Recently, I’ve been noticing many, many food blogs posting recipes utilizing a certain brand of pre-made “fresh” pastas: nothing like a Foodbuzz promo to bring the best out of the food bloggers. Many came up with very creative recipes using a store-bought, pre-made pasta (a difficult compromise for many hardcore pasta lovers). [In case you were wondering, no, Foodbuzz didn't send us any Buitoni products, and yes, you do detect a hint of bitterness.] A prize of All-Clad Copper Core pots and pans is a pretty damn good prize to inspire the Sandra Lee in all of us. (An Aside: Speaking of Ms. Sandra Lee, has anyone seen that horrid “Kentucky GRILLED Chicken” commercial? We wonder if she is going to take a bucket of that chicken, open up a bag of arugula, throw on some Seven Seas Italian Dressing, and then craft one of her cleverly-branded “tablescapes” featuring giant papier mâché heads of the Colonel?)
After seeing all these different recipes utilizing store-bought pasta (and upset at having been left-out of this Foodbuzz freebie), I was reminded that the average American still thinks that making homemade pasta isn’t possible, and I was determined to prove them wrong. Although I do understand that there is a time and a place for store-bought stuffed pasta and Semi-Homemade/Sandra Lee nights, I also believe that creating homemade, fresh, stuffed pasta is much, much easier than most people think.
The key is in the stuffing. If you can make a delicious stuffing for ravioli, agnolotti, tortellini, cannelloni or any other shape of stuffed pasta your little heart desires, the hardest part is over. If you don’t have a pasta roller (or a rolling-pin), buy some wonton wrappers and do it that way. The key is that you’ve done it – you made it, the stuffing is fresh and includes zero preservatives. You get to control what goes in the stuffing. Get creative ’cause the possibilities are endless.
Although I did make my own pasta for this dish, the star was the stuffing. It was super simple, quick and very easy to make. We happened to find fresh porcini’s in our local market (a freaking miracle) for about $35 a pound, so we bought two ($8!) and decided to blend those with some rehydrated dried ones and a bit of good old (and too often underappreciated) white button mushrooms. A bit of butter, some fresh parmigiano, garlic, shallots and sage, and you’ve got a fab-u-lous, fresh filling for pasta.
Bottom line, if you haven’t tried making your own stuffed pasta, give it a try. Please. Just try.
- 1 packet homemade pasta or wonton wrappers
- 2 x 8oz boxes of mushrooms (button, brown, cremini or a mixture of any type of mushroom)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 8-10 sage leaves, finely minced
- ½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- salt and pepper
For the sauce:
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 5 sage leaves, julienned
- 4 tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano
- Make your filling by gently sautéing mushrooms, shallot and garlic together in butter until all is soft.
- Add sage and cheese and combine well. Kill the fire. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Mixture should be reasonably dry, i.e. not saucy, so that it doesn’t soak into pasta but sits nicely in it. Allow mixture to cool before beginning next step.
- If you want to make your own pasta dough and roll your ravioli from scratch, click here for our foolproof recipe tried and tested many times but, most famously, on a weeknight.
- If not, take your wonton wrappers, and armed with a glass of water, lay the wrappers out and place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each.
- Then, follow the latter part of our tried and tested ravioli-on-a-weeknight-recipe.
- To make the brown butter (noisette) and sage sauce, simply melt the remaining butter in a pan and watch it caramelize into a beautiful brown color, adding julienned sage near the end.
- Spoon sauce over cooked ravioli/tortelloni and sprinkle liberally with cheese.
- Enjoy with red wine and the knowing smugness of having done it all yourself, even if there is no reward of free cookware…