I have fond memories of this recipe. I was in Tuscany, at Villa San Michele, working in the cookery school. On a glorious autumn day, we visited the market with the guest students to appreciate the abundance of local and fresh fruits. Some beautiful freshly picked fat ceps caught my eye and this little dish was created the same day.
The pasta can be prepared a day in advance and kept tightly wrapped in cling film in the fridge. The ravioli can be assembled a few hours in advance and reserved on a plate dusted with semolina to prevent sticking, ready for cooking.
Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a starter
Preparation: 1 hour, plus 1¼“1½ hours resting
Cooking: 4 mins
Special equipment: food processor, pasta machine, 8cm round cutter
For the pasta:
200g pasta flour (type 00)1
1 tbsp water 5g sea salt 2 organic/free-range medium eggs
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the filling:
15g unsalted butter ½ medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
300g ceps2, trimmed, cleaned and cut into 3mm dice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of ¼ lemon, or to taste
For the sauce:
10g pine nuts
40g unsalted butter
2“3 ceps, trimmed, cleaned and sliced
4 sage leaves, finely chopped
Fried sage leaves, (optional)
To make the pasta dough:
Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and process for about 1 minute until the dough is just coming together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until perfectly smooth. Shape into a ball, then flatten roughly to the width of your pasta machine. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest3 in the fridge for 1 hour.
To prepare the filling:
Melt the butter in a medium sautÃ© pan over a low heat, add the shallot and cook gently for 2 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the diced ceps and cook over a high heat, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice to taste. Cool down on a tray in the fridge.
To roll out the pasta:
Fix your pasta machine to the side of a table. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin to the width of the machine. Cut it in half and roll one piece through the machine, on the thickest setting4. Seal the two ends together to make a conveyor belt and continue to roll the pasta, gradually narrowing the setting until you reach the thinnest setting for ravioli on your machine5. Repeat with the other piece, then lay, interleaved with cling film, on a tray in the fridge6.
To fill the pasta:
Lay one pasta sheet on a clean surface. Lightly put teaspoonfuls of the filling in mounds at 6cm intervals along the middle of the sheet. Ensure that a gap of 3cm is maintained between each mound. Take the second sheet and drape it loosely over, pressing around the mounds of filling with the back of your thumbs to seal and expel any air bubbles.
To shape the ravioli:
Now cover the filled pasta with a sheet of cling film. Using the inverted 8cm cutter, press down over the cling film around the filling mounds to neaten the shape. Turn the cutter the right way up and cut out the ravioli. Reserve on a cling film-lined tray to prevent the pasta from sticking.
To make the sauce:
Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3. Scatter the hazelnuts and pine nuts on a baking tray, keeping them separate, and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then lightly crush the hazelnuts.
To cook the pasta:
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the ravioli for 4 minutes exactly. Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the butter to the noisette stage7 and quickly sautÃ© the sliced ceps for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the chopped sage, toasted pine nuts and hazelnuts, and water to create an emulsion.
Drain the ravioli, add to the sauce and toss carefully, then arrange in warmed bowls. Top with the fried sage leaves, if using, and serve.
The fillings for ravioli are endless. Roasted pumpkin, diced courgettes with basil and tomato, crushed pea and mint “ these are just a few delicious options.
1 For pasta you need a high gluten flour to give the dough elasticity. Durum wheat flour is by far the best, lending a wonderful texture to your pasta.
2 If you are unable to find fresh ceps you could use flat cup or field mushrooms and enrich them with a little dried cep powder, which is available from delicatessens and good supermarkets.
3 By kneading the pasta dough you will activate the gluten in the flour; this will cause the pasta to retract if it is not allowed to rest thereafter.
4 When rolling out the dough, ideally use no flour, or as little as possible, as it will be absorbed. Too much flour will make the pasta glutinous once cooked.
5 Ensure that the pasta is no thicker than 1mm. If it is any thicker it will be doughy and unpleasant.
6 Again it is important to allow the pasta to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes after working it through the pasta machine.
7 The butter will start to foam at about 130°C, turning hazelnut in colour at 150“155°C; i.e. the required beurre noisette stage.