Mushroom and chicken ravioli with mushroom marsala cream sauce

This my friends, is our date night delish.

You know that recipe we all have for a special occasion, well this is ours. We usually make this for a nice valentine’s meal or other special night. Like date night.

If the thought of making your own ravioli from scratch and making a “posh” sauce all sounds a bit much, then stay with us. We are about to give you all the tools you need to impress that someone special, wife, husband, significant other, BFF or indeed yourself. Cause you are worth it.

It all starts with having the tools in your kitchen to make life easier. You know I am a fan of tech that makes life easier!

So we’ve laid this out in the order we make the meal in its entirety, but feel free to do this your way.

So let’s start with the ravioli.

The pasta dough

  • 200g strong white flour
  • 2 eggs
  • splash of oil
  • salt and pepper

Pasta dough does not need to be difficult to make, yes the TV chefs will tell you to do it the traditional way by incorporating your egg into the flour on the bench… hell no. heck out our previous blog posts, we’ve done that. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nopers.

That is just messy and annoying. Big bowl or mixer is the way to go. Why make life difficult?

Just put it all into a big bowl and bring it together with your hands to make a dough. It’s a bit drier than bread dough, but you should still knead it until it is soft and elastic.

Gadget number 1

Now here is the thing. To roll it, you don’t need a pasta machine, you CAN use a rolling pin but it is a hell of a lot easier if you have a pasta machine. And if you are worrying that a pasta machine will lounge at the back of a cupboard and never get used. Take a look at some of the fun we’ve had with a pasta machine – and not all of it was for pasta.

Kate making linguine with the pasta machine

Our first attempt at ravioli: http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/fun-with-a-pasta-machine/

More pasta machine fun: http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/even-more-fun-with-the-pasta-machine/

Making Dim Sum with a pasta machine: http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/more-fun-with-a-pasta-machine-chinese-dim-sum/

So once you’ve made your dough, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for half an hour to rest and let the glutens develop.

While the pasta dough is chilling you can start prepping the filling for your ravioli.

For the mushroom filling

  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh picked thyme leaves from the herb planter
  • 100g skinless, boneless chicken breast, finely chopped
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 30ml double cream
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

This filling works just as well without the chicken, so you can leave it out if you’d prefer.

Ok, the first thing I am going to do is warn you, in its raw state, this filling does not look appetising at all. I will show you a picture, just to give you a heads up. But trust me on this, once the ravioli is cooked, it is divine!

OK, start by frying the onion over a medium heat until soft and golden-brown. Then add the mushrooms, garlic and the thyme and give it another 3 or 4 minutes to soften up the mushrooms.

Put all that into a bowl and set aside.

Next, put three-quarters of the chopped chicken breast meat into a food processor along with the egg, cream and nutmeg and blend until smooth to make a mousse. This is the bit I warned you about. It doesn’t look pretty.

Now add the chicken mousse to the bowl with the mushrooms and remaining chopped chicken and mix well to combine. Your filling is done.

Ok let’s shape the ravioli

Remove the pasta dough from the fridge and divide into four equal pieces. Cover three pieces with a clean, damp tea towel and dust the fourth piece in flour. We usually find for the two of us, we end up with an extra portion of ravioli for the freezer and a portion of unrolled dough for the freezer. Depends on how many you are feeding and how big you make your ravioli.

You need your pasta dough to be thin enough to go through the pasta machine on it’s thickest setting. So I start off by rolling it a little. I basically roll it into an oblong shape then fold each side over on itself to make a square and give it another roll.

This helps to create a starting rectangle, meaning your dough will be neater. I didn’t think to get a photo of this but just think of making your ball of dough into as neat a rectangle as you can.

Now, dust the rollers on the pasta machine with flour and starting at the lowest (thickest) setting. You want to turn the rollers and slowly feed the dough through the machine, turning the handle with one hand and holding the dough as it comes through the machine with the other.

