Mushroom Ravioli in Garden Herbs




Spiritual Reflections

Pagan Witchcraft


Who Is Starweaver?

Archive of Past Issues

Site Index

Blog: Starweaver's Corner


Although it's not by any means a "quick and easy" meal, I get a great deal of pleasure from occassionally making my own pasta at home and using it in creative ways. There's also nothing quite like simple, satisfying taste of fresh pasta made from nothing but semolina and water, cooked to a perfect texture, eaten the same day it's made.

Making your own pasta is best with a pasta machine and a helper to turn the crank. (Otherwise it's a three-handed job, which can be done with dexterity and a lot of practice, but is not an easy thing.) If you don't have a pasta machine, however, this recipe can be made by rolling out the dough with a rolling pin until it is as thin as you can make it and still handle it easily.

This is something you want to start a couple hours or more before you plan to eat. A Saturday afternoon kind of project.

The Filling

1/2 cup or so of mushrooms, preferable ones with intense flavor (porcini, morels, etc.)
1 bulb garlic, roasted
a pinch of red chili powder

Use a food processor or similar tool to blend the ingredients into a thick paste.

The Pasta

1 cup (or a bit more) durum semolina
warm water, as needed

Put the semolina in a bowl, and add the water gradually, incorporating it into the flour with your hands. When you can form the dough into a dense ball that doesn't crack but is not wet enough to be sticky, the dough is ready.

Sprinkle the work surface with semolina flour and set up the pasta machine. Divide the dough into a couple smaller balls. With the pasta machine set at the lowest (thickest) setting, run one ball of pasta through several times. Increase the setting one notch at a time, running the pasta through once or twice at each setting. When it becomes awkwardly long, divide it with a nice and continue, running both pieces through at each consecutive setting. I usually stop at 6 or sometimes 5 if it seems to be stretching unevenly.

Filling the Ravioli

Place small daubs of filling on one sheet of the pasta. My pasta machine came with a ravioli cutting contraption that makes the scalloped edges and cuts ravioli of uniform size. I use this to very lightly mark the sheet in the pattern it will be cut in, as a guide to placing the filling. If you don't have a ravioli cutter, just place the daubs of filling in a uniform pattern, with whatever spacing you like. Make sure the pasta sheet is large enough to extend beyond the edges of the ravioli, at least a quarter inch (more is better).

Using fingers dipped in water, wet the pasta slightly in between the daubs of filling. This will help seal the individual ravioli when you cut them out.

Gently lay the second pasta sheet on top of the first. With fingers, gently work to move air bubbles toward the edge of the sheets, where they can be expelled. If this doesn't work perfectly, it will not cause a huge problem.

If a hole develops in the pasta, you can sometimes mend it with a small scrap of pasta from the edge of the sheet, well-moistened and patted over the hole to seal it.

Now cut the ravioli using a ravioli cutter (a pizza cutter is a viable alternative, a sharp knife works if you have nothing else).

To dry the ravioli, I use aluminum foil scattered with some coarse corn meal. It's crucial that they are not on a surface where they can stick (to the surface or to each other). I keep an eye on them and move them around or turn them over to help them dry nicely without sticking.

You can take the leftover dough from the edges, form it into a ball, and process it again to make more ravioli. If you keep this up, there will be very little leftover pasta. (You might want to save it as a "tester" to judge the cooking time for the ravioli.) You should get 20 or more ravioli.

Leave the ravioli to dry until they are quite firm and are no longer tacky, a half hour or more.

The Herb Sauce

1 cup or so fresh garden herbs (I used equal parts oregano, basil, and parsley)
a small tomato, or a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil

It's best to make this while the water is heating to boil the ravioli. Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Chop the herbs and tomatoes coarsely and add to the olive oil. When the herbs wilt, reduce the heat to the lowest setting.

Cooking the Ravioli

Use your largest cooking pot, and lots of water. Salt the water with a tablespoon or two of salt. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add the ravioli, all at once or as quickly as you can manage. They should cook in a few minutes. Test by cutting a little piece off the enge of one, or by using a tester piece of pasta in the water. With practice, you can tell by how they look. I generally cook mine for five minutes or so.

Drain the ravioli and toss with the warm herb sauce. Serves two.

Ingredient Corner

Semolina is a hard, slightly coarse flour made from durum wheat. Do not use regular flour.

Porcini or morel mushrooms are usually sold dehydrated. Bring them back to life by pouring boiling water over them and letting them sit for half an hour. You can add some of the soaking water to the filling for extra flavor

From the Hearth is a regular feature of Starweaver's Gems from Earth and Sky

Copyright © 2008 Tom Waters