Pacific Natural Foods invited me and four other bloggers to participate in their Everyday Chef Challenge. (The first challenge is over now, but I’d love to have your vote in the final round!)
I love mushroom broths, so when I heard this was a broth challenge, I knew immediately which Pacific Natural product I would choose. It has a bright, clear mushroom flavor, packed with umami. Using their broth as the base for my homemade ravioli en brodo (in broth) was a natural.
I made my own pasta for this dish, using two whole eggs and two extra yolks for a added richness. You’ll need a simple pasta machine to do this, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own, wonton wrappers are a time-honored substitute.
The filling is simple shiitake and morel duxelles, which is a fancy French word for mushrooms chopped up small and sauteed with garlic, butter, and sherry until they give up all of their liquid and taste amazing. For a more economical version, you can do the same thing with crimini or button mushrooms; use an extra half-pound as they give up more water.
I considered adding cheese to the filling, but the mushroom flavor is so deep I saw no reason to dilute it. I use the Pacific broth to rehydrate the dried morels, and while I’m at it I infuse the shiitake stems in it as well, which adds even more complexity to the broth that forms the sauce for the dish.
The finishing touch is a pinch of gremolata, which is simply a mince of flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest and a bit of garlic. The gremolata puts out an incredibly inviting aroma that rises in the steam from the ravioli, and the citrus and herb cuts through the richness of the mushrooms.
Full disclosure: Pacific Natural Foods is an advertiser on my site, and provided product for me and the other bloggers participating in this contest.
Shiitake and Morel Ravioli in Brodo with Gremolata
Yields 16 well-stuffed ravioli plus extra pasta; serves 4 as a sizeable first course
2 hours total (1 hour active); less if you don’t make the pasta from scratch
- 10 ounces all-purpose or “00″ flour
- 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon water
- one pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 3 cups Pacific Natural Foods mushroom broth
- 1 ounce dried morel mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup minced shallot
- 8 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- zest of 1 lemon
- handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Put the flour in a bowl and form a well in the center. Put the whole eggs and yolks in the well. Using a fork, beat the eggs and mix in the flour as much as possible. Sprinkle the tablespoon of water over the dough, and work it with your hands into a shaggy mass. Dump out on a lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes, until it is a tight, smooth, elastic ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow the flour to hydrate at room temperature for at least one hour. Meanwhile…
- Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms; chop the caps into fine dice (about 1/8″ squares). Put the mushroom broth in a small saucepan, add the shiitake stems and dried morels and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow to infuse for at least 15 minutes, then strain first through a fine sieve and then a coffee filter so it is perfectly clear. Reserve the morels and discard the stems. While it is infusing…
- Heat a large skillet over a medium-low flame and melt the butter. Add the shallot, all but 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic, diced shiitake caps and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is quite dry. When the morels are done rehydrating, set aside the best looking 12 of them and chop the rest and add to the shiitakes. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and again keep cooking until it is rather dry. Taste and adjust seasoning. Allow to cool.
- Roll the pasta to the thinnest setting on the machine. Cut a 4″ square and put a tablespoon of the mushroom filling in the middle, forming a tight, tall mound. Moisten the pasta around the edges of the filling and top with a second square of pasta. Carefully push down to form a seal, “burping” out as much air as possible in the process. Be careful not to let any bits of mushroom get in the sealing area or it won’t stick properly. Cut out with a 3″ circle cutter and set aside on a floured baking sheet. Repeat until you have 16 nice ravioli. You can roll out the extra pasta dough (re-rolling the scraps) to make some hand-cut noodles; just toss with flour and refrigerate for tommorow.
- When you are ready to finish the dish, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Bring the broth back to a simmer in small saucepan. Pre-heat 4 shallow serving bowls, and warm the reserved morels. Mince the lemon zest, parsley and remaining garlic together. Boil the ravioli for about 4 minutes, until the edges are al dente. Put four ravioli in each bowl, and add 1/2 cup or so of the broth, so it comes part-way up the ravioli. Arrange 3 morels in each bowl. Put a pinch of the gremolata on each ravioli and serve immediately.