A few years ago I got a request from a reader to make “double mushroom ravioli” or ravioli with dried mushrooms in the dough and filling. I spent a few days tweaking a couple batches, but, as luck will have it, I accidentally selected something wrong and named the images incorrectly, which meant they ended up being lost in a nasty place I call the pit of unwanted blog posts. It was there for years, mingling around with unfortunately conceived things like boar testicles cooked in ramp barbecue sauce and pheasant breast on a bed of tedious wild rice dumplings the size of a pencil eraser you roll out by hand. Those stay in the pit, but the ravioli gets a pardon.
Mushroom Pasta Dough=Optional
Before I explain why these tastes so good, lets talk about the dough. If you’re a mushroom hunter who’s also likes fresh pasta, the thought’s probably occurred to you to that it might be fun to make fresh pasta flavored with dried wild mushrooms. But, not so fast.
The unfortunate truth, is that it’s hard to force the flavor of dried and dehydrated mushrooms into dough, with the exception of my wild mushroom sourdough, which would be pretty expensive if you don’t hunt your own wild mushrooms. I spent months making different versions and finally found that I could get a decent flavor by re-hydrating and cooking the mushrooms first before adding to the dough, so I use the same process here by hydrating toasted mushroom powder with hot water, allowing it to “bloom” before it goes into the filling.
The flavor of wild mushrooms, as a general rule, is dependably dairy, fat, and water soluble, but getting the aroma to permeate dough, especially a very dry dough, like pasta, is difficult–there just isn’t a lot of space for the flavor to diffuse into, if that makes any sense. This becomes really apparent when you compare dough to forgiving things like dried mushroom cream sauce, mushroom butter, or dried mushroom broth, all of which have a lot of liquid, fat or both for the flavor to absorb into.
Don’t get me wrong–you’ll get some flavor in the pasta dough, just not as much as your instincts might make you believe when you see how many go into the finished product. Either way, there’s more than one road to travel here, and, if you’re short on dried mushrooms, try the filling and skip putting them in the dough.
But, if you had a legendary year of fungal foraging, you might just have a few extra to bring to the party. You can always try using dried European porcini too, which have a much stronger flavor than any bolete I pick in the United States. For these, I’m using Hemileccinum subglabripes.
Assembly and Storage
As far as the assembly, think of the pictures here as a guide, not a mandate. Purists would point out that the shapes above are more along the lines of agnolotti, because I fold the dough twice over the filling. I like making ravioli that way as it ensures a sturdy build, but they’ll also take a little longer to cook if you freeze and cook from frozen, as I usually do. It is completely fine to just put dollops filling in the middle of the dough and fold the dough over a single time. Finished ravioli can be stored in the fridge, not touching, dusted with cornmeal or semolina for a few hours if you’re cooking that day, or, frozen on a baking sheet, again, dusted with cornmeal or semolina, and put into a freezer bag after they’re firmed. Frozen ravioli will last for a month.
Double Mushroom Ravioli
- Stand mixer
- Pastry bag (optional)
- Pasta roller
- Spice grinder (for mushroom powder)
- 8 oz 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 5 large egg yolks
- 20 grams toasted mushroom powder ground very fine
- 100 grams scant ½ cup hot water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 40 grams toasted mushroom powder
- 50 grams hot water
- 10 oz ricotta
- 4 oz high quality parmesan
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- A few scrapes of fresh nutmeg optional
- Pour the boiling water over the mushroom powder and salt to make a paste, then stir for a minute and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the egg yolks into the mixture, then add to the flour in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until the mixture starts to come together—it may look crumbly, so mash it a bit with your hands to come together, then switch to the dough hook and knead to a smooth ball, about 1 minute more. Remove the dough and knead a bit by hand, it may feel firm at first, but as it rests it will soften.
- For the filling, pour the water over the mushroom powder and salt, then mix with the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg if using and egg. Pack the filling into a pastry bag, or use two spoons for making the ravioli. A pastry bag is much faster. If your filling seems rough, or has chunks of parmesan in it, consider buzzing in a food processor to make it smooth.
- Cut the dough into 4 pieces, keeping the excess wrapped in a towel or cling film as you work. Roll the dough out to the thinnest setting of the pasta roller, then cut each length in half to make 2 manageable sheets. Square the edges off a bit to make them rectangular, or if they don’t fit on your cutting board.
- Brush the dough very lightly with water, then pipe 8 teaspoons or so of the filling in the middle of the dough sheet, fold the dough over, and remove as much air as you can. Press down all around the ravioli, then cut with a fluted cutter. Gently transfer the ravioli to a baking sheet, not allowing them to touch, and dusted with cornmeal or semolina (all purpose flour will make them stick and tear). As you fill up baking sheets, transfer them to the freezer, or refrigerate if cooking within an hour or two.
- To cook, drop the ravioli into a large pot of boiling salted water just until they float. If you want to cook them from frozen (what I usually do) you’ll need to cook them for a bit longer-when in doubt, taste them, if they’re still tough after floating coming out of the freezer, keep cooking a bit longer. Toss with minimalist garnishes—some wilted greens, melted butter, cheese, mushrooms, etc.