Fresh porcini mushrooms are hard to find, in part because they are so perishable. Luckily dried porcini mushrooms can be kept for a long time and they pack a lot of flavor. The secret to making the most delicious dried porcini ravioli you have ever tasted, is to use the soaking water in the filling. It will take the mushroom flavor over the top and it has such a woodsy flavor that these ravioli are the perfect autumn dish. All you need to serve them is a bit of cream, parsley, and parmigiano.
For about 40 ravioli
25 grams (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
250 grams (.55 lb) fresh cultivated mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced
120 grams (1/2 cup) fresh ricotta cheese
30 grams (1 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, plus more for garnish
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
120 ml (1/2 cup) light cream
fresh pasta dough made with 2 eggs and about 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) Italian 00 flour
2 Tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
Put 25 grams of dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour 250 ml of boiling water on top. Stir and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. Add 250 grams of sliced cultivated mushrooms.
Cook over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are golden, about 10 minutes.
Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Rinse the mushrooms under running water to remove any sand. Add the reconstituted porcini mushrooms to the pan with the cultivated mushrooms.
Filter the porcini soaking water with a moist piece of kitchen paper.
Add a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of minced parsley to the mushrooms, and stir for a minute or until the garlic barely starts to color.
Add the porcini soaking liquid.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Reduce over low heat until almost all of the liquid is gone, stirring regularly.
Transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl of a food processor and add 120 grams of ricotta and 30 grams of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Using a silicone spatula you can easily scrape the last bit of flavor out of the mushroom pan.
Pulse until the mushrooms have been coarsely ground. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, remembering that ravioli stuffing always needs to be slightly over-seasoned.
Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the filling to firm up. In in the meantime, make fresh pasta dough, and allow it to rest.
When the filling has firmed up and the pasta dough has rested, use these instructions to make fresh ravioli.
Cook the ravioli for 2 minutes in boiling salted water. Lift them out of the water with a strainer and add to a pan with 120 ml of light cream. Add some freshly grated parmigiano and the remaining tablespoon of minced parsley. Toss very gently to cover the ravioli with cream without breaking them.
Serve on preheated plates.
Grignolino is an ancient grape variety from Piemonte, more specifically from the region of Monferrato. There are records as far back as 1337 documenting the use of this grape in Piemonte. The name grignolino could be derived from the local dialect for pips, as this variety has more pips than many other varieties. There are multiple appellations in Piemonte for grignolino, but the best one is Grigonolino del Monferrato Casalese DOC, around the town of Casale Monferrato.
For the first time a grignolino wine was awarded the coveted tre bicchieri (three glasses) in the 2017 edition of the leading Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso. I had never tried grignolino, so I ordered a bottle to see what it would be like.
Vicara Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese 2015, retails for 14.50 euros in Italy
- 100% grignolino, brief maceration and bottled in spring, 13.5% ABV
- Color: pale cherry
- Nose: fresh red fruit
- Taste: slightly tannic, dry, elegant, balanced, medium finish
- Conclusion: very good, ****
Choosing this wine with the dish was a bit of a gamble, because I had never tried grignolino before. I thought it could work because I knew from the website where I had ordered it that it was a light-bodied red wine, and because reds from Piemonte are often earthy.
The combination with the mushroom ravioli was OK, ***. The wine and the dish didn’t get any better or any worse when enjoyed together. The wine pairing worked as a contrast as we can see when we look at the flavor factors:
- mouthfeel: the dish is coating because of the cream and ricotta, whereas the wine is contracting;
- flavor intensity: both the dish and the wine are elegant and their intensities are more or less the same;
- type of flavor: the wine has more fresh tones, whereas the dish has both ripe (dried porcini mushrooms, parmigiano) and fresh (parsley) tones;
- complexity: both dish and wine are medium complex.
Cicatielli con cozze e fagioli is fresh pasta dumplings with mussels and beans. The creaminess of the pureed beans, the texture of the pasta, beans, and mussels, and the flavor of the mussels with the aromatics all work very nicely together.