using a spider strainer, remove them from the pot & transfer to a serving plate. These ravioli have huge flavor & need nothing more than a light drizzle of melted butter, some fresh pepper & a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Click here for the printable recipe.

Fresh Egg Pasta

Adapted from the How to Cook Everything cookbook, by Mark Bittman
Makes enough dough for 1 pound of pasta

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks

Add the flour & salt to the bowl of a food processor & pulse a few times to combine. Add the eggs & egg yolks & process until a ball begins to form. If the dough seems too dry, add a bit of water. If it's very wet & sticking to the bowl, add a bit more flour. Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface & knead into a ball, or disc. Cover with plastic wrap & let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Clamp a pasta machine to the counter & lightly flour the rollers & a work surface. Remove about a third of the dough from the ball & keep the rest wrapped up. Dust the dough lightly with flour & shape it into a rectangle. Pass it through the machine 2-3 times, on its widest setting. Dust the dough lightly, as you work, if it gets sticky. Set the machine one notch smaller & roll the dough through another 2-3 times. Continue doing this, going down one notch at a time, dusting with flour as you go, until you reach one setting less than the lowest. The lowest setting makes it a bit to thin to handle.
Lay the sheets of pasta out on baking pans that have been dusted with flour & cover them with kitchen towels, or plastic wrap, to keep the dough from drying out. At this point you can cut the pasta into the shape you desire, or pass it through one of the settings on the machine, for spaghetti, or f
ettuccine. Or, you can leave it in sheets, for things like lasagne, or ravioli.
Click here for the printable recipe.

7 comments:

Magdalena said...

They had to be delicious! Here, the season is finished already, so I will have to wait for the next one. Great step by step show - it takes a lot of time!

kate said...

Magdalena~
Thanks! This was a long recipe & a long post! It took me over a week to finally get it finished, as it has so many steps.
Next season, try these for sure! They were unbelievable.

Joanne said...

I made homemade pasta for the first time about a month ago and it was so easy, I couldn't believe I'd never done it before! These look fantastic. I love morels but they are way too expensive for me to buy. Better start foraging!

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

These sound yummy! I love fresh pasta!!!

Johanna said...

I'm tend to get a little crazy over morels. We find them in the Spring, here in Kentucky. I like mine on pizza or stir fried with kale, garlic and toasted sesame seeds. Yum.

Zoe said...

This looks fantastic. Now all I need is a pasta maker!!

Kasey said...

Just came across your blog--gorgeous! I absolutely adore morel mushrooms (too bad they are so hard to come by!). I find that they really elevate pasta dishes. Must give this ravioli a try!

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