Friday, June 10, 2011

Ravioli with Chicken Filling in Tomato Sauce

Chicken Ravioli with Shimeiji Mushrooms in Rich Tomato Sauce

My hubby's colleague bought us a pasta cookbook, "The Essential Pasta Cookbook" as a gift for our house-warming many years ago.  I had flipped through the book numerous times looking at the beautiful pictures of pasta and occasionally attempted a few recipes.  But most of the time, the book just sit nicely in the bookshelf.  For me, cooking pasta means buying ready-packets of dried spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine or farfalla - cook them in hot boiling water with salt for about 10 minutes (not too al dente please, cos I prefer it softer) and toss the pasta in a rich flavourful tomato sauce.  

Preparing the "oriental" style of minced chicken filling for the ravioli

A few days ago, I picked up this pasta cookbook again and started flipping through as usual.  This time, I was attracted to the cute little pasta parcels - ravioli.  I have tried ravioli dishes in restaurants before, but I generally find the filling too cheesy for my liking.  And buying fresh ravioli in our local supermarkets is like day-light robbery.  Hey, how about making my own ravioli, so I can wrap my favorite filling in it!  Making and rolling the dough sound quite fun too  ^_^   No fanciful kitchen equipment or tools needed.  I just hand-knead the dough for about 8 minutes, let it rest and roll out the dough using a rolling pin.

Making the pasta dough by hand


To make the chicken filling:
The filling that I prepared is towards Chinese style - I added oyster sauce and sesame oil as seasonings.  You can prepare whatever fillings to suit to your preference, just make sure that it is not too wet, or the pasta sheet may turn soggy.

Mix together: 
  250g minced chicken
  2 tbsp fried streaky bacon
  1 tbsp fried shallots
  1 slice sandwich cheese, tear into small pieces
  3 to 4 tbsp chopped spring onion
  Small knot of ginger, finely minced
  2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Add seasonings:
  1 tbsp oyster sauce
  1/2 tbsp cooked shallot oil
  1 tsp sesame oil
  1/2 beaten egg (or less)
  1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  Dash of pepper

Mix ingredients together, add seasonings and mix till well-combined.  Cover and keep chill in fridge till ready to use.

To make the pasta dough

(makes 4 servings)

300g plain flour
3 eggs
30ml olive oil (2 tbsp)
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp water (if dough is dry)

1) Mix flour and salt in a big mixing bowl (you can mix it on a work surface) and make a well in the centre.
2) Break the eggs into the well and add the oil.  Using a fork, whisk the eggs and oil together, incorporating a little flour as you do so.
3) Gradually blend the flour with the eggs.  When the mixture becomes too hard to combine with a fork, use your hands to mix.  Turn the dough on a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes till you have a smooth dough.  Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover it with clingwrap or tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Note: It is important to rest the dough, so that the dough will be soft and easy to handle.

To assemble the ravioli

1) Lightly dust the work surface with flour.  Divide the dough into 3 or 4 portions (depends on how big is your work surface).  Take a portion and roll it into very thin sheet (using a rolling pin or pasta machine).  Keep the other portions covered as you work on the first pasta sheet.  

2) Use a pizza cutter (or a knife or pastry cutter) to trim the pasta into a rectangular sheet.  For me, I trim each sheet into roughly 20cm x 35cm, then make a cut horizontally to get 2 rectangular sheets (approximately 10cm x 35cm).  I estimate each ravioli to be 5cm square (will be smaller after final trimming).  Hence, each batch will yield around 2 x 7 = 14 ravioli.  

3) Spoon equal amount of filling, evenly spaced, on the sheet.  Brush beaten egg between the filling and gently flip the pastry sheet over to cover the filling.  Run your fingers between the fillings to press and seal, while doing it, gently press to release air bubbles trapped in the ravioli.

4) Use your pizza cutter or pastry wheel to cut in between the fillings.  Transfer ravioli to baking trays (or large plates), lined with baking papers and keep in fridge while working on the other batches.

