Oxtail Ravioli in Leek-Mushroom Broth
Serves 4 – 6 as a main course (makes 12 ravioli, 3 – 4” diameter)
I make this with leftover oxtail because its unctuousness is well-suited for ravioli. However, any leftover braised beef, such as pot roast or stew, may be used instead. Oxtail broth gels when cold, so you need to warm the leftovers to separate the liquids and solids. Use the oxtail liquids, supplemented with rich beef or chicken stock as needed, to make 4 cups of stock for the Leek-Mushroom Broth. Bone enough oxtails to make 1 cup of chopped meat; one large oxtail slice makes about this amount. You can substitute the vegetable-pancetta mix from the oxtails for up to half the meat. Ravioli freezes well uncooked, so if I’m making ravioli, I usually double the pasta and filling recipes so I can freeze some for another day. As for the truffle cheese and truffle oil, they add satisfying umami to the dish, but neither is necessary; the dish will be very tasty even without them. If you have access to wild mushrooms, by all means use them. Be sure to carefully rinse off any dirt that is trapped between the leeks’ many layers.
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 large egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 – 1 Tbsp. water, if needed
1 cup chopped oxtail meat
3/4 cup grated sottocenere al tartufo (truffle cheese) or Italian fontina (about 4 ounces)
4 cups sliced cremini or wild mushrooms (about 1/2 pound), 3/8” slices
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. minced rosemary
4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, 3/8” slices (2-3 leeks)
4 cups beef stock (or oxtail broth and beef stock to make 4 cups)
1 tsp. white truffle oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Make the Pasta: Put the flour, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Process until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the dough starts forming clumps. If the dough is too dry, add water in 1 Tbsp. increments and process again. Dump the dough out onto plastic wrap and knead for 1 minute, adding a small amount of flour if the dough is sticky. When you’re done, the dough should be smooth and firm. Divide the dough into two portions, wrap with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made ahead to this point.)
Run each portion of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine, starting with the thickest setting. Fold the dough in thirds as if folding a letter, turn it 45 degrees, and again run it through the thickest setting. Repeat the folding, turning, and rolling at least three more times, or until the dough is smooth and shiny. Lay the sheets of dough out on dish cloths while they’re waiting their turn to be rolled.
Set the pasta machine at the next thinnest setting. Run the sheets of pasta through, dusting with flour as necessary. Continue reducing the setting of the pasta machine and running the pasta through until you reach the machine’s lowest setting. When the sheets of pasta become too long to comfortably handle, cut them into manageable lengths.
Form the Ravioli: Put 2 tsp. chopped meat on a sheet of pasta in clumps far enough apart so you can cut out 3”- 4” round ravioli. Top each clump with 1 tsp. truffle cheese or fontina. Brush water all around the pasta sheet where there isn’t stuffing (use a pastry brush for this task). Top with a second sheet of pasta. Press down to seal the top pasta sheet onto the bottom sheet, being careful to squeeze all the air out from around the stuffing. Cut out the ravioli and place them on a dishcloth while you boil water.
Cook the Ravioli: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil, then adjust the burner so the water boils slowly. Gently slide in the ravioli and cook until the pasta is tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the ravioli from the water with a slotted spoon and spread out on parchment paper while you make the Leek-Mushroom Broth.
Make the Leek-Mushroom Broth: Sauté the mushrooms, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in the olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter until they’re well browned on all sides. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and seasonings from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Stir the leeks into the same pan, scraping up any browned bits on the pan’s bottom; add oil or butter, as needed. Sauté the leeks until they’re soft and tender. Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
Stir in the truffle oil, and gently add the cooked ravioli to the broth. Spoon some broth over the ravioli (I use a turkey baster for this task) and simmer until the ravioli are warmed through.
Serve: Divide the ravioli between 4 – 6 warmed pasta bowls. Divide the broth and vegetables between the bowls, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.