Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Venison and chanterelle stuffed ravioli with creamy chanterelle sauce.

Girls will be girls!  Who can resist a phone call from your girlfriend telling you she saw a great sale?  However this sale was not for shoes, but for chanterelle mushrooms.  Pretty rare treat around here and an ingredient that I would rarely pass up.  So when a too-early winter storm derailed my weekend wine trip plans, I was only happy to spend the Saturday cooking.  It also gave an opportunity to finally make a few things that are really too time consuming for a regular weekend cooking and too complex for a large dinner party.  The menu was designed to highlight the chanterelle mushrooms as much as possible and allow me to practice my pasta making… and I do need practice.  I also bought some beautiful, hand pulled mozzarella, that was still hot when I got it that morning, so I chose to keep thing really simple, stick to few dishes ( who knew I can do that?) and let the good quality ingredients speak for themselves.

For the pasta.
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tbs of olive oil

For the ravioli stuffing
1 lb of ground venison (can be substituted with beef; however I would change the spices)
¼ lb of chanterelle mushrooms
2 small shallots
2 cloves of garlic minced
½ tbs of juniper berries
1 tbs of fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs of butter
Salt and pepper

For the chanterelle cram sauce
1 lb of chanterelle mushrooms
½ cup of sundried tomatoes
1 small onion diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs of butter
2 tbs of flour
2 cups of dry white wine
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup of half-and-half
½ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

Make the pasta dough.  By hand or in the standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine flour, eggs and olive oil and knead until the dough is smooth.  Add a few tbs of cold water if the dough seems to dry.  Wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for a few hrs or overnight.

When ready to make the pasta, prepare the filling.  Crush the juniper berries and rosemary leaves together in the mortar, getting the spices as fine crushed as you can.  Season the venison with the herb mixture, salt and pepper.  Set aside. 

In a heavy bottom skillet, heat the olive oil and butter and sauté minced shallots, garlic and chanterelles, until tender.  Set aside. 

In the same skillet, brown the venison and mix in the onion, chanterelle mixture.  Let cool before filling the pasta with the mixture.

Roll out the dough as thin as your pasta making skills will let you.  It should be thick enough not to tear and thin enough not to be heavy.  I used the Kitchen Aid Pasta attachment on 4 and found it just a bit too thick.  Fill and stamp the ravioli. 

These can then be cooked right away or frozen between the layers of wax paper.

When ready to make the sauce, heat the olive oil, sauté the onion, garlic until translucent.  Add the chanterelles and thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes.  Cook the mixture until the tomatoes are soft and chanterelles start to become creamy.  Reduce heat, add the butter and flour and cook the flour for a few minutes to make the rue.  Add white wine and stock.  Season with salt and pepper and let reduce on low heat by about a third.  When the sauce begins to thicken up, add cream or half-and-half and the parmesan cheese.  Re-season as needed, keep warm while boiling the pasta, which should only be boiled for 1 min and placed in the sauce to finish the cooking.

While you are cooking, you and your guests can nibble on some fresh mozzarella drizzled with Anchovy Pesto sauce.  The secret to keeping great tasting mozzarella tasting great is to never serve it cold.

Don’t forget to serve good wine.  This special 2007 Ventimiglia Merlot went well with the creamy rich sauce

Serve the ravioli garnished with more sautéed chanterelles and parsley.

And for desert, something ridiculously good, such as this caramel chocolate tart from David Lebovitz.  I swear, this is the best chocolate tart I ever made.
I am not ready for the winter quite yet, but this rich and decadent meal eaten by the fireplace reminded me that even winter can offer up some peaceful and pleasurable moments.

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