Pecorino, Pecan & Mushroom Ravioli, rich and decadent for a dull and uncertain January weekend. Let these intense earthy parcels transport you on pillows to pasta heaven!
For years I worked at a factory in Warrington preparing Italian ready meals. I worked a various number of shifts, the graveyard shift being the worst( 6 in the evening until 2 am the next morning) 5 days a week. Known as ‘The Pasta Factory’ this is probably the place where I gained some of my most valuable life lessons. At the time, I can honestly say I hated it. People asked me why I stayed doing something I disliked so much… I guess it came down to options – at that time I didn’t have many…
As if Warrington wasn’t bad enough I also worked in another Pasta Factory, Barton-Upon Humber near Hull… this was also grim, but not nearly so bad as the Pork Pie factory in Wellingborough…but that’s another story!
It’s fair to say I’ve moved around a lot during my life-time and whilst those long, gruelling factory night shifts were not sustainable the friendships I made in those places were. Joined together by a collective crap experience, thrown from all walks of life, stood opposite each other for 8, 12 hours solid, repeating a task really helps you understand a person and get to know what makes them tick. I learned all of my people skills on the cold, wet, concrete factory floor including my ability to make pasta, although on a somewhat scaled down version.
Now that I’m not involved in producing nearly 12 tonnes per day, I can finally face making it! No more bulk, cheap ingredients feeding the masses, instead focusing on a few simple quality ingredients.
For me what can turn a simple pasta dish into something truly sensational depends on the cheese you choose! Skip the cheddar, go for something special. Find a market, a deli, somewhere that sells something a little different. For this recipe, I used a black truffle based pecorino, heavy, rich, creamy and salty, Perfect to pack a punch to these delicate pasta parcels.
Best eaten with good friends in times of uncertainty, on cold, dull days when you cant see the end in sight – this helps! ( well it helps me!).
For the PASTA RECIPIE
- 60g dried porcini mushrooms
- Basil flavoured olive oil for frying and drizzling
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 150g chestnut mushrooms, half slice, half very finely chopped
- 100g ricotta
- 50g pecans
- 50g black truffle pecorino (or another type of hard Italian cheese)
- To prepare the filling.
- Soak the dried porcini in 140ml freshly boiled water for 10 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat with a glug of oil and fry the onion until soft
- Add the crushed garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, drain and finely chop the porcini (discard the soaking water), add to the pan.
- Turn up the heat add the chopped chesnut mushrooms to the mix, fry until they start to colour.
- Turn off the heat and cool.
- Stir in the ricotta
- Grate in the black truffle pecorino and bring the mixture together
- Taste and season.
- Using the prepared pasta, fill the parcels with the mix and rest for 5 minutes.
- Boil a large pan of salted water, turn down to a rolling simmer
- Carefully add the ravioli to the water and cook for 4-5 minutes (depending on size)
- Place the pecans in a bag and crush with the end of a rolling pin
- Add the pecans and sliced mushrooms to a hot pan, fry gently in olive oil or basil flavoured oil.
- Carefully remove the ravioli from the boiling water( do not attemt to drain!)
- Scatter the mushroom and peacn mix over the ravioli and drizzle a small amount of basil oil.
- Season with pepper and the remaining grated black truffle pecorino