Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli in Champagne Cream Sauce
Spinach, mushrooms, shallots, and mascarpone cheese are dolloped into heart-shaped ravioli and paired with a champagne cream sauce. Delicioso!
Ravioli! So delicious, versatile, and just downright fun to make. You guys! We have ten days to get ready for Valentine’s Day. Who’s with me?! Anyone? Okay, awesome! We’re all here and accounted for! I’m going to give you a little personal statement real quick-like, so bear with me. Although Valentines Day is the day for hearts and flowers and chocolate (mmmm, chocolate) I must say that I would make heart-shaped food every dang day if I could figure out how. Heart-shaped soup? Just sayin’.
How cute are these ravioli!?! Not to mention, did you catch the heart-shaped focaccia bread? Eeeek, it is the perfect pairing to this ravioli. I hope you make it with this dish because it is H-E-A-V-E-N!
Okay, so, this is going to be a bit lengthy guys and gals but hang in there. I’m going to break it down super easy for you AND I will also give you some ideas on how to prep the heck out of this meal so you won’t spend all day in the kitchen on the 14th. Ready? Okay, let’s dig in!
The Sauce (aka “gravy”)
Let’s start with the sauce, shall we? We have a restaurant here that has the BEST Vodka cream sauce. Originally that is what this was going to be, however, to make it a bit more Valentine(y) I thought, hey, how about champagne? Guess what? It totally works. Get out your food processor and make quick work of the chopping. If you don’t have a food processor it’s okay, you can put those awesome knife skills to work.
Start with dicing your onion and adding it to the pan with your olive oil; cook until translucent. Once your onions have cooked partially through, add in your minced garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Once your onion and garlic have filled your kitchen with its awesomeness, add in two cups of Brut Champagne.
Safety hat moment:
PLEASE, whatever you do, remove the pan from the heat before you add in your alcohol. If you have a gas stove, please turn off the gas as well. We don’t need any fires.
PLEASE, do NOT put your face directly over the Champagne cork. I made this sauce three times prior to deciding on this version and I have to tell you….the third time I made it, as soon as I took off the metal cover, the cork blew. It’s like a rocket. Please do not aim this at anyone or yourself!
Safety first guys…always! Now, back to the sauce…
You’ll want to let the alcohol cook-off and the champagne reduces by half, this will take about 15 -20 minutes. Once your champagne has reduced, add in your tomatoes.
I know there is a huge debate out there about canned tomatoes and BPA. I’m not going to get into that whole discussion here today but, I have to tell you that I love San Marzano tomatoes. No, this is not an add and I’m not being paid to tell you this…I just love them. This particular brand is certified San Marzano and BPA-free. You can check out their website for all of the details. If you search google you will see that there are some bad reviews because they used to use BPA in their lining. As of 2014, they no longer do.
IF you have the time and the patience, you can flash steam and peel your own tomatoes. I find this very satisfying but in the spirit of making this dish easy as possible, I’m going with these canned tomatoes.
Once the tomatoes are stirred into the sauce, reduce your heat to low and set your timer for an hour and a half (uncovered). I know it’s a long time but you’ll want to do this. By reducing the heat to low and letting the sauce condense, all of the flavors will intensify and your mouth will be very happy.
Your mixture should look similar to this once time is up.
Add the chicken stock and heat through, about 2 minutes. With an immersion blender, blend the sauce to your liking. I like somewhat of a chunkier sauce however, this is entirely your preference. You can also transfer the sauce to a blender, in batches, and blend it that way.
Once your sauce is blended, add in the heavy cream.
Stir to heat through, and your sauce is done! Woo hoo! Not to mention it magically changed colors. Awwwww….
THE RAVIOLI FILLING: (Spinach, mushroom, shallot, mascarpone)
If you are a spicy food lover, like me, you can add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I did this with half of the filling, and it is delicious. If you’re not a spicy food lover, no worries, leave it out and the filling is just as addicting. I may have had a spoonful (or four) who knows, no one was there to watch me.
