Challenge Morel! Sausage, Sage and Morel Ravioli

by Jenn on April 11, 2009

in Gluten Free,Meats,Pastas and Grains

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Edit – if you like my recipe and want to vote for me, the polls are now open!!

This sausage and morel ravioli is my entry into the Marx Food dried morel recipe challenge!  I was inspired to create this dish by combining a variety of traditional French flavors into a rich flavor packed homemade pasta that really highlighted the flavor of the morels.  You can purchase both fresh morels and dried morels on MarxFood’s website.  A brief description as it might appear on a menu:

Sausage and Morel Ravioli
Ravioli stuffed with veal and pork sausage, gruyere, and morel mushrooms, topped with morel and white wine cream sauce


Thought and Inspiration

Creating this recipe was a challenge in several ways.  The first was deciding on the exact meat to use for the sausage.  Sausage is just ground meat with flavoring and seasonings added, and after making this recipe, I am never going to buy pre-made sausage ever again.  This was so much tastier, and I could flavor it exactly how I wanted!  I was really leaning towards using a veal instead of all pork, as veal is a bit leaner and has a more subtle taste – but I ended up mixing the two together, because combining the two meats I think results in an overall smoother taste.

The next difficult choice was the cheese.  Obviously ravioli is traditionally made with a ricotta or a parmesean.  Neither of which I thought would work here.  Ricotta for being the wrong flavor and parmesean for being too strong.  The highlight of this dish is the morels.  I needed the flavors to blend together, without losing the taste of the morels.  I had thought about a lot of other cheeses, and ended up finding this great resource along the way if you ever need to learn about cheese.  But in the end, I decided on the gruyere, because it tends to be a bit milder and is more of a blending cheese compared to something like parm.

The most obvious challenge was creating a Gluten Free (GF) version of the ravioli.  Pasta needs gluten to give it elasticity which is crucial in getting it to roll thin enough to use.  Xantham gum is like a magic glue that holds dough together in GF recipes, so I used a lot of it here.  I’ve also learned along the way that mixing a number of flours together generally ensures greater chance of success.  I decided to go with half starches and half flours and keep adding eggs until it looked like dough, and that seemed to be a good approach!

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The Recipe

And here is the recipe – the recipe comes in 4 parts – making the ravioli stuffing, making the ravioli pasta, making the cream sauce, and finally, assembly.  This entire recipe made about 8 servings as I made both regular and GF ravioli, so you may want to scale it down.  I brought the raviolis to my inlaws for Easter this weekend!

Part 1 – Ravioli Stuffing

Ingredients:
2/3 lb. ground veal
1/3 lb. ground pork
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 oz. dried morels
4 tbs. sage
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tbs. marjoram
2 tbs. thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. gruyere cheese
1 egg

Directions:
1. Reconstitute the morels.  This is done by submerging them in warm water for about 10 min.  To do this, I put them in a bowl of warm water, and then stuck a bowl on top of them to keep them submerged.  During this process, the water will become colored from the morels.  Save this water, it will be used in the sauce later.  Once the morels are softened again, chop them up.
2. Rinse and chop up the herbs (Yes, I took out the rosemary flower first).

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3.  Mix the two ground meats together, and add in the chopped herbs and garlic and morels.
4. Cook the sausage in a large saute pot on Med-High, so all the meat is cooked and long enough for the morels to be cooked. Set aside once done, but keep the fat/oil, this will be used in the pasta recipe.
5. Grate the cheese – I have this awesome rotary cheese grater from Pampered Chef, and its totally easier than grating by hand with just a grating board.
6. Mix together the cheese and cooked sausage, and add in an egg.  This mixture will be the stuffing for the ravioli.

