“You’ll like this.” That’s what Debbie said during a morning run last week, while trying to explain why she never dropped off my share of mushroom ravioli from a recent cooking date. You see, it had been a somewhat amusing afternoon making ravioli together. Cue the wavy flashback lines…
Although Debbie made the dough ahead of time –as we usually do– for some reason it was stubborn that day. She guessed that she might have added a bit too much water, which made it difficult to work with. There were lots of holes and the dough seemed a little rubbery, sort of silly putty-like. And since we didn’t have our friend Lou, the expert ravioli maker, to guide us through our mishaps, it was slow going. Nor did we have an electric pasta press, so instead we were cranking it all by hand. Needless to say, it was a sluggish and laborious afternoon making filling and then working with less-than-perfect dough.
I had to leave before we were finished, (saying goodbye to a countertop full of corn meal, dough and filling) but Debbie promised she’d finish things up and swing by my house the next day or so with my share of ravioli.
Well, days went by and she never came. It was unlike her to forget about me, but I just got too busy to check in with her. To be honest, I figured the ravioli didn’t turn out that well and Debbie decided to spare me. In fact, when Lou inquired how our ravioli-making session was, I told him that it was a disaster.
So, on our run the other day, after I casually asked what ever happened to the mushroom ravioli, I was quite surprised to hear Debbie breathlessly tell me how good it was! Before I had the chance to deliver an earful, she jumped right in with a “You’ll like this” and went on to tell me how she spontaneously (and elegantly) served our ravioli to friends at an impromptu dinner the night after we cooked together.
She described how effortlessly she pulled the mushroom ravioli out of the freezer and served it proudly, with a touch of melted butter and shaved Parmesan Cheese on top. While they devoured a delicious meal, Debbie talked about how we made it together and she began to divulge the history of our cooking together. (Debbie was my very first cooking friend as a grown-up mom.) My ears should have been ringing, she said. Through her story telling, I became very much a part of their meal.
When it comes to food and cooking, it’s all about sharing — we share the food and when we’re lucky, the stories that go with it. That’s what gives food meaning.
So I’ll forgive Debbie this time. But only because I really did like her story.
Here’s our filling, which was inspired by our friend Lou.
Mushroom Ravioli Filling
20 ounces mushrooms, cleaned, of your choice (baby bella, crimini, portabello)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon kosher salt
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil for a minute. Add the garlic and shallots. Season with salt. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 15 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and chop into small pieces. Reserve the cooking liquid (fabulous tip from Lou!). In a large bowl, mix together the mushrooms, bread crumbs, parsley, cheese and egg.
Use as a filling for ravioli (or dumplings!)