5) Combine the cut-out excess dough and roll it again to repeat steps 2 to 4.  

Note: Keep the ravioli in single layer (i.e. do not stack them together) to prevent them from sticking together. 

To make the tomato sauce
You can use ready-bottled pasta sauce for this, but making your own pasta sauce is tastier and is not that difficult at all.  I usually make a big batch and freeze the leftover in small tubs.

(4 servings)

3 slices streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 pieces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional) - gives a rich tomato taste
2 to 3 pieces anchovy fillets (optional) - gives a nice flavour to the pasta sauce 
2 large tomatoes, chopped
400ml canned tomato puree
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Heat some oil in pan.  Add the streaky bacon and fry till light golden brown.  Add the chopped onion and stir till tender.  Add the chopped garlic, followed by sun-dried tomatoes and anchovies.  When aromatic, turn up the heat and add in the chopped tomatoes and mixed herbs.  Give the mixture a few stir, then pour in the tomato puree and about one cup of water (adjust amount to get the desired thickness).  Transfer the tomato sauce to a pot, cover and let it simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: For a vegetarian-based tomato sauce, omit the bacon and anchovies.  Add some sliced button mushrooms instead.  

Rolling, filling, sealing, trimming,cooking and finally.... ENJOY the ravioli

To cook the pasta

Ravioli with Shimeiji Mushrooms in Tomato Sauce:
1) Bring a pot of water to rapid boil.  Add salt and cook the ravioli (if smaller pot, cook in batches).  Gently stir the ravioli to ensure they do not stick together.  Cover and let it boil for about 8 to 10 minutes (depends on the thickness of your pasta sheet).  Personally, the thinner the pasta sheet, it tastes better.

2) While the ravioli is bubbling in the pot, heat up the pan till very hot.  Add a little oil and saute some shimeiji mushrooms.  Toss it for 1 to 2 minutes till tender.  Add some garlic and toss again.  Add a few ladle of tomato sauce into the hot pan (hear the sizzling sound and smell the wonderful aroma!).  Lower the heat and let it simmer for two minutes.  

3) Scoop the ravioli from the pot and stir them (or toss) in the pan to combine with the tomato sauce.  Add a handful of chopped spring onion or parsley.  Give it another stir and serve immediately.  If you like, sprinkle some shaved Parmesan cheese on top.

Note:  Alternatively, cook the shimeiji mushrooms together with the tomato sauce, and simply pour the hot tomato sauce over the cooked ravioli.  I prefer to stir fry the shimeiji mushrooms with garlic separately, for better aroma (or wok hei in Cantonese lingo).

A June holiday activity?
Seem like a lot of work to prepare ravioli?  It's a one-dish meal, so instead of having to prepare a few other dishes, you use the time to make just one dish.  Plus, we are having our June school holiday now.  Why not use this as a family-bonding activity?  Your kids will have fun preparing the various fillings and making their own ravioli.  I bet they will have the tastiest ravioli ever!  

East Meets West ...
I did not use up my pasta dough for the ravioli.  Can you guess what dish did I cook with my leftover dough?

I will be sharing this recipe with Cuisine Paradise at her hosted event, June $20 Budget Meal - Noodles.

Estimated cost to prepare the above meal (serves 4):
Minced chicken ($1.20) + streaky bacon ($1.50) + cheese ($0.40) + eggs ($0.80) + flour ($0.80) + sun-dried tomatoes/anchovies ($1.50) + tomatoes ($0.40) + tomato puree ($1.20) + shimeiji mushroom ($$0.80) + spring onion/onion/garlic etc ($1.00)

Total cost: S$9.60


  1. I love your twist on this Italian fare.
    I on the other hand enjoy the cheesiness :)

  2. I definitely going to try this


  3. WOwow!! Yes yes!! I sure try these!! Makes me drool while looking at the recipe :p


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