Mushroom Spinach and Goats Cheese Ravioli – Butter makes it better!

Mushroom ravioliAnybody who reads this blog regularly will know that vegetarian stuff is a bit of a rarity (usually an accident, in fact). Given that I like to discommode myself occasionally, and to try different things, it seemed reasonable to go veg for a change.  So I got to thinking of salting some cabbage or frying some carrots, or whatever it is you vegetarians get up to when you are working up an appetite. Nothing inspiring came to mind. Eventually, I had a notion that I should try some ravioli. I hadn’t prepared it in a while. I could easily make it a vegetarian dish.

I ruminated some more and decided on Mushroom, Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Ravioli. The ingredients when combined would be tasty enough (It’s hard to make a shambles of a vegetarian ravioli, if you manage to get the pasta right). I used the following for a main course for two.

Ingredients for the ravioli

  • 200 grammes of chestnut mushrooms
  • A colander full of spinach
  • 50 grammes of fresh goats cheese
  • A nice lump of butter (to fry the mushrooms)
  • Salt and black pepper to season
  • 220 grammes of ’00’ flour
  • 2 eggs and the yolk of a third

The dish is really brought out of vegetarian anonymity by the addition of a simple yet explosively flavoursome Parsley and Lemon Butter Sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 200 grammes of lovely Irish butter
  • A good squeeze of lemon (taste the sauce as you go) Don’t be afraid of it.
  • A big handful of parsley

Get the mushrooms peeled and chopped. They look pretty uninviting (like most vegetarian stuff). However, remember my mantra for this post BMIB – Butter Makes It Better!

Bland looking mushrooms. But not for long. Remember BMIB.

Bland looking mushrooms. But not for long. Remember BMIB.

Add a big knob of butter to a frying pan. When it starts to foam, add the mushrooms and get somebody to stir them around in the pan. They will absorb all the butter. This is what you want them to do. They will also release most of the liquid they hold. You want this to happen too. This intensifies the woody flavour and works very well with the butter. Your stirring person will need to keep at it for a good half an hour working over a low to medium heat. Don’t forget BMIB.

The mushrooms get very flavoursome and buttery (BMIB).

The mushrooms get very flavoursome and buttery (BMIB).

Let the mushrooms cool. Steam the spinach and squeeze the water out of it (I squeezed it into a glass and drank it. It is very good for one, even if you aren’t a vegetarian).

Add the flour to a big bowl and add the eggs.

Two eggs and the yoke of a third. No butter required at this stage.

Two eggs and the yolk of a third. No butter required at this stage.

Next mix the flour and eggs, by hand, into a pasta dough. Knead the dough until it forms a nice springy mixture. Add a little flour if you need to. Add a little of the white of the third egg, if you add too much flour. Work at it. Knead it some more.

When it looked like this, I added a bit of flour, as it was a bit too sticky.

When it looked like this, I added a bit of flour, as it was a bit too sticky.

Pop the dough in the fridge for half an hour. Chop the mushrooms (reserving a few for decoration) and spinach nice and small as it will be going into the ravioli. Mix them with the goats cheese. Season and taste. Add more goat’s cheese if you like. It works very well with the other ingredients.

I was happy with this mixture. Enough goat to hold it together.

I was happy with this mixture. Enough goat to hold it together.

Take the pasta out of the fridge and then roll it out into big long strips.

The pasta needs to be rolled very thin. Very, very thin...

The pasta needs to be rolled very thin. Very, very thin…

Spoon small lumps of filling out on to one of the strips, spacing them so you maximise the pasta.

Don't forget you need strips to go on top!

Don’t forget you need strips to go on top!

Put the top pasta on and work the trapped air out towards the edge in the same way as one gets bubbles out from under wallpaper. Then use a ravioli cutter to slice out the raviolis. They should be as air free as possible. If you don’t have such a device, use a pastry ring or anything that will give a nice round edge. If you do this, be sure to squeeze the ravioli skins together to avoid them floating apart in cooking.

For some reason, pasta, even vegetarian pasta, makes for excellent pics.

For some reason, pasta, even vegetarian pasta, makes for excellent pics.

Lift away the spare pasta and reserve.

Don't throw the left-over pasta away. I have a plan.

Don’t throw the left-over pasta away. I have a plan.

Bring a big pot of water to the boil. The ravioli can wait for a few minutes while you make the sauce.

Totally gratuitous waiting ravioli shot. I really like this one.

Totally gratuitous waiting ravioli shot. I really like this one.

