Friday, March 4, 2011

Ravioli. I love Ravioli.

So TNSC was postponed this week so I cooked with my new special friend, Rachele. I purchased a new pastry wheel from a lil shop in Huntington, Mass. and I couldn't wait to use it. Pinching ravioli can be frustrating, monotonous, and aggravating; to list a few choice adjitives I equate to stuffing pasta. So needless to say I was excited about using my new tool. I had a chicken cutlet in the fridge so I decided to stuff outside the box and make a habanero braised chicken stuffed ravioli with a simple ragu. To braise the chicken I first seasoned it with salt, pepper, and chili powder and browned both sides. I removed the chicken, softened up some chopped onions, a clove of garlic and a habanero pepper with seeds and ribs removed. I then deglazed with two cups of red wine and added my chicken which was about half submerged in the braising liquid. I cooked it for an hour, covered, at 325 degrees. The liquid had reduced significantly, so after forking the chicken apart I put the braising liquid including onions, garlic and peppers into my food processor to smooth it out then added it to my chicken. The ragu was quick an easy. I sautéed garlic, onion, shredded carrot, an anchovy, and some herbs until golden. Deglazed with red wine, added crushed tomatoes and one fresh tomato and let simmer for an hour. Easy peasy.
Rachele took out all of the stops and went with a pumpkin ravioli with a herb cream sauce. Needless to say we practically passed out at the table upon the completion of this meal. To accompany this meal I opened a 2008 Laurent Betton St. Joseph which may not have been the best pairing, but delicious none the less. The St. Joseph started with dark fruit, blackberries and tobacco. A leathery mid palate with a spicy full bodied finish. Extremely well balanced with delicate tannins. I wish I had secured a few more bottles for myself.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Cream Sauce
10 Tbsp (5oz) butter
1 Pound fresh pumpkin (we cheated and used canned)
2 Cups heavy cream
1/2 Bay leaf
2 Tbsp minced fresh sage (Fresh! don't cheap out!)
2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Egg for pasta wash
2 Cups chicken stock
2 Shallots

In a sauce pan on low heat combine 4 Tbsp butter, the pumpkin, 1c of cream, and half of your minced herbs. Allow to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 Tbsp butter, beaten eggs, salt and pepper. I suggest making the filling a few hours prior to filling your ravioli and allowing it to chill. We stuffed ours pretty soon after and the filling was not as thick as one would like thus resulting on our larger, flat ravioli. Regardless of aesthetics they were phenomenal.

Being that I have yet to invest in a pasta maker or even a rolling pin, I purchased my pasta from Russo's on 11th Street and 1st Ave in Manhattan. Always my goto place for fresh pasta. We laid out our sheets, brushed with egg and spooned on equal portions of the pumpkin filling.

Brown 1/2 stick of butter in a sauce pan. In a separate pan add your shallots and stock then reduce to half. Add cream and reduce by 1/2 again. Whisk in your browned butter and herbs. Then add your cooked ravioli, toss and serve.

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