Part 2 – Ravioli Pasta (Regular and Gluten Free versions)

Ingredients using regular flour:
1.5 cup flour
2.5 beaten eggs
2 tbs. fat/oil from cooking sausage

Ingredients using gluten free flour:
3 tbs. xantham gum
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
3 eggs
2 tbs. fat/oil from cooking sausage

Directions:
1. If doing gluten free, mix flours together.  Make a mound of the flour on a clean surface, and form a well in the center.
2. Beat the eggs and pour the beaten mixture into the well, along with the fat/oil from cooking the sausage.
3. Gradually add in flour to the egg mixture, until all of the flour is incorporated.  Knead a few times, and then form into a ball.  If doing this gluten free, wrap the ball of pasta dough and let it sit out for a good hour, or it will be really annoying to work with.
4. On a floured surface, roll out ball using a rolling pin, always rolling away from you and rotating the dough to form a round flat dough.  Once about 1/4″ thick, you can now use a pasta machine to finish rolling the dough.  I did not do this for the GF dough, I just cut it into 4 equal pieces and finished the rolling out by hand, just because my pasta machine has had a lot of regular flour and I didn’t want to contaminate my GF pasta, my father in law would not be a happy man if I made him sick!  I used the pasta machine up to setting #6.
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5. Cut the ravioli.  A biscuit cutter works well here, though I actually used the top of a wine glass to cut out my ravioli circles cause I have no biscuit cutter.  If the dough is behaving, you can combine the scraps and reroll the dough to cut more raviolis.
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6. Place a small ball of the ravioli filling in the middle of the ravioli circle (see blurry pic below).  Dab your finger in a little bit of water and wet the edge of the ravioli circle.  Then fold in half and press edges together.  Then seal the ravioli shut by pressing in with the tines of a fork, giving your ravioli a “crimped” appearance.
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Part 3 – Morel and White Wine Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
2 tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups morel “broth”
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 oz. morels
2 tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:
1. Reconstitute the morels just like before.  Use the leftover water here and from Part 1 for your morel “broth”.  Once fully reconstituted, slice them.
2.  Using the same saute pot that the sausage was cooked in, brown the butter on high heat.
3. Deglaze the pan with wine, and then add in the morel “broth” and sliced morels.  Let simmer and reduce until 1/2 cup left.  This is why you need a large saute pot.  If you do this in a regular pot, you will be waiting forever.  Use something with a very large surface area for reducing.  I actually just let this boil for a while so that it would reduce.  The point of reducing is to concentrate the morel flavor in the broth, and give time for the sliced morels to also impart flavor.  This took about 15-20 min.
4.  Once reduced, pour some of the broth into a small bowl.  Add in the cornstarch and mix well, then add back into the saute pot and make sure it blends.  This will help thicken the sauce somewhat.
5. Turn heat down to med or med/low, and add in the cream, stirring constantly.  Let the cream sauce come “just” to a simmer, and it will start to thicken.  This is how you know it is done.

Part 4 – Assembly

Ingredients:
Ravioli
Cream Sauce
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. EVOO
1 sprig of sage for each serving

Directions:
1. Drop ravioli in salted boiling water and let boil for about 6-7 minutes, until the inside is hot and the cheese is melted.  I did this step in batches because I made so many.  GF ravioli were cooked separate from regular ravioli.  Once done, take out of water.
2. Melt butter and EVOO in a small saucepan, and add in the sage.  Let the sage fry in the butter/olive oil mixture 4-5 min. This will be the garnish.
3. To assemble, place about 8 raviolis in a bowl.  Pour about 3 tbs. of cream sauce on top, making sure to include some of the sliced morels from the cream sauce.  I also dotted the bowl with sauce, but I don’t think that looked as pretty as I envisioned it.  The dish doesn’t need to be drowning in sauce.  Just enough to give flavor.  Garnish with fried sage.  Pour yourself a glass of delicious white wine (I recommend a sauvignon blanc, nothing very sweet), serve and eat!

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And yes, I really do love my china :)

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly Jean April 12, 2009 at 11:13 pm

I loooove morels! This sounds seriously fabulous. I can’t wait for when my uncles and I go morel hunting. This will be a MUST TRY for them!!!

