Before I head to Boston for my first class, Trusty and I are having our friends Grace and Andrea over for a little “dinner party” (air quotes are used here because we don’t even own a full set of 4 napkins). Earlier this year we had an amazing meal at their apartment–home-made curry, and shrimp spring rolls with a home-made peanut dipping sauce–and so the food bar was set very high. To sufficiently wow them, we decided to prepare a “Ravioli Flight” (again, these air quotes are coming in handy!)–a.k.a. we made three types of ravioli fillings, bought three packages of egg roll wrappers, and stuffed our little hearts out, filling wrapper sheet after wrapper sheet. The result was a filling meal (couldn’t resist!) we were very proud of.
So, stay tuned for Part 2 (Spring Pea, Parmesan, and Mint) and Part 3 (Shallots, Cauliflower, and Lump Crab). In the meantime, this first filling, mushroom and leek, is fantastic. The deep, earthy, and meaty flavor of the mushrooms plays really well off of the delicate sweetness of the leeks. Add some dry white wine and rich heavy cream and you pretty much have heaven in a ravioli.
Mushroom and Leek Ravioli
Note: for this recipe, you’ll need a hand blender, a blender, or a Cuisinart to puree the ravioli filling.
- 1 package of Egg roll wrappers (we used Nasoya brand, in case you’re curious)
- 1 leek
- 2 cups of quartered mushrooms (we used half Cremini, half Shiitake)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- 1/4 cup of white wine (we used Sancerre, any dry white wine would be a good substitute)
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- Parsley (optional-for garnish)
- With a damp paper towel, gently wipe any dirt off the mushroom caps. This is the best way to clean mushrooms–because they’re so absorbent, you never want to wash or soak them–they’ll become water-logged and lose all their flavor. Once the mushrooms are clean, quarter them.
- Halve the leek down the middle and slice. Peel the garlic and chop finely.
- Melt the butter in a hot pan and saute the leek, mushrooms, and garlic until the vegetables start to brown.
- When the pan becomes dry and you see brown bits beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan, it’s time to deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the wine to the pan and use a spatula to lift all the grease and bits from the bottom of the pan–that’s a lot of flavor you want to incorporate into the liquid!
- Continue cooking the mushrooms and leeks until the wine completely cooks off and the pan is dry again. Then, add the heavy cream.
- Stir in the cream and allow the mixture to continue to cook on gentle heat until the cream is reduced by a third. We found this took about 10 minutes. Then put the mixture into a container and throw it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes until it has cooled completely (if you put the hot mixture directly into the egg roll wraps, they will start to cook and gluck up).
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the mixture and use the hand blender to puree it (they say it’s best to salt mushrooms after cooking them, because otherwise the salt will draw out the moisture in the mushrooms before they’re cooked).
- Now, it’s time to stuff the ravioli with the mushroom filling! Crack open the egg and add a dash of water or heavy cream. Whisk it up with a fork, and you have your egg wash. This will act as the cement or glue that will hold the two sheets of pasta together. Using a brush, brush the egg wash onto one sheet so the surface is covered with your glue. Then, take a spoon and add a small amount of the mushroom filling to each of the four corners.
- Now, add the second sheet of pasta by laying it over the bottom piece. You don’t need to apply egg wash to the top sheet. Use your fingers to press down around the filling piles so that as little air as possible is left in the parcel.
- Use a knife to cut the sheet in half vertically and horizontally, so you’re left with four ravioli. With your fingers, make sure the edges of the ravioli are pinched together completely. You can stack the ravioli waiting to be prepared on a cookie sheet. Just drizzle a little olive oil over them to make sure they don’t stick together.
- To cook the ravioli, bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil and add your ravioli. They won’t need to cook long–only a minute or so. When they’re ready they’ll float up to the surface and appear slightly translucent and puffed up (if there’s any air inside).
- Add parsley to garnish. Enjoy with a little olive oil and lemon, or some simple tomato sauce.