We put the dough through twice on each setting going through all the settings. Now the dough will get really long, and really thin. So keep your hands and the work surface floured so it doesn’t stick (or it will tear).

I find it much easier to keep cutting the dough to manageable lengths.

You just keep changing the setting on the pasta machine to the next-thinner setting, flour it again and feed the pasta sheet through the machine again until the dough has reached the thickness you want (1.5mm thick). For us, that is about setting 5 or 6 on our machine.

Repeat with the remaining dough until you have all your lovely thin, long sheets of pasta.

Gadget number 2

Now we have made our ravioli completely by hand in the past and it works fine. However, we recently bought a ravioli mould and it just makes life so much easier, and so much quicker. We made this whole meal after work on Friday night, that’s the difference a pasta machine and a ravioli mould makes.

So, lay one sheet of pasta onto the floured mould, and use the indent shaper to make little pockets for your filling.

Next, add just one teaspoonful of the filling to each pocket. Resist the urge to overfill. Trust me. If you overfill it will burst.

Now run a wet finger around the outside of each little pocket. This helps the two sheets of dough stick together. Then put the second sheet of pasta on top. Then we use the rolling pin to “roll over” the dough, this will press it down, sealing it, and the perforations on the mould will cut the individual little ravioli.

The trick now is to tap them out onto a floured board. Just flip the mould over and give it a good bump. This is why I said to flour the mould at the beginning.

Perfect little ravioli

Now just repeat until you have used up all your filling.

The sauce

  • 320ml Marsala wine
  • 320ml double cream
  • 30ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 250g sliced mushrooms
  • half a diced onion (optional)
  • salt and pepper

  • Put the water on in a large pot to boil for the pasta.
  • At the same time, heat a large frying pan and a bit of oil and fry the onions and mushrooms until soft.
  • Add the Marsala and bring to a boil, simmer for about 2-4 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir in cream and milk and simmer for 5 minutes. It’s ready when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and when you drag your finger through it, the line stays.

  • Turn the heat off from under the sauce, and add your ravioli to the pan of boiling water. It will take about 3 minutes. Fresh pasta is much quicker to cook than dried.

We like to serve the ravioli on top of some wilted spinach and asparagus, you can try this or just serve the pasta and sauce on its own, completely under your control 🙂

Basically add lashings of the sauce and nom.

That is our favourite treat dinner to cook for special occasions. A couple of kitchen gadgets and you have amazing, fresh, homemade ravioli on a weeknight even. No stress no hassle.

But lots of washing up, sorry.

You can get all sorts of ravioli moulds and cutters, have a wee search on the internet and watch a couple of videos to decide which one is right for you. Ours was a cheap medium-sized mould, but it is brilliant.

Ours is the Norpro Jumbo Ravioli Maker with Press




More fun with a pasta machine – Chinese dim sum

pot stickersWell we already told you about making pasta, but that’s not the only thing you can use a pasta machine for. We also made Pot Stickers.

Pot stickers are little Chinese dumplings (won ton) which are fried on one side to get them all brown and crunchy and then steamed to cook the filling and the rest of the outer casing. This way giving you a mixture of textures and flavours.

You can serve them with all sorts of dipping sauces, we’ve even eaten them with salad but this week we served them with a noodle soup. (We love Chinese food so have a few recipes under our belt that we’ll share with you, if you’re good).

So how do you make them?

 

Ingredients for won ton wrappers (serves 2 – 4)

Well essentially, the wrappers are just pasta. You’ll see some recipes with water some without but we used the same recipe as we used for our pasta.

  • 100 grams pasta flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper

Mix it together into a ball of dough and then chill in the fridge for half an hour wrapped in cling -film. Once chilled, you need to roll it out as thin as you possibly can and then cut your little wrappers. We used a cookie cutter.

