Tuesday, 30 December 2008

First experimentation with the new pasta machine - Foie Gras Ravioli with Pumpkin Veloute

Foie gras is a very traditional thing to eat at Christmas time in France and (at least southern) Switzerland. Last year I made tiny little foie gras and red onion tartlets (which I completely failed to photograph, how bad am I?) and this year I thought I would put my new pasta making machine to work and make foie gras ravioli.

I started with a basic egg pasta dough:

300g fine white flour
3 eggs

Place the flour in a heap on the work bench, and make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the centre and then using your fingertips work the flour into the eggs. This is the really fun messy bit. Once incorporated, knead the dough, if necessary adding just a drop of water or two to get a good workable consistency. How long to knead? Till the dough stops feeling sort of grainy and starts feeling smooth. Wrap up in plastic wrap and let sit for at least half an hour.

Break the dough into two pieces (leaving one wrapped up) and set your pasta machine to the widest aperture. flatten the ball of dough out a bit so it can fit through and feed it through by cranking the handle on the machine. Once fed through, fold it in half and feed it through again. If the dough kind of catches on the rollers and has a rough knobbly surface, smooth just a little flour on to the dough before folding and feed through again. Do this 6 or 7 times... I promise you will know when it is done as your pasta dough will be smooth and silky.

Then take the machine in a step and feed the pasta through again. In another notch and feed again... You might find you now have an unmanageably large length of dough; if so, cut it in half and put one half under a damp clean dishcloth while you deal with the other half. Keep taking the machine in a notch and feeding the pasta through until you have the finest sheet you can get. Don't worry if the edges are not perfect!

Stage 2: the Ravioli
1 bloc du foie gras (about 200g)
1 batch egg pasta dough

If you are making square or triangular ravioli you can simply place the sheet on the bench, brush it with water, put your ingredients on top, lay another sheet on top of that, and then press together and cut out the ravioli. In my case I wanted to make something a little more festive, so I cut out heart shapes. Then I (and my handsome assistant) brushed the edges of one heart with water and then placed pieces of bloc du foie gras on the pastry, leaving a good edge of pastry. We then placed another heart of pasta on top and pinched around the edges firmly.

Sprinkle the hearts with flour to stop them sticking together then spread out on a tray and pop them in the freezer. Once frozen you can put them into a ziplock bag and keep them that way until ready to use.

Stage 3: Pumpkin Veloute

1 medium onion, finely diced
1 butternut pumpkin (aka squash)
1 tsp caster sugar
drizzle of olive oil
1 litre of chicken stock.

In a large pan, soften the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the cubed pumpkin and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Stir the cubed pumpkin over medium heat until the pumpkin is browned and the sugar has caramelised. Pour over the chicken stock and raise the heat to bring to the boil. Simmer until the pumpkin has cooked completely then put through a ricer, after which you can use a stick blender to blend to a velvety smooth veloute.

To complete the dish:

Heat the veloute until warmed. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Once it has reached boiling point, add the ravioli (still frozen). Cook for just a few minutes till al dente. Put out serving plates, add some of the veloute and then lay the ravioli on top in a decorative fashion. Grate a little nutmeg on top.
Photo courtesy of Ed.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That looks so pretty and really delicious!

Happy New Year and all the very best for 2009!



Anonymous said...

How beautiful and yummy.

Happy New Year.

Donna in SF

Cynthia said...

I'm excited by your new toy and oh my, foie gras ravioli, what a fitting ingredient for the debut of the toy!

Happy New Year darling!