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Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Stuffed Ravioli with Melted Tomatoes

We had invited some friends over who just love Italy and Italian food, so I thought an Italian dish would be appropriate for the occasion.

Photography by Robert Demetrius

For the fresh ravioli:
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup of flour for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons olive oil
4½ tablespoons water
1 gallon and 2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt

For the chicken and Portobello filling:
6 ounces ground chicken
3 ounces Portobello mushrooms, finely diced
3 ounces Marsala
2 ounces onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 large basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
¼ cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the sauce:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
handful fresh basil, cut in chiffonade
32 ounces diced canned tomatoes, drained
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

Browning Ground Chicken
Heat a skillet at medium heat before adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brown 6 ounces of ground chicken, seasoned with ¾ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper 
Ground Mince with Garlic, Onions, Thyme and Diced Portobello Mushrooms
and 2 tablespoons fresh thyme for 2 minutes before adding 2 ounces finely diced onions, 1 teaspoon garlic finely chopped and 3 ounces finely diced Portobello mushrooms for a further 2½ minutes. 
Deglazing with Marsala Wine
Then deglaze with 3 ounces Marsala wine for 1½ minutes, making sure that you scrape all the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan. Toss in 1 tablespoon bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese as well as 1 tablespoon of olive oil just to keep the mixture moist while it cools and take the skillet off the burner. Mix all ingredients well together and put aside to cool, as we will be putting the mixture in the food processor or chopper later on.

Drain two 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes. Leave them to drain until you are ready to use. Do not discard the tomato juice as you can use it for another dish, on another day.

Before commencing with the ravioli dough, prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper so that once the dough is done, you can put the cut out pieces of dough on the sheet.
Mound of Flour
Now to the ravioli dough, while the filling is still cooling down. On a clean surface, measure out 2 cups of all purpose flour, mixing in 2 teaspoons of salt and mound on a flat surface.  
Well filled with Eggs and Olive Oil
Form a well in the middle of the mound, so it looks a bit like a bowl so that you can pour in all the wet ingredients. Crack 2 eggs into the well, add 2 teaspoons olive oil and 4½ tablespoons water. 
Incorporating Flour into Wet Ingredients
Use a fork to whisk the wet ingredients, slowly allowing the flour to gradually incorporate into the mixture until it becomes sticky and heavy and are able to knead the dough with your hands. 
Wet Ingredients Nearly Completely Incorporated with Flour
Continue to knead until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water, but just a little at a time.
Kneading Dough
Put the dough, covered, on the side for a few minutes while you finish the filling. First clean the surface, scraping off all the dried bits of flour if necessary. Use some of the ¼ cup of flour, that was set aside, to dust the surface, just before you start rolling out the dough.
Pulsing Chicken and Mushroom Mixture
The mixture should be cooled by now, so spoon into the food processor or chopper and pulse until you have a fine paste like consistency. 
Adding Remaining Breadcrumbs and Parmesan Cheese
Add the remaining breadcrumbs, Parmesan and 4 large basil leaves that should be roughly chopped. 
Adding Heavy Cream and Egg Mixture

Blend together ¼ cup of heavy cream and 1 egg then pour into the mixture and mix well. The filling is now ready to be used.

Take the dough that has been resting and place on the flour dusted surface and cut into 4 pieces, as it is easier rolling smaller pieces.
Rolling Out Dough
Take a piece of the dough, pressing it flat with the heel of your hand, then roll out the dough, with a rolling pin as thin as you possibly can. Place the other three pieces to the side, making sure you cover them so that they don’t dry out.
Cutting Pasta Pieces
Once the dough is completely rolled out, as thin as you possibly can, use a cookie cutter that is about 2½ inches in diameter and cut out the pasta pieces. Place the pieces on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and start with the next batch, until they are all done.
Pasta on the Parchment Lined Cookie Sheet
I did two batches of dough, then filled them and created my chicken and Portobello mushroom stuffed ravioli then continued with the other two batches. The cookie sheet couldn’t hold all the cut out dough at once, so I did it in batches.

Each piece of dough should yield about 13 pieces of pasta.
Filling the Pasta
Take a piece of pasta, wet the edges with water then add a heaping teaspoon of filling, then cover with another piece of pasta. 
Closing Ravioli Edges with a Fork
Taking your thumb and index finger, gently press the two pieces together, then take a fork and press the edges close and your ravioli is done. Continue until all the dough and filling is done. 
Stuffed Ravioli
Keep on the cookie sheet until ready to drop into the boiling water.

In a nice large pot, pour 1 gallon and 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. That should take about 20 -25 minutes, so while the water is heating, start with the melted tomatoes. By now, the tomatoes should be well drained. Measure out 32 ounces of drained tomatoes. You may have some tomatoes left over so you can pour it back in the juice and place in the fridge.
Heating Olive Oil Slowly with Garlic
In a large skillet, pour ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic and heat slowly at low heat, as you want to infuse the oil with the garlic, but not burn the garlic.

Grab about 3 to 4 sprigs of basil and remove the leaves from the stems, that should give you a nice handful of basil, which you will need to cut in chiffonade, just before serving. Do not discard the stems, as you will need them.
Drained Tomatoes Seasoned with Salt and Basil Stems
Once you have finished separating the leaves from the stems, turn the heat up to medium low until you see the garlic starting to get golden which will only be a few seconds, then carefully pour in 32 ounces of drained diced tomatoes and mix well with the hot garlic oil. Add the 3 or 4 stems of the basil to the tomatoes so that while the tomatoes are melting away in the garlic oil, it is also being infused with the basil.  Season the tomatoes with ½ teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Water Boiling
The water should be boiling now. Add the ravioli and cook for about 6 -7 minutes. 
Dropping Ravioli into Boiling Water
The ravioli will initially fall to the bottom of the pot and then float to the top. 
Ravioli Floating to the top
Since the pasta was done by hand, not all pieces will be exactly the same thickness and therefore you will need to check around the 4 - 5 minute mark. Just use a fork to stick the edges and if it is hard, you know you will need a bit more time.
Melted Tomatoes with Basil
While the ravioli is cooking, take the basil leaves, cutting them in chiffonade.
Remove the basil stems from the melted tomatoes and turn off the burner. Toss in the basil chiffonade.
Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Stuffed Ravioli with Melted Tomatoes
Use a slotted spoon to take out the ravioli and place 4 or 5 on each plate and spoon and mound of melted tomatoes in the middle of the plate. I also drizzled some olive oil over the ravioli.
It's time to have a bite!
You can also put the ravioli in the skillet with the melted tomatoes and toss gently, then spoon on a plate.
Voilà. Another easy home cooked dish that is so satisfying. Serves 4 to 6, depending on how hungry you are. I served 4 on each plate and my guests came back for more! Serve with a nice bottle of Italian wine. You can also end this wonderful dinner with a few scoops of gelato or sorbetto for dessert. Buon appetito!

sandy axelrod  – (May 10, 2011 at 6:10 PM)  

Oh my this looks so good! This recipe is a must try for me. Great photos showing the entire process step by step.

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