Beef Stew Ravioli
Mario Batali was once quoted in the New York Times Magazine (May 8, 2005), saying "Ravioli are just a delivery system for leftovers....Take a short rib, if you have one, or last night's pot roast. Grind it with the vegetables, which makes it lighter."
Here's my take on Batali's strategy – in this case using up some leftover beef tenderloin after a party.
9 oz leftover beef tenderloin, rare, chopped fairly fine
7 oz uncooked lean trimmings* from the tenderloin
1 carrot, peeled, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
2 T rosemary, chopped
1 C red wine
2 T capers, rinsed, chopped
2 T anchovies, minced
2 T butter
pasta dough (2 cups flour, 4 eggs, 1 T milk)
salt, hot sauce, liquid smoke** to taste
Sauté the vegetables in olive oil until softened. Remove to a side plate. Turn the heat to high and quickly brown the trimmings in the pan. Deglaze with the wine, add in the vegetables and simmer slowly for about 30 min. Cool, place in food processor and process till fairly smooth. Add the chopped leftover tenderloin. Correct seasoning (go a little on the salty side) and use it to fill the ravioli.
(I only thinned the dough to notch 5 this time -- while yummy, the
lobster ravioli were a little more like wontons than traditional
ravioli. Both good; thinning to 8 leaves some dough leftover after all
the filling is used up, which is not a bad thing.
When the ravioli were cooked I transferred them to a warm sauté pan
and tossed them with the butter, the capers, the anchovies and the
salsa verde and then served them with some grated Romano cheese, crusty
bread and leftover spicy coleslaw. (The picture with this post was added a few weeks later when we had the ones I froze -- see next paragraph -- tossed in butter and minced fresh oregano with a few sliced grape tomatoes.)
By the way, this made 40 1-1/2" square ravioli (compared to the 60 lobster raviolis we made with the thinner dough, and tha time we also had another 6 oz of dough left over). There was enough filling left for at least another 10 ravioli, so I think next time I'll thin at least to the #6 notch to try to match the dough output with the filling available. In any case, ten each were more than enough even for our healthy appetites. The rest I tossed in a little flour, then spread them on waxed paper on a cookie sheet so they weren't touching each other, laid another sheet of waxed paper over them and put them in the freezer. We watched a DVD and then before we went to bed I put them in a freezer bag for storage in the freezer. When it's time to cook them you don't have to thaw them, just cook them in rapidly boiling salted water for about 7 minutes instead of the usual 5.
*trimmings: Did you know that when you get a custom cut of meat like a beef tenderloin, the butcher weighs it for pricing BEFORE he/she trims it for the kitchen? A tenderloin with a 5-lb dressed weight will leave at least a pound of trimmings on the butcher's counter, which they just throw in a barrel for the rendering man. You paid for that pound, and at $15 - $25 a pound (depending on where you get your meat) that's some serious paying for nothing.
I always ask for the trimmings (and bones, if I'm having something boned). Stocks and sauces are made from them, and, as in the case of the beef tenderloin, there is often a lot of delicious meat that can be separated from the fat and used very successfully, as in the ravioli here. (There's a long thin flap that's removed from the tenderloin in the dressing process. If you've ever been served medallions of tenderloin about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2" in diameter they certainly came from that piece.) It's the same meat as the big piece you throw on your grill and you paid for it, so use it!
**liquid smoke: I used to keep my bottle of liquid smoke carefully hidden until I found it as an ingredient in a recipe in The Thrill of the Grill. Now I figure that if Chris Schlesinger can use it openly, so can I, if something needs more intense smoke flavor. Just be careful with it...a few drops are usually plenty. A capful can overwhelm any other flavors in the vicinity in lots of situations