2018 update Forgive me for the silly plating, I, like a lot of chefs, I went through a paint brush stage. It’s much cleaner to spread dollops of the celery root sauce out with a spoon or ladle.
Italian food was what drew me into the kitchen in the first place. Story goes that I was grounded, Grandma brought me a copy of Lydia Bastianich’s Italian American Cooking, and I was hooked. Eventually I even got to cook Lydia dinner while I worked at Heartland restaurant in St. Paul, which is a great memory.
Italian food was always spellbinding to me, especially the pasta. When I started to experiment with different shapes and sizes too, things only got more complicated, and down the rabbit hole I went.
Our recipe here should be called lazy ravioli, but caramelle (they’re supposed to resemble small candies) sounds a lot better on a menu.
The filling could be whatever you want, but at the time I was making these I was trying to use up some of the chicken fat bolete/slippery jack (Suillus americanus species) ricotta cheese I’d made. Using some duxelles and a little ricotta and parmesan would work just fine too though, and is a lot easier.
Cabbage, celery root, and dried mushrooms=Winter food
This is a dish for the dead of winter, and a good example of how I use seasonal ingredients. After December, we’re hard pressed to find anything but storage vegetables coming from the local farmers here in MN and WI.
Root vegetables and cabbage are usually still in good supply though, so both of them are featured here, with the star being the puree of celery root that graces the plate, and mixed with the butter the ravioli are dressed with, becomes a rich complement to the earthy mushrooms without resorting to a typical cream sauce, which can be a heavy crutch for pasta pairings.
There’s a little pasta tutorial/rule of thumb hidden in here too, an example of how my brain pairs ingredients with pasta. Basically, just remember that for the most part unless you’re tossing ravioli with a ragu, you want the other components of the dish to be roughly the same size to make the dish more appealing and easier to eat. Refer to the picture of cutting napa cabbage here to the size of the caramelle pasta above.
Chicken fat bolete caramelle, with celery root puree, napa cabbage and bacon
- Pasta roller
- 8 leaves napa cabbage trimmed and quartered per my pictures above
- 4 ounces bacon
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh grated grana padano or other high quality parmesan cheese to taste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
Celery root puree
- 16 oz chopped celery root roughly 4 cups diced
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 cups half and half
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus two tablespoons
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
For the slippery jack mushroom filling
- 1.5 cups slippery jack ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Kosher salt to taste
Pasta dough for caramelle
- 2.5 cups 00 flour plus more for flouring the work surface
- 1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Cold water as needed to make the dough take shape (a few tablespoons)
- Combine all the dry ingredients, then combine all the wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients and then gradually add the yolks.
- Mix with the paddle attachment, adding a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough just comes together in a solid mass, then switch to the dough hook and knead, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the mixer, wrap in plastic, and allow to rest for 30 minutes before using. The dough will last for two days in the fridge and can be made ahead of time.
- For the filling, mix together the filling ingredients and season to taste with salt. Roll out the pasta dough to the thinnest setting on a pasta roller.
- Cut 3 inch by 4 inch squares of dough, then fill with heaping teaspoons of the filling and brush the edges of the dough with water. Roll the caramelle up like candies, twisting the edges closed gently (refer to my picture above). Toss the ravioli with the semolina flour to prevent them from sticking.
Celery Root Puree
- Sweat the onion until translucent, add the celery root and the half and half, then cook at a simmer until very tender. transfer the mixture to a highspeed blender or a food processor and process, adding the chilled 4 tablespoons of butter gradually to make a very smooth puree.
- Season the puree to taste with salt and reserve if serving, or cool to room temp and then refrigerate. The puree can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Blanch the cabbage leaves for 5 seconds, then shock in ice water, drain completely and reserve.
- Warm the celery root puree in a pan by itself, whisking occasionally. Cover, reserve and keep warm. Render the bacon in a large saute pan, drain off 1/2 the fat, and remove the bacon from the pan. Add the sage to the bacon fat and cook until crisp, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Remove the sage and reserve. Add the wine to the pan and reduce by 1/2.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the ravioli and cook until they float. Add the cabbage leaves to the pan and cook for a minute or two, then add the wine and reduce by 1/2. Add the bacon back to the pan along with the pasta. Toss the pasta to coat with the pan juices, double check the seasoning for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.
- On four preheated dinner bowls, put a 1/4 cup of the celery root puree and smooth it out to cover the bottom of the bowl with a spoon or ladle. Evenly divide the ravioli mixture between each plate, top each with a few fried sage leaves, parmesan and serve immediately.