Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mushroom Ravioli...

Making your own ravioli isn’t a job for beginners, but the taste is well worth the effort.

You can see how this shot developed in the "how we did it" photos below.
Once the pasta is created, you can craft the stuffing – cheese, spinach and meat are all fine options, but mushrooms are the pièce de résistance. Don’t bother with a marinara or Arrabriata sauce for this recipe. A basic garlic and oil sauce, aglio olio in Italian, with a winning combination of fresh basil and chopped walnuts, topped with crushed red pepper, shows off the shape of the pasta and complements the mushroom flavor without overtaking it.

Lighting the set was fairly simple. We created a window-lit setting, by placing a large, soft light source on the right, slightly to the back. This light accentuated the beautiful highlights on the sauce that coated each square of pasta. Since the light was relatively close, the inverse square law (the power of the light will be inversely proportional to the square of the distance) was making the left side of the plate darker than we wanted. We brought in a small white card to bounce the light back and fill in the shadows.  At this point, the ravioli appeared somewhat flat and needed a enhancement.  From the back left, we brought in a small point source light to catch the rim of the pasta and add the ‘punch’ we were seeking.

The Stand-in:

Click to Expand


Handmade Ravioli

Try this easy recipe for 20+ ravioli. If you have a pasta machine, use it! If not, you can use a juice glass or espresso cup, turned upside down, to shape the ravioli, but a commercial ravioli press, form or stamp (see links below) will streamline the process.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup water
Extra flour for dusting
Cornmeal for dusting
Make the dough:

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl.

Whisk the eggs, oil and water in another bowl.

Combine using a wooden spoon; as it becomes difficult to stir, place the mixture on a clean surface to knead (dust the surface with flour to prevent sticking). Knead until ingredients are combined well, for about 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour in the fridge.

Mushroom stuffing

ounces fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
tablespoon olive oil
tablespoon snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
clove garlic, minced
teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
egg yolk, lightly beaten
½ cup ricotta cheese

Cook fresh mushrooms in hot oil over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until liquid is evaporated. Add parsley, and garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine egg yolk, ricotta cheese, and mushroom mixture. Cover and chill until needed.

After an hour, divide the dough into 2 equal size balls; re-cover one ball with wrap and use a rolling pin to roll the other ball out to 1/8” to 1/16” thick. I repeat, if you have a pasta machine, use it now!

Place tablespoon-size dollops of the cooled mushroom mixture approximately 2” apart on the rolled out dough.

Roll out the other ball of dough to the same size and thickness and place it on top of the rolled out dough with the mushroom dollops.

Use a ravioli form for square shapes (or an espresso cup or juice glass for circular shapes) to place over each dollop and like a cookie cutter, form each ravioli shape. With fork tines, crimp the edges all around each ravioli shape.

Dust the ravioli and a sheet pan with cornmeal to prevent the pasta from sticking and lay them out to dry slightly.

Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 4 minutes; they'll float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and place them on a serving dish.

Garlic sauce

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
Salt & red pepper flakes to taste

Cook the oil and garlic over medium heat in a heavy saucepan until the garlicbegins to turn pale gold.

Remove the pan from the heat, add basil and chopped walnuts.

Drizzle the sauce over the ravioli and toss lightly with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. If you can’t resist, add freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Bon Appetito!

Ravioli stamps, forms: will streamline the process.

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