Challenge Morel! Sausage, Sage and Morel Ravioli

by Jenn on April 11, 2009

in Gluten Free,Meats,Pastas and Grains


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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!


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

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

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).

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

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.
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.
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.

Part 3 – Morel and White Wine Cream Sauce

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

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

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

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!



And yes, I really do love my china :)