Portobello mushroom and chèvre stuffed spinach ravioli with walnuts and blackened leek crisps

by Allan Rivlin on February 10, 2010

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This dish is hand rolled and stuffed spinach raviolis topped with the walnuts and leek crisps, which are kind of like potato chips made out of burnt leeks, in a white wine and walnut oil sauce.  Leave out the chèvre, butter, and parmesan and the dish is vegan.  This dish is hard work, no doubt, but it’s worth it.  Allow about an hour for making the raviolis and an hour for everything else.  This is slow food for sure.

2 cups flour

6 oz fresh or frozen chopped spinach

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup walnut oil

1 large onion

1 large Portobello mushroom head (or several smaller mushrooms)

1 large leek

4 cloves of garlic

2 Tablespoons fresh or dried oregano

2 Tablespoons fresh or dried basil

1 cup chopped walnuts

12 ounces of goat cheese, chèvre

1 1/2 cup of fine white wine 

Make the dough

Bring spinach and 1 cup of water to a boil and then allow to cool.  Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and mix adding more flour slowly until stiff enough to start kneading.   Keep adding up to a cup of flour slowly until the dough becomes dry enough that it needs no more flour.  Coat the dough with a little olive oil and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes. 

Make the filling

Finely chop the onion and mushrooms, and 4 cloves of garlic and cook in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon fresh or dried oregano, and 1 Tablespoon fresh or dried basil and 3 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Sauté on low heat stirring often, long enough to get out most of the moisture (about 15 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Reserve ¼ of the mixture to add to the sauce.  Smash the chèvre into gravel sized pieces and add it to the remaining ¾ of the filling.  Stir, but not too much.  It is not necessary to homogenize the mixture.

Make the ravioli

Cut the dough into 5 parts.  Liberally flour the workspace and roll out one piece of dough. The trick to rolling out dough is to use just a little pressure at first, flip and turn the dough 90 degrees often and liberally keep adding flour to both sides each time you flip and turn.  Ideally you are trying for a rectangle roughly 12 inches by 18 inches, which you can then cut into three roughly 4″ by 18″ strips.  If you get a different shape, then modify or get creative.  All we are trying to do is wrap the filling in the dough which sticks to itself when wet. You will also need to get creative with folding or make patches out of scrap dough to deal with the problem ravioli. 
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Place six dollops of filling across each strip just above the point where the single lines cross in the diagram.  Paint lines of water with a brush or your finger where the double lines are.  Fold the bottom of each strip up to meet the top covering each dollop.  Line up the edges and gently press along all of the edges and between the dollops.  Then cut between each ravioli and use your fingers and eyes to ensure that each is completely sealed up.  Dust the raviolis in flour so they don’t stick together or to the plate they will sit on until ready to boil. 

Roll out the next portion of the dough and keep working.  Make about 12 raviolis per person (includes seconds.)  Raviolis can be allowed to dry while waiting for the sauce to come together and they can be bagged and frozen for the future.

About now you will want to have a large pot of water coming toward a boil to cook the raviolis.  

Make the sauce

Combine 4 Tablespoons butter with ¼ cup olive oil, and ¼ cup walnut oil, the reserved quarter of the filling mixture, and ¾ cup of the same white wine you will serve with dinner, and 1 teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon fresh or dried oregano, and 1 Tablespoon fresh or dried basil in a saucepan on medium low heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally.  Do not allow to burn or bubble.  Remove from heat and bring back to temperature when the pasta is ready. 

Make the Leek Crisps

Carefully cut off the ends of one large leek.  Then wash and cut and wash again until you have lots of clean long pieces that are ideally about 6 inches long by ⅛ to ¼ inch wide.  Wash the pieces again (leaks are so dirty).  Toss the pieces in 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and 1 Table spoon Kosher salt (or table salt).  Spread on a cooking sheet or baking pan.  Broil for a few minutes until the leeks start to blacken.  Use a pair of forks to toss, spread out and broil again.  Then add 1 cup of chopped walnuts and broil again for 3 minutes or less.

Cook the ravioli and plate

Drop 1 to 2 dozen ravioli at a time into boiling salted water.  Gently stir from the bottom to ensure none are sticking and push down the floaters once or twice to ensure they are cooked on all sides.  After three minutes, they are done ready to be strained with a slotted spoon and plated.  Put 7 to 12 per plate and cover with a generous amount of the leeks and nuts, and several spoonfuls of the sauce.  Cover with grated parmesan cheese.     

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