Add the butter to a saucepan on a low heat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and throw in the parsley. Warm it up and taste (don’t burn yourself). Adjust the lemon juice (add more) until it tastes sharp yet buttery (ohhhh soooo butttterrryyy).

Slide the ravioli into the boiling water. They will be cooked in three minutes or so. Don’t over-cook them. Use a sieve type spoon to lift them out. Serve and pour the sauce over.

Remember to say STOP. Obviously, I forgot.

Remember to say STOP. Obviously, I forgot.

Sprinkle the reserved mushrooms over. Sit down and enjoy a wonderful dish. Despite this being a vegetarian dish (assuming eggs, goat’s cheese and butter are OK with you), it was bursting with flavour.

Just enough butter sauce.....

Just enough butter sauce…..

We enjoyed this no end. So much so that I put the water back on to boil, cooked the offcuts of pasta, added some leftover filling and poured the last of the oh so buttery sauce over. Porcine behaviour. Which is paradoxical given that this is vegetarian…..

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Latest comments
  • This lookes great and delicious!

    • Thanks Sjaak,
      And thanks for visiting and commenting. It means a lot to hear from so many fine people.
      Best,
      Conor

  • It looks great! I’m almost afraid to tell you that I like veggie food every bit as much as a good steak. Sorry bout that 😉

    • You are forgiven Donna. I am planning a post that will horrify the veg brigade. It does involve a good (the best ever) steak. More anon!
      Hope you are well.
      Best,
      C

  • Loving the wallpapering analogy. This looks infinitely better than wallpaper paste though – in fact it’s made me so hungry I’m going to have to go and raid the fridge.

    • Thanks Linda,
      It is just as difficult to get the little bubbles out to the edge. The only difference is that with wallpaper, you can stick a pin in it if you get totally frustrated. Sorry about the fridge raid.

  • God, man, that looks so good! Great combination of ingredients!

    • Thanks Mimi. Very simple stuff but, so tasty!

  • I’ll give you A+ for the perfection of your pasta dough and the fact that you did not tip the spinach water in the sink . . . . shall pass on the sauce when I’ll come visiting and say ‘yes, please’ for the rest and remind you that matters need not be fish or fowl: you can have lots of lovely vegetables with some of that stuff these days called ‘protein’ actually at the same meal 🙂 ! Thanks for an enjoyable laugh just before sleep beckons . . .

    • Happy to help with an occasional vegetarian post Eha. But, a soporific post. Is that what you are saying? I am shocked!
      Best,
      C

      • Never! I just went to bed smiling and at the end of a busy day that is very nice indeed 🙂 !

  • Just brought back so many sensory memories of my mother and aunts making ravioli (with meat – sorry) for Sunday lunch when I was but a boy. So good. Thanks.

    • Hi Ed,
      Delighted to have achieved that. With your own career history, you know how that makes me fell about it. You have made me smile too.
      Best,
      Conor

  • This looks amazing. I love vegetarian ravioli dishes. Especially with mushroom. So good. And you’re right, BMIB! 🙂

    • Thanks Virginia,
      I couldn’t eat it every day but that butter sauce was spectacularly delicious. Particularly as it was in a vegetarian dish. Guilt free!

  • Oh my goodness, this looks heavenly! I bought a ravioli cutter when I was in Chicago this spring and still haven’t used it, but I have been wanting to. Now I have a good reason to use it!

    • Thanks Debbie,
      Now you have no excuse. I can only give this a high recommendation. High in flavour, high in taste and sadly, very high in buttery calories.
      Best,
      C

  • There’s very little that can’t be improved with a large chunk of butter… This sounds wonderful. One of these days I’ll crack gluten free pasta, and then I’ll be going slightly bonkers with butter myself. However, yolk, rather than yoke?

    • It’s worth it to try Kate. Some foke really are critical of my yoke spelling!

      Actually, I fixed it now. Thank you for being my distant, caring, editor. I really appreciate it.
      Best as always,
      C

      • I wasn’t sure if it would annoy you to have it pointed out so publicly, but you seem to be a person who pursues excellence in all things, and correct spelling would be one of those things…:-)

  • Those are beautiful raviolis – IMHO cheese is meat 😉

    • You got no takers there MD, for a “what’s acceptable for vegetarians to eat” argument. IMHO, who cares, it was delicious.
      Best,
      Conor

      • I wasn’t looking to start anything, I do think of cheese as being like meat and similarly mushrooms. 🙂

        • I completely agree. By way of example, mushroom risotto tastes meatier than meat. (There’s a slogan in there somewhere.)

