Mushroom Ravioles, Sage Butter Gnocchi and Insalata caprese

Like us, the French tend to think of pasta as a main course, rather than an entrée in the Italian manner. I saw a dish like this in a Provencal restaurant (only it had squid something-or-other in the middle), and I decided to make a mushroom version. This may be basic, but it is beautiful: tasty, elegant, and especially practical if you have just a few people to feed, because it plates so nicely.

Makes: 4 servings
1 1/2pounds (675 9) mushrooms
1/4 cup (55 g) butter
A splash of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) stock
1/2 cup white wine
A generous handful of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, more for garnish
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 mL) chopped fresh dill or sage
8 (3- x 4-inch/8 x 10 cm) sheets dried pasta
Dill sprigs, for garnish
Cut the mushrooms into quarters or eighths, depending on their size, and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour a tablespoon of the butter into a sauté pan. Continue heating the remaining butter in the saucepan until it turns light brown. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to the boil for the pasta.
Add a splash of olive oil to the butter in the sauté pan. Set the pan on high heat, and when the oil is hot, add the mushrooms, sautéing until slightly colored, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes more. Pour over the stock and wine and boil to reduce to a few (8) tablespoons, a matter of minutes. Stir in the cheese. Taste, check the seasonings, and add a squirt of lemon juice if you think it needs it. Stir in the dill, and keep the mixture warm while you cook the pasta.
Generously salt the boiling pasta water. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, and return it to the pan, tossing with the reserved brown butter. Lay a sheet of pasta on each of four serving plates. Spoon the mushrooms onto the pasta. Top with a second pasta sheet. Drizzle over some brown butter from the pasta pan. Garnish with a dill sprig, and serve immediately.


Sage Butter Gnocchi

Cook Gnocchi as per directions on package (do not over-cook) and drain. In a frying pan, melt butter over medium heat and add gnocchi, tossing at two minute intervals until they start browning. Chop fresh sage leaves, add a spoon of butter to the pan and then immediately stir in sage. Toss well.


Insalata caprese

5 well ripened plum tomatoes

5 ounces fresh bocconcinni

Bunch of fresh basil leaves

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt and (finely) ground pepper


Slice tomatoes and place on plates, salting immediately - set aside

Slice bocconcinni

Remove any ribs from large basil leaves and rip to same size as smaller leaves

On each plate alternately layer tomatoes, cheese (add pepper) and basil,

stacking each with an equal number of slices

Once completed, drizzle with Balsamic vinegar and a generous portion of quality olive oil.