You didn’t put the food processor away, did you? Good. You’ll want it for this go-around. Start with the shallots. Dice the shallots and give them a head start in the pan along with the olive oil. Then, move onto the spinach and the mushrooms. Process the mushrooms into dice-sized pieces and give the spinach about 4 pulses. Combine those into a bowl and set aside until the shallots have had time to turn translucent; about 7-8 minutes. Then, add in your mushroom/spinach mix with a nice pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. This is also where you can add the cayenne as well.
Cook the ravioli filling over low heat until most of the moisture from the mushrooms has released. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the mascarpone into a bowl and stir just enough to lose its shape. Add the hot filling mixture atop the mascarpone and with a spoon, fold gently until the cheese combines with the veggies. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until completely cool.
The filling takes about 30 minutes to make and about 2 hours to cool in the refrigerator. Super quick.
RAVIOLI (and putting it all together)
Time for the star of the show! I’m rethinking that as I type because I am somewhat of a sauce snob. Not really a snob but, if the sauce is on point, the whole meal is automatically amazing. In my book anyway…where was I? The Ravioli!
Still have the food processor handy, right? Awesome! This is the easiest pasta dough known to man. I’m sure you’ve seen it in a million recipes but here I am again to show you how this works.
Add the flour, salt, and eggs into your food processor. Pulse the mixture about 10 to 15 times.
You should end up with a crumb-like mixture or beach sand texture. This dish would be amazing oceanside….great, now I’m drifting off to the beach!
This is what your dough mixture should look like. Once it has come to this consistency, put the lid back on and drizzle in your water just until it comes together.
This is what your dough will look like. It may still be a bit sticky and that’s okay. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead the dough, adding flour as needed.
Once the dough is to your liking, form it into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Place your dough into the refrigerator anywhere from a half-hour, to an hour. (If making a day or two ahead, that is okay too. Leave it in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use)
When you are ready to use your dough, remove the plastic wrap and divide into eight equal and manageable pieces.
Remove one triangle, this is the piece you will be working with first. Cover the rest with the plastic wrap and set it aside. Knead the triangle gently. If it is still a little sticky, add flour a little at a time until you can handle it without it sticking.
If you have a pasta machine, now is a good time to use it. You’ll want to start on the widest setting and roll your pasta through twice working your way down to the lowest setting. After each roll, dust with flour if your dough is still sticky, fold in half, and roll a second time. Continuing on to number 1.
If you don’t have a pasta machine, that’s okay! Use a rolling-pin and roll the pasta dough as thin as possible. If you think it’s thin enough, roll it again. You want it almost paper-thin. These little babies puff up when you cook them and no one really likes just a mouth full of heavy, dense, pasta. So roll up your sleeves and get to work.
To make the ravioli, you will need to roll out two segments of dough. I usually have them lined up next to each other to make quick work of it. Once you have your sheets rolled out, add about 1 tablespoon of filling to the dough. Keep adding the filling onto the pasta sheet, leaving about 1-1/2 t0 2″ spacing between each one.
With a pastry brush, brush water around each dollop of filling. I drew mine in the shape of a heart because that is what I was cutting. Place the second sheet of pasta onto the first sheet with the filling, making sure it covers each end.
Starting with the first dollop of filling, press down on the top sheet of pasta sealing the dough to the bottom sheet while pushing out any air bubbles around the filling. You want to try and get out all as much of the air you can, otherwise, the ravioli will break when you cook them. Then you have a hot boiling mess of water with filling bits floating all over. It does happen, don’t fret just boil more ravioli.
With your 2″ heart cookie cutter, cut out your ravioli shapes.
Once the hearts are cut, lay them on a sheet pan dusted with semolina flour (or cornmeal) until you are ready to cook. The semolina flour prevents them from sticking.
When you are ready to cook your ravioli, bring salted water to a boil and add them to the water. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Ravioli will float when they are ready. Cooking time is very fast with fresh pasta. Approximately 2 minutes.
Once they are done, plate them up! Spoon your sauce over the ravioli, shave fresh parmesan over the top and enjoy!
