This is one of those super fancy meals that sounds wildly impressive but was, in fact, one of the easiest meals I’ve made in awhile. Wanna know my secret??
I cheated. And you should too.
Oddly enough, I made this meal a couple of weeks ago, and since then my Mom and I have attended a homemade pasta-making workshop. This is odd because I’m about to tell you how to get around making your own pasta, so you can see my moral contradiction here. Sometimes you just can’t be bothered with things like that. Sometimes a girl just needs to eat, and when that happens, I have Rio Bertolini’s.
Rio Bertolini’s is a pasta company out of Charleston that makes hand crafted pasta, drives it all the way up to Greenville every Saturday morning, and sells it at our Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market. They’re actually a pretty cool company, because they don’t have a store, nor do they disclose the location of their pasta making shop. Instead, they sell to local grocers & vendors, and set up booths at local markets. It is my favorite stop and I almost never pass by without picking something up. Unfortunately, it’s everyone else’s favorite stop, too, and there’s always a line.
They have a booth with two huge chalkboards on either side telling you the ravioli flavors available that day, as well as the fettucine, tagliatelle, and spaghetti flavors, the butter flavors, the pasta sauce flavors, the types of pizza dough available, and the pre-made italian dishes that they have for you take home. It’s basically heaven, and they are angels who slave all day so that you can have the best, easiest meal ever.
So you better believe I hustle down to make sure I get there in time before they’ve marked off all the good flavors from the ravioli board. What a heartache when that happens…
So basically what I’m telling you is: 1) I realize that I’m pretty darn lucky to have this at my disposal. 2) Don’t open my freezer too quickly because you’re liable to become buried in cardboard Rio Bertolini ravioli boxes that have been carefully stacked and organized by ingredient. 3) Go out and find yourself someone who sells fresh pasta….STAT! (Whole Foods has a selection of fresh pastas in their cheese section. I haven’t tried them but my Mom bought some recently. Maybe she’ll give us a guest review!)
But if you don’t have something like this available, this red wine sauce is tasty enough to be the star in any meal. It would even be fabulous over rice or steak. I managed to whip this up after being a little perplexed about what kind of sauce to put on Short Rib Ravioli, and used a few recipes online to inspire my flavor combinations.
Makes 2 small servings
About 2 cups of shiitake mushrooms – I used two of those containers of prepackaged mushrooms from the grocery store
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped – OR 1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup cream, or fat-free half & half (If you use milk, just use about 1.5 times this amount!)
1 “pat” of butter (about 1/4 tbs)
1 tbs olive oil
About 1 cup dry red wine – I used a Syrah, but it would be better with something drier
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
fresh rosemary (optional)
1) Over medium-high heat, melt butter. Toss in onions and cook until they begin to turn just a little translucent. Add minced garlic (use a press for best results), and cook until fragrant – about 2 minutes.
2) Add all of your mushrooms. Toss to coat in butter/garlic/onion mixture. Continue to cook until your mushrooms start to soften – about 5-7 minutes. Add your olive oil and a pinch or two of salt.
NOTE: Often times people put their salt & oil in the pan before they cook their mushrooms, but you’ll find that you will end up adding about twice as much oil & salt that way because the mushrooms act like sponges when they first start to cook. So throw them in a let them soften and sweat a little, then add your oil and salt once they’ve begun to cook. You’ll find they’ll have a better texture after they’re done because they won’t be as saturated.
3) Slowly pour in your red wine. Let your mixture begin to bubble, then reduce your heat to low, or low-med. Let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken and is reduced by about 1/2.
This could take up to 15 minutes, depending on your heat and how much wine you used.
4) Finally, remove your sauce from the heat and add cream, stirring slowly as you pour. Finish with fresh black pepper to taste. (Fresh rosemary is also a nice addition here if you have it).
Serve over your short-rib ravioli, or other fresh pasta that you so diligently reheated, and ENJOY!
It’s important to note that my times in my recipes are estimations and can sometimes vary. With a sauce like this, the most important thing to keep in mind is not to cook it too fast. Keep it at a slow simmer while it reduces and continue stirring it to keep it smooth. So simple, once you have this down you can really make it your own with any kind of herb or other flavor alteration!