Sunday, 5 September 2010

Mushroom and hazelnut ravioli with garlic and herb butter

My lovely friend Andy had a new solo show opening this week on Vyner Street, so I took the opportunity to hang out with East London's bright young things...and also pick Andy's brain about where to go mushroom picking at this time of year. Andy is also my sourdough guru and, like me, is obsessed with food to the point that he was carrying a photo of himself with two immense puffball mushrooms picked that week. The hunt was on!

We had high hopes and, in the end, varied success; there were no puffball sightings but we did scout out a few choice field mushrooms which went into the following recipe. I love mushrooms and hazelnuts. There's something about the combination of earthy mushroom and rich crunchy hazelnuts that complements both flavours without compromising either.

I should point out that we didn't pick the beautiful golden toadstools in the photos above as they looked rather deadly..!

Serves 3 or 4 as a starter

for the ravioli~

1 pack of pasta sheets (for a sneaky shortcut, buy the ones in asian grocers used to make wonton; they're thinner than the pasta sheets sold in supermarkets)
100g wild, or shitake, mushrooms, finely chopped
200g flat mushrooms, finely chopped
50g hazelnuts, ground to coarse breadcrumbs
4 shallots, finely chopped
a clove of garlic, finely chopped
15g butter
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp grated parmesan
5 tbsp mascarpone
1 beaten egg

for the herb butter~

50g clarified butter
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
a bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, halved and gently squashed with the back of a knife

1) Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, then fry the shallots for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the mushrooms have lost most of their liquid and are glossy.

2) Add the hazelnuts and garlic to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. When the hazelnuts smell toasted and nutty you can remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the mascapone and then season well with salt and pepper.

3) On a large, hard surface spread out the pasta sheets in pairs. The mushroom mixture should be enough for about 30 ravioli, so you'll need 60 8x8cm sheets of pasta to make them. Place one level teaspoon in the centre of a pasta sheet, then use a pastry brush to brush the egg around the filling right to the edge of the pasta. Then place the other sheet over the top and use the edge of your hand to gently but firmly press the two sheets together. Try not to get any air trapped inside the ravioli, or it will puff up when you cook it and may burst. Repeat with the remaining filling and pasta sheets.

4) Now take a pastry cutter to cut out the ravioli (this helps seal the edges). Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then cook the ravioli for 3-4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.

5) To make the herb butter, simply heat the butter in a pan with the garlic, then fry the chopped sage for a minute then remove from the heat and add the chives. Remove the garlic, then spoon over the ravioli and serve with a little grated parmesan, if you like.

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