Thursday, 18 March 2010

Adventures in chaos.

Or, how to not want to see your kitchen (and your dining table) for the rest of the day.

Make ravioli from scratch. Because hubby brought semolina flour home and asked for them nicely. While I had never made fresh pasta before.

I made the pasta dough following the flour packet instructions. That was pretty foolproof. In the 20 minutes that I was instructed to "let it rest" I proceeded to make stuffing. Hubby wanted pork, I wanted mushrooms, he said "ok, I'll have mushrooms as long as I don't get their texture".

Fine, I said, I'll have to dig up the food processor that barely makes 2 cups of stuff.

I started with the pork. Whoa, it did grind. I had ground pork. Wheee!! Then, I did the mushrooms. They didn't pulverize very much, but I thought that once I'd cook them and get their liquid out they'll shrink, and if they won't shrink enough, I'll pass them through the processor again. Big deal.

So I'm cooking the mushrooms with a bit of canola oil and the pork in its own fat with a bit of garlic and thyme. It was a lovely exercise for my biceps and triceps cause for some reason although the meat was thoroughly ground, it wouldn't separate much into the pan. Frustration, cursing, and employment of two spatulas to beat the pork to submission. Finally, it cooked, but in big chunks.

Then I had the epiphany of passing both the pork and the mushrooms through the processor together. I had to do that in small batches since the thing was so damn small. My counter was covered with crumb like stuff from both ingredients but I ended up with about 2 cups of stuffing, out of 1 pound of baby portobellos and 2 pork chops. Phew!

About 25 mins have passed, and I'm totally angsting that the dough will now resemble brick. I open the ziplock and lo and behold, the dough looks good. I thank an assortment of random deities, then proceed to roll the dough.

I don't have a rolling pin. However, I have lots of bottles of wine. The best for the job is the thin and slim bottle of that Chocolate Amore, remember it? I flour it mercilessly, flour a rather large IKEA plastic tray and start rolling on my dining table because the counter space in my kitchen is covered with all kinds of bowls, spatulas and mushrooms stains.

The dough is too much and I can't roll w'out hitting the bottle against the tray. Bang, bang, curse, curse. I divide my dough and employ a smiple cutting board instead. I roll the first batch of dough about 2 mm thick. It's too thick but I have a cunning plan.

I take my pizza roller and cut my dough in diamonds. Each diamond gets further rolling till almost transparent, then gets half a tablespoon of stuffing and is folded closed. I let a lot of pasta around the filling cause I like it that way and I am hoping it's not too chewy.

The dough I made with 1.5 cup of flour, 2 eggs and some oil and water was enough for about 35 raviolis. By the end of stuffing them all my back was killing me, my triceps were screaming for mercy and I had sniffed more flour than I care to admit. Most ravioli are a bit lopsided but I'm glad I didn't end up with runny dough, or brick dough, or stuffing that wasn't paste-y enough, and so on.

I had some stuffing left, which I added to a small can of seasoned tomato sauce in a pan over medium heat with a sprinkle of sugar.

I boiled the little buggers in batches of 2 or 3 for a couple of minutes each batch. They were pretty tasty. It was like eating mushroom with ground beef texture - interesting to say the least. I might invest in a KitchenAid ravioli attachment in the future cause once you go fresh pasta you never go back, unless it's a matter of speed cooking!


Tinsie said...

What a saga! I'd have just bought the damn things in the supermarket. But hey, each to their own and all that ;-)

BTW I'd love to see the Chocolate Amore rolling pin. Got any photos?

Oh and something else: couldn't you have used pork mince for the meat stuffing?

Marg, the Sal. said...

Haha, no photos of the Chocolate Amore rolling pin, just imagine the bottle covered with flour!

The challenge with buying ravioli from the store is to find a filling that hubby will eat. Add to that the fact that boredom makes for going crazy with a really demanding project.

As for pork mince, yes, I could' ve used it, but as it happened I had the pork chops handy so might as well use them! The processing took only a few seconds and the final product was no much different than the minced you'd buy at the store.