pasta

Short Rib and Mushroom Ravioli with Butternut Squash Pasta and Pinot-Sage Reduction

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This recipe has been floating around in my brain for almost a year now. It’s genesis was an entree that my wife had at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano. Their butternut ravioli was regular ravioli with a butternut filling. I got me thinking of ravioli with a butternut pasta filled with something hardy. For hardy, you don’t have to look any farther than short-ribs and their beefy goodness meshes perfectly with mushrooms.

My short-ribs were cooked Sous Vide. Again, I’m not trying to turn this blog into a Sous Vide blog, but this methods of cooking is one of my favorites. I allows me to cook at a precise temperature for an optimal time and perfectly control the doneness and the texture of the meat. I cooked my short-ribs for 24 hours at 185° F. This is a higher temperature than I would normally cook short-ribs, but I was looking for the fat and collagen to totally render and the meat to fall apart into individual fascicles.

Feel free to use a crockpot or simply braise your short-ribs. You will get similar results. Since I had the bath going, I threw the mushrooms and squash into the pool to cook at 185° F., as well, for 1 and 2 hours, respectively.

I make my own pasta. My normal ratio of egg to flour is one large egg for every 100 grams of flour. In this case, I omitted one egg since I was adding the puréed squash and it adds moisture. I used Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour. It is a fine grind flour and I find it does not have the heaviness of many whole wheat flours. If using a courser ground whole wheat flour, you may want to mix it half and half with AP flour.  I used my Kitchenaid pasta roller to make the Ravioli sheets and rolled it down to level 4.  I topped one sheet with balls of the short-rib filling, topped that with a second sheet and cut the raviolis with a large biscuit cutter.  if you have a ravioli cutter or press, all the better.  If you are unfamiliar with making pasta, in general, or ravioli, in specific, there are numerous YouTube videos waiting to help.  This was my first attempt at ravioli and they turned out well.

I used the juice from the short-ribs as the base for my sauce and topped it off with a dry Pinot Noir. Any good, dry red wine will work.  You don’t need much sauce.  Reduction is the key to intensifying flavor.  The revioli was plated with a smear of the horseradish/crème fraiche below the raviolis and sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano, breadcrumps and sage above.

The below will make around 4 servings.  This is a good fall or winter dish.  Serve it with a side salad and a glass of the left-over Pinot Noir . . . better buy a second bottle to make sure you have enough.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Boneless Short Ribs
  • 1/2 cup small, fresh crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juices from SV bags plus red wine to total 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the Pasta:
    • 10 oz. butternut squash, cube
    • 300 grams whole wheat flour
    • 2 large eggs
  • For Plating:
    • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
    • 2 Tbsp fresh horseradish
    • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • Panko breadcrumbs
    • Chiffonade of Sage

Directions:

  1. Prepare Sous Vide bath to 1855° F.
  2. Salt and Pepper Short-Ribs and vacuum seal is a FoodSaver bag. Place in Sous Vide bath for 24 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, vacuum seal cubed butternut squash in a FoodSaver bag and add to Sous Vide bath for 2 hours of cooking.  You can do this in advance of the final two hours in preparation for making the pasta.
  4. Vacuum seal mushrooms, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a FoodSaver bag and add to Sous Vide bath for the final hour of cooking.
  5. After the squash has cooked for 2 hours, remove the squash from the bath, unbag and puree in a blender or food processors adding water as necessary.  Set aside to cool.
  6. Either manually or in a mixer, combine the flour, eggs, and pureed squash, adding water as necessary, and knead to create a smooth elastic dough.  Create a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  7. After 24 hours, remove the short-ribs from the bath and remove from the bag to a cutting board to cool.  Reserve the juices for the sauce.
  8. Remove the mushrooms from the bath, unbag and split in half.  Chop one half finely and set aside for the ravioli filling.  Slice the other half and set aside for the sauce.
  9. After the short-ribs have cooled, shred the meat and roughly chop.
  10. Mix the finely chopped mushrooms imto the chopped meat.
  11. In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, heat the olive oil and butter.
  12. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes,
  13. Add shallots to the pan and cook until they are becoming translucent, 3-4 minutes
  14. Add garlic and cook of 1 minute more
  15. Add SV bag juices, red wine and sage to the pan and reduce by 3/4s, 10-15 minutes. Strain out the mushrooms. shallots, garlic, and sage and season to taste.
  16. Start a large pan of water to boil over high heat.
  17. Meanwhile roll out the pasta dough.  Place small balls of the short-rib/mushroom mixture on one layer of pasta spacing appropriately for your ravioli cutter.  Brush water around the filling on the bottom layer of pasta and top with a second layer of pasta.  Press pasta together around the filling and cut the raviolis.
  18. Cook the raviolis in the boiling water for 3 minutes or until done.  Fresh pasta does not take long to cook.
  19. Mix an equal amount of crème fraîche and horseradish.  Smear a small amount on each plate as a base for the raviolis.
  20. Place 3-5 raviolis on each plate, depending on the size of the raviolis.
  21. Top raviolis with cheese, breadcrumbs and reserved chiffonade of sage.
  22. Enjoy.
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Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

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Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna
Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

This adventure started with a Mushroom and Burrata Lasagnette recipe by Alison Roman published in the October 2015 issue of Bon Appetit. Ms. Roman admits her recipe is “indulgent” and, I am sure, delicious, but what I was going for is something much lower in fat and healthier. I not only want to “live a little,” but live a little longer.

Gone is the butter and olive oil. Gone is the heavy cream. In place of the heavy cream, I used a cauliflower cream (basically pureed cauliflower). If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the cauliflower cream, substitute back in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. In place of the burrata, I used mozzarella. I am sure the extra creaminess of the burrata adds to the decadence, but would get lost in the lasagnette. For added nutrition, I added spinach to the recipe.

The other major change is the serving size. As published, the recipe indulgently serves 2 people. I used a little larger casserole dish and it yielded 6 large servings.

You can use dried lasagna noodles. Simply cook them until al dente according to package instructions before assembling the lasagna. I have sworn off store-bought pasta in favor of homemade. It’s really not that difficult to make and the taste and texture is far superior its store-bought relative. I used Bob’s Red Mill 100% stone ground whole wheat organic flour for the pasta. Bob’s Red Mill flour is ground finely enough to give you light, delicate pasta even using 100% whole wheat.

Ingredients:
2 pounds mixed mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup fat-free ricotta
1/4 cup cauliflower cream
1/4 fresh nutmeg, grated
2 tsp. fresh thyme
14 oz frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 fresh lasagna noodles (about 10 x 4 inches)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 425°.
2) Add mushrooms to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.
3) Add shallot, wine and rosemary and again cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has been absorbed, about 5-10 minutes.
4) Combine ricotta, cauliflower cream, nutmeg and thyme in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
5) Working in batches, cook fresh lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 30 seconds.
6) Spread a thin layer of ricotta mixture in a 10 x 8 x 3 casserole dish and top with a 2 lasagna noodles side by side. Spread a large spoonful of ricotta mixture over pasta, layer with 1/6 of the mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella. Top evenly with 1/6 of the Parmesan. Repeat layering process 5 more times finishing with the last of the Parmesan and grinding on fresh pepper, to taste.
7) Cover casserole with foil and bake until warmed through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
8) Let cool at least 5 minutes and serve.