Hen of the Woods Ravioli with Walnut Brown Butter
You could use any tasty mushrooms here, but the rich, deep flavour of hen of the woods makes these pasta parcels something special, and the walnut butter gives a lovely finish. A pasta machine, if you have one, makes the process of rolling the pasta much easier, but you can use a rolling pin and little extra elbow grease.
FOR THE PASTA
- 300g 00 pasta flour
- 3 large eggs
- A little fine semolina or extra flour, for dusting
FOR THE FILLING
- 500g hen of the woods mushrooms, cleaned and separated into fronds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the pasta
- 2 small banana shallots or onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons picked thyme leaves
- 250g ricotta
- 4 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100g unsalted butter
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
- Handful of bitter wild leaves, such as hairy bittercress or young dandelion
- To make the pasta, mound the flour on a your work surface, make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Using a fork, whisk the eggs together whilst slowly drawing in flour from around the edges, then use your hands to combine into a rough dough. Bring the dough together into ball and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and pliable. Cut the ball of dough into 4 equal pieces and wrap them in cling film. Leave them to rest out of the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the prepared hen of the woods into a large frying pan set over a medium high heat. The pan will be very full at first, but don’t worry, the mushooms will cook down. Toss the mushrooms around gently but constantly, as best you can, for about 5 minutes, to dry them out a little and help concentrate their flavour.
- When the mushrooms start to wilt, make a space in the centre of the pan and add the olive oil and chopped shallots. Let them start to sizzle, then stir them through the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in the garlic and thyme leaves and cook for a 2 further minutes. Draw the pan off the heat to allow the mushroom mixture cool slightly before tipping it into food processor with the ricotta and Parmesan. Blitz to a smooth purée, then taste for seasoning and set aside.
- Take one of the balls of dough (leaving the others covered). If you are using a pasta machine, flatten your ball of dough and, starting at thickest setting, run it through the rollers twice on each setting before notching it down in thickness, until you reach the thinnest setting. Cut the dough into easily manageable lengths as you work, laying them on a surface dusted with a little semolina or flour when they are done. If you’re using a rolling pin, dust your work surface with a little semolina or flour and roll the dough out as thinly and evenly as you can. Cut the sheet of pasta into 10cm wide strips.
- While the dough strips are freshly rolled, spoon half-teaspoon sized balls of filling in a line down the centre of the strip, spaced about 5cm apart. Fold the strip over to cover the filling so that the long edges are aligned, then press firmly between and all around the mounds of filling to ensure the ravioli are well sealed. Use a knife to cut the ravioli, trimming the edges to neaten as necessary. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- When the ravioli are made, fill a large wide pan with water and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan and as it foams add the chopped walnuts. Cook over a medium high heat until the walnuts are golden and the butter has turned a deep, nutty brown.
- When the water is boiling, salt the water generously and add a dash of olive oil (this will help stop them sticking together), then cook the ravioli for 3–4 minutes, or until done to your liking (test by lifting one out, and seeing if the edges are sufficiently cooked). Drain well and divide between warm serving plates. Top with the walnut butter, scatter over a few wild leaves and serve with extra Parmesan for sprinkling.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK