Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Food Network Canada's April Cooking Club Challenge is Laura Calder's Mushroom Ravioli. Now for those of you outside Canada, Laura Calder is a fabulous Food Network star who is based in France, but comes to Canada every summer to make her show French Food at Home. Having little experience with cooking French food, I love her show because she makes it all seem so easy and manageable. This recipe is very simple too and I think a French twist on a classically Italian dish. I decided to use this challenge as an excuse to finally make my own pasta. I don't have a pasta machine and while I want one, it was quite easy to make this pasta by hand. In a effort to be more healthy after the month of grilled cheese indulgences, I made whole wheat pasta. While my pasta sheets aren't perfect shapes, I love how rustic they are and since the pasta was so easy to make I doubt how often I'll buy the box kind moving forward.
This dish should have come together quite easily, but as I was mid cooking I realized I forgot to defrost chicken stock and didn't pick up fresh thyme last time I was at the grocery store. Perfect reason why it's better when I plan ahead. A minor freak-out later, I made some quick substitutions that made for a nice dish. Laura's recipe didn't specify a type of mushroom so I chose to use King Oyster Mushrooms. I chose them because I have never cooked with them before and have also heard that they are very meaty. The boy doesn't always go for a vegetarian meal, so I figured my best chance for success with this one was an nice meaty mushroom. Also instead of using the brown butter sauce, I made my own lemon cream sauce. The ravioli recipe below is how I made them, with a link to Laura's original recipe.
Whole Wheat Pasta (no machine necessary)
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
approx 1/2 cup of water
1. Mix together the salt & flour. Make a well in the center and break the eggs into it. Using a fork, start to scramble the eggs and slowly start to incorporate the flour into the eggs.
2. Once the eggs have been Incorporated into the flour, start to add water one Tbsp at a time, kneading the dough as you go, until all the flour is incorporated. I used 7 Tbsp of water, but use whatever it takes to get a nice smooth dough.
3. Flour your countertop or a large cutting board and the ball of dough. Start to roll out the pasta into a large rectangle. When you notice the dough starting to spring back, let it rest for about 10 minutes. You'll need to let it rest at least 3 or 4 times if you want to get your dough nice and thin.
4. Once it is rolled out cut into desired shape, for a rustic linguine carefully roll the dough into a jelly roll shape and slice using a sharp knife, use flour to keep the pasta from sticking together. I cut my piece into 12 squares for use in the ravioli.
adapted from Laura Calder at foodtv.ca
1-1/2 pounds of king oyster mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
2 Tbsp butter
A splash of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to season
A generous 1/2 cup of white wine
A generous handful of finely grated truffled Pecorino Romano, more for garnish
2 Tbsp dried thyme
8 sheets of whole wheat pasta (approx. 3 x 4 inch)
1. Cut the mushrooms into a 1/2" dice. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta.
3. Add a splash of olive oil and the butter to a sauté pan. Set the pan on high heat, and add the mushrooms, sautéing until slightly coloured. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the mushrooms are soft, approx. 4 minutes more.
4. Pour over the wine and boil to reduce to 2 tablespoons. Stir in the cheese. Taste, check the seasonings, adding a squirt of lemon juice if you like. Stir in the thyme and keep the mixture warm while you cook the pasta.
5. Generously salt the pasta water once it's boiling. Add the pasta and cook al dente. Drain.
6. Lay a sheet of pasta on each of four serving plates. Spoon the mushrooms onto the pasta. Top with a second pasta sheet. Drizzle over the cream sauce (see below). Garnish with more cheese, and serve immediately.
Lemon Cream Sauce
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 shallot - minced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp lemon zest - packed
1/2-3/4 cup half & half - at room temp
2 Tbsp butter
salt & pepper
1. Heat oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add in shallots and saute until soft and translucent. Sprinkle in flour and mix together to make a roux.
2. Pour the half & half in, whisking constantly to combine. Add in lemon zest and butter and stir to melt. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
This was a lovely and very filling lunch, the boy gobbled his up and really seemed to like it. I enjoyed it too, the mushrooms have great flavor and using the wine instead of stock gave the whole dish a sweet undertone that was very nice. I was impressed with how well my homemade pasta turned out and am glad I went for whole wheat with this dish as it added even more depth and flavor. I will make sure next time I have fresh thyme to cook with the mushroom and will also try drizzling the dish in the sage brown butter recommended, since it is one of my faves.
Check out how everyone else fared over at the Food Network Canada Food for Thought Blog, they'll be up after the first of the month. Enjoy!