P.S. I love your china too 😉

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Jessica April 14, 2009 at 1:55 am

Looks yummy!

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Joelen April 15, 2009 at 12:31 am

What an elegant dish and I love the combo of sausage, sage and morels!

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krystal April 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Yum, I love all kinds of ravoli, and yours has my mouth drooling! I voted for yours, hopefully you win!!!!!!

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Jan April 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm

The ravioli was delicious. It’s not too strong and it is so filling. The cream sauce is the perfect finish.

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Tess Lynch April 17, 2009 at 2:12 am

Jenn, these ravioli are absolutely gorgeous. I came across your site on the Marx Foods contest site (my recipe is for the tartlets) and just wanted to congratulate you on a lovely blog, great recipe and beautiful photos!

Best,
Tess

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Carol April 17, 2009 at 3:44 am

jenn:
Can’t wait to try this recipe, we live in the Central Valley of CA, and should be able to find the morels fresh at the Farmer’s Market. I have great memories of hunting morels with my grandmother Dow at the farm, ask your Dad about the Dow farm in southern Illinois…..Your recipe sounds wonderful, and obviously you are a wonderful chef (like my sister, Linda) to have been able to develop such a delicate dish using Gluten free also…..Carol

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Liena April 18, 2009 at 5:57 am

Looks sounds molto delicioso!!! I love mushrooms, and this dish is absolutely perfect for me. It looks like a lot of thought and love was put into it – I do hope you win!

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lo April 18, 2009 at 6:06 am

Jenn – Just got around to checking all the submissions for the MarxFoods Challenge. These ravioli look absolutely fab… and gluten free to boot!!?? You’re the bomb.

Great food… great photos! Will be back to track your blog often!

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dana April 18, 2009 at 6:11 am

Do you make the ravioli and cook them? If not how do you preserve the ravioli to cook later that day or another time?
I recently prepared ravioli, stored them and when I went to cook them they were mush. I hope you have a great solution.

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Jenn April 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Hi Dana –

In this case, I made them a day ahead of time, and kept them in the fridge to cook them the next day (well, except for the ones I cooked for myself right after I was done making them!). You are right, fresh ravioli will get a bit soggy if you leave it in the fridge for too long, because the stuffing will make the pasta a bit mushy – one day was fine, i think two would’ve been ok, but definitely not longer than that.

Instead, to store them for a longer period of time, I would do the same thing that I would do with say, fresh gnocchi – line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay them out on the sheet, so they aren’t touching. Then place the sheet in the freezer – once they are all individually frozen, then you can put them in a freezer safe container to keep there until you are ready to use. Freezing them in this way will keep them from becoming one big frozen clump when you are ready to take them out.

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Justin April 19, 2009 at 4:08 am

So Adelle sent me to look at this recipe. It seems like a really classic countryside recipe from France. I absolutely love the morels and sauce. Next time I can get my hands on some fresh morels (which might not be until I get back to the States next year) I think I will try this out.

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smallkitchenbigideas April 20, 2009 at 1:02 am

Gruyere sounds like it would be perfect in the ravioli. The morel sauce also sounds fantastic.

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mary jo April 21, 2009 at 1:20 am

hi jenn…

i am aunt jackie’s sister and just voted for you!

the dish seems wonderfully filling yet not overly heavy as some pastas can be…..

who has taught you?

do you watch the food network?
have a favorite show/cook?

good luck,
mary jo

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Diane-thewholegang June 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm

WOW, these looks spectacular! Thank you for including a gluten free version. I wonder what a dairy free version with coconut mile would taste like? Hmm. I think I might have to find out. Thank you for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix.

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gfe-gluten free easily June 7, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Very, very impressive!!

Shirley

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abby June 14, 2009 at 8:54 am

what a fabulous filling – i can almost taste it!

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