Ingredients for the chicken and leek filling (serves 2 – 4)

  • 200 grams minced chicken
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped leeks
  • 1 finely chopped spring onion
  • 2cm piece of peeled ginger, finely chopped
  • 2tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp ground nut oil (for frying)

Combine the chicken, leek, ginger, spring onion, shaoxing, sesame oil, salt & pepper. If need be you can use a little egg white to combine.

Making the pot stickers

making pot stickersTake one of your won ton wrappers and place it in the palm of your hand. Then add a tea-spoon of filling to the centre.

Just like with pasta you want to brush around the edge with water or beaten egg yolk to help stick the wrapper together and stop your filling from escaping. Next fold the wrapper over and start pinching the edges together to seal.

To stop them sticking while you make the others, we usually sit them on a floured board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the pot stickers

Cooking your pot stickers

As I said earlier, pot stickers are both fried and steamed, so here’s how you get that mix.

Heat the ground nut oil in your wok over a medium heat then add your pot stickers arranging them around the bottom and lower sides. Fry for about 30 – 60 seconds, just enough to begin to go golden.

Then pour around 200 ml of water into the pan to create steam and cover the pan. Allow them to steam for around 5 – 8 minutes. (Don’t let the pan dry out, top up the water if you have to).

Our favourite dipping sauce

To make a dipping sauce for the pot stickers, mix together 2 tbsp of runny honey and 1 tbsp light soy sauce with 1 tbsp chopped chives.

Serve your pot stickers crispy side up, heaped on a plate and let your dinner guests help themselves.

 




Fun with a pasta machine

ravioli

Well this week has been a week of fun with the pasta machine, and just how versatile is a pasta machine?

Well let me tell you. We’ll start with pasta…

Ravioli with butternut squash filling

Ok firstly, for those of you who fancy making pasta, it is dead easy, like so easy it’s almost disappointing. You don’t even need a pasta machine to roll it; you could do it with a normal rolling-pin. However a pasta machine just makes life a little easier.

So what do you need?

Ingredients for pasta (serves 2)

  • 100 grams pasta flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper to taste

Yup it’s that simple, just mix it together to form a ball of dough, wrap it in cling-film and then leave it in the fridge for half an hour. Then roll it out as thin as you can.

Ingredients for the butternut squash filling

  • 200 grams butternut squash
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 20 grams manchego cheese (or your choice maybe pecorino)
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt & pepper

Ok, here’s what we did.

Cut the squash into chunks of about an inch and then toss in a bowl with the oil and salt and pepper to get them all coated. Then roast them on an oven tray at about 180/200 for fan, for 25 mins.

After the 25 min mark, scatter the thinly sliced onion over the top and roast for another 10 mins before putting aside to cool before blitzing it in the food processor and adding the cheese and nutmeg to make a thick orange puree. Easy peezy!

Ok now for the fun, making up the ravioli.

Ok once the dough has been sitting for half an hour, it will be ready to roll. Whether you use a pasta machine or a rolling-pin, the idea is to get two, long strips of pasta dough as thin as you possibly can. Take your time over this as the pasta being too thick can ruin your dish, you want THIN!

ravioli filling

Did I emphasise that enough?

Ok so you should end up with two long strips of pasta, about the width. Now is the time to decide how big your pasta is going to be so that you can work out how far apart to put your filling before laying the other strip on top to make the little parcels of nom.

Now start spooning a little filling onto one of the strips, don’t put too much on there, about a teaspoon full does.

Once you have your filling spooned onto the pasta, the actual work begins Use a little water to go around the edges of the pasta (filling) to help it all stick together. Then carefully lay your second strip on top of the first.

You need to go around each little lump of filling and carefully press down the pasta making sure to get all the air out and seal the two pieces together. It’s worth taking your time here because you don’t want pasta filling leaking out. That would be a horrible waste.

Then once you are happy, use a knife of a cutter and cut out your little parcels of pasta. Tah Dah! Dead easy.

To cook, just get some salted water boiling and cook them for about 2 or 3 minutes and then add the sauce of your choice.