          • Ha ha – yes definitely 😉

  • from your biggest vegetarian fan, thanks!! beautiful food and, as usual, your fantastic writing that keeps me reading about all forms of flesh foods.

    • What a shocker! A vegetarian – Here! You are a brave woman. You are also a very kind one. Thanks for such a lovely comment. I hope I don’t offend too often.
      Thanks again,
      Conor

  • Nothin’ wrong with veggie stuff as long as there is some for of animal extract involved….! Great lookin dish Conor – a staple of mine for the next 10 days in Ostuni!

    • Thanks Big Man,
      I thought I should oblige with a veg post. I have a very big meat post in the offing. I know you will take issue with my claims in it. It should be fun. Until then, it’s celery and carrots for me.

      • Ooooooh lovely – lookin’ forward to that!

  • Wow! That’s what I would say if I walked into your kitchen as all this was taking place. Serious Conor, this is impressive. It’s always so fun to read your posts. Especially like…2 eggs and a yoke of a third. Sounds to me like a good book title!

    • Yes Seana, My spelling let me down a little there. Kate, above, got me back on track (even if I lose my book title). You are welcome in the kitchen any time you escape from the Cottage Grove House.
      Best,
      Conor

      • Oh no! See how I am? I didn’t even realize it was mis-worded. I still think 2 eggs and a “yolk” of a third is an excellent book title. 🙂

        • It probably is too. It reminded me of Three Men in a Boat. My late father enjoyed it no end. Years later, so did I. A lovely gentle read.

  • You had me at “big knob of butter”. Looks delicious.

    • Hi Elen,
      Given that Kate, above had to correct my spelling, I have taken the liberty of doing a minor edit for you. No need for that head thunk!
      Thanks for the kind words,
      C

  • Well Conor, I don’t think you’d offend a vegetarian in the bunch, but perhaps a vegan (two different diets). Nonetheless, since I don’t have a pasta roller, I’ll just have to a) either buy a plane ticket and invite myself over for dinner or b) enjoy your veg ravioli vicariously through this post. As always, it is delightful to read anything you post about, whether it involves meat or not. (Although I see how you snuck that porcine reference in there, lol!)

    • Vicariously is such a great word Kathryn. However, if you do think of crossing the pond, the welcome mat (and the pasta machine) is out.

      • You would definitely be on my list to visit if I ever make it over the pond! Cheers!

  • i love it all, wish i could have some 🙂

  • Conor, why have you done this to me? I am now hungrier than a vegan at a stag party. I am holding you responsible if any of my neighbours start to look tasty.

  • These are gorgeous! Your efforts paid off. How beautiful. I’m really surprised you went vegetarian for this. I thought for sure you’d use beef cheeks or something similar. Im about to about your page for rabbit recipes. I just bought a rabbit….

    • Hi Amanda,
      I have beef cheeks I coffee and orange in the slate and ready to post soon. I am torn between recommending rabbit and prune stew or the excellent rabbit and sobrasada. Both are lovely. Please post when you are done.

  • These look beautiful. I have been craving ravioli and maybe this will inspire me to actually make some! Though with the wedding diet and all I may have to find a less butter-rific sauce to put on top. 😉 Maybe I’ll make up for the vegetarian filling and make a bolognese? Hmmm….

    • Amanda,
      One small life lesson for you: you can’t discard thoughts of ravioli because of a wedding diet and then substitute it with bolognese. Instead, have the ravioli with a nice drizzle of olive oil. Very healthy.
      Best,
      C

  • Luscious.

    • Thanks Rosemary,
      It certainly was. But, not an everyday meal with all that butter.

  • Lovely looking ravioli, Conor. Very neat. Not sure if I could resist including some pancetta in the filling 😉
    That is a LOT of butter. But with all that cycling you need it.
    Haven’t made pasta dough by hand in ages. I think the last time was in a camper van while Kees was driving next to me. We had just bought a hand cranked pasta extruder in Italy and I wanted to try it right away 🙂

    • Thanks Stefan. You remember where I learned the method. Though, the cutter size ensured I couldn’t fold the sheets. I have a picture in my head of the two of you. It makes me laugh.

      • Folding the sheets is a more rustic approach, but also faster and perhaps a bit easier. I now have a picture of you and ‘the wife’ in my head and it makes me smile. Hope all is well.

        • All as good as it can be. We are in good form.

  • Cracking Conor. I am truly surprised at how good the vegetarian pasta looks 😜

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