ravioli in creamy mushroom sauce
So on January 31st, I moved, leaving the Italian mecca that is Arthur Avenue for the food ghetto of Harlem. In many ways my living situation has improved, but not in terms of food vendors. Therefore, I made a point to take full advantage of Teitel Brothers, Casa Della Mozzarella and Vincent's Meats while they were still in walking distance.
I was going home to Long Island two weekends before I moved, so I thought it would be nice to bring along some Arthur Avenue treats. I'm glad that I did, as they're far less convenient and accessible now that it's February. When I found out my brother would be working Saturday night, I decided to pick up some Borgatti ravioli for dinner. They are the most delicious perfect stuffed pasta in the world, but Matt has celiac, (a gluten intolerance), and can't eat them, so normally we don't either out of familial solidarity. With Matt not around, we were free to indulge in all the gluteny goodness we wanted. That being said, the sauce itself is gluten free and would have been delicious over a good gluten free pasta.
With the ravioli as my starting point, I remembered that I had some white button mushrooms left over from that yummy mushroom tomato sauce I mentioned in the year's first post, so I thought I could make up a nice, earthy mushroom sauce for the pasta. I bought about $8 worth of dried porcini mushrooms at Teitel Brothers-- they sell for a whopping $39 a pound, but I saw them during the holidays at Mike's Deli for $99/lb, so this was actually a comparative bargain! Back at home, Mom got some creminis, which are really young portabellos, and I found a tasty sounding Wolfgang Puck recipe to use as reference.
I started off by making up a quick chicken stock from some bones Mom had in the fridge, carrots, celery, onion, fresh parsley, some dried bouquet garni herbs from the cupboard and lots of water. While this was simmering, I soaked the porcini mushrooms in warm water to rehydrate them and chopped up the button and cremini mushrooms, reserving the stems. Once the stock had been cooking for an hour or so, I took about a cup of it and put it in a smaller pot with the stems to make what Wolfgang calls a mushroom stock. I also took the liberty of adding in the porcini soaking water, which I poured carefully so as to leave the grit and dirt at the bottom of the glass. I let that mixture cook down by half.
While my mushroom stock was reducing, I sweat garlic, shallots and onions in what turned out to be too much olive oil. When they were all translucent I added and sauteed the mushrooms for about five minutes. Then I added a few glugs of white wine and the reduced stock (sans stems), and let that cook down. When I added the half and half (a cup by Puck, eyeballed by me), it became clear that the whole thing was just too oily, and the sauce never really thickened the way I wanted it too. Oh well. It was still delicious with some salt and pepper over those freshly made raviolis. Boil some water, add salt, and cook them just until they float, and they're ready.
My mom made up some awesome grilled chicken to go with it, marinaded for about a half an hour with parsley and white wine and who knows what else. I also steamed some broccoli, but I forgot about it because I started watching a Steve Martin/Goldie Hawn movie, and it wound up totally mushy and I now know the reason why everyone hates broccoli. Luckily, I was able to resuscitate it in the form of a delicious broccoli soup, but that is a story for another post.