So, I promised you guys I would break this down into a manageable meal – here it goes. It’s so easy.
Make the sauce up to two months beforehand and freeze. This sauce freezes beautifully. The day you need to use it just remove it from the freezer in the morning and defrost in the refrigerator. Place in a preheated saucepan and warm through. Viola.
Make the pasta up to two months beforehand. Fill your ravioli, lay on a sheet pan, and place in the freezer. Once the ravioli are frozen, move them into a freezer bag and keep them in your deep freezer until you are ready to use them.
Since we are talking about making this meal for Valentine’s Day I would suggest making the ravioli and placing it in the freezer. You could make the sauce up to three days beforehand without freezing. Just seal it in an air-tight container and place it in your refrigerator. When Valentine’s day rolls around, defrost your ravioli, boil your water and warm up your sauce.
Dinner is served!
I hope you all have an amazing day with your loved ones and you have a meal you won’t forget. Be it this one or another.
Don’t forget to show me your photos, you guys!
Live, Love, Eat!
Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli in Champagne Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large shallots - diced
- 1 8- ounce package of baby Bella mushrooms
- 1 bunch fresh spinach - stems removed about 2 cups
- 1- 8- ounce container mascarpone cheese
- Kosher salt - to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper - to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour - I use King Arthur
- 4 eggs - lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup filtered water
- Additional flour as needed
- Fresh shaved parmesan optional
- Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley optional
For the sauce:
- Add olive oil to a preheated pan and let come to temperature.
- Dice onion and cook until translucent - about 5 minutes
- Add minced garlic and add the onion - cook another 2 minutes
- Add in champagne and let cook until reduced by half - about 15 - 20 minutes (remember to add champagne away from the heat. Turn off gas burners, remove pan from stove)
- Once champagne is reduced, add tomatoes.
- Let cook over medium-low heat for 1-1/2 hours.
- Add in chicken stock, let warm through. With an immersion blender (or stand blender) blend sauce to the desired consistency.
- Return to heat and stir in heavy cream. Cook until warmed through.
- Keep warm until ready for use or cool and then freeze.
For the filling:
- Add olive oil to a preheated pan and let it come to temperature
- Add diced shallot and let cook until translucent
- Once shallot is cooked, add in spinach and mushroom mixture with kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
- If using cayenne pepper, add this as well
- Let mixture cook until most of the moisture is released from the mushrooms, stirring occasionally so not to burn - approximately 10 minutes
- Remove from heat and set aside
- In a separate bowl, add mascarpone cheese and stir until loose.
- Add warm vegetable mixture to mascarpone and fold until the cheese is evenly dispersed.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely in the refrigerator - about two hours
For the pasta:
- In your food processor add flour, salt, and eggs and drizzle in olive oil. Pulse to combine. The mixture should be crumbly or sand like
- Drizzle in water until the dough comes together
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface (dough will be sticky) Knead, adding flour as necessary
- Form into a ball, wrap completely in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 1/2 to 1 hour.
- When ready to use, section dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Remove one piece to work with and keep remaining dough covered.
- Roll through your pasta machine starting with the widest setting and working down to 1. Add flour between each pass as necessary. Run dough through each setting twice. You will need two rolled sheets to make one set of ravioli.
- If using a rolling pin, roll dough as thin as possible.
Putting it together:
- With one sheet of dough on the counter, add 1 to 1/2 tablespoons of filling, spacing about 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart
- Wet the dough with water at the seal points
- Lay second sheet of dough atop the sheet containing the filling.
- Seal around the filling, removing air bubbles as best that you can. Press dough together where you placed the water to assure the ravioli is sealed
- With a heart shaped cutter or a knife, cut out ravioli hearts and place on a sheet pan that has been prepared with parchment and semolina flour. You can use cornmeal as well.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to the boil with a tablespoon of kosher salt
- Once boiling, cook the ravioli a few at a time. The ravioli is cooked when it floats to the top. Approximately two minutes.
- Place cooked ravioli in your serving dish and add sauce.
- Top with fresh parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.
- See blog post for freezing instructions and make ahead tips!