Beef Cheeks Ravioli

recipe courtesy of Chef Santos MacDonal, Chef/Owner of Il Cortile, Paso Robles, California

Serves 2

Pasta

  • 1 ¾ cups of Mandako flour           
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt                   
  • Flour for dusting

Filling

  • 1/2 lb beef cheeks               
  • 2 cups J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot
  • 2 cups water                   
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp thyme, chopped fine           
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black ground pepper           
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced thin

Set the oven to 400°F. Prepare the filling first. In a heavy pan, sear the beef cheeks on both sides until brown. Place them in a braising pan and cover with all the spices. Add the J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot and water, and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hrs. Pass the meat through a meat grinder and then set aside. Save the braising juices for the sauce.

To prepare the pasta, begin with a dry surface. Spread the flour in a circle and create a well in the middle of the flour. Beat the eggs to combine them and pour into the well. With a fork, gradually pull the flour into the egg mixture. (You can also use your fingers to do this.) When the dough is a rough mass, transfer it to a floured work surface. Knead the dough, sprinkling with more flour if the dough is sticky. Work the dough until it forms a smooth elastic ball, about 8 minutes.

Split the dough into 2 pieces and wrap the piece you are not working with in plastic wrap. Using a stainless steel pasta machine, set the rollers at the widest notch. Flatten the dough with your hands and pass through the machine. Fold the dough into thirds, press together and dust lightly with flour. Feed again through the machine and repeat about 8 times. Move the setting to the next notch and this time do not fold the dough. Dust with flour. Continue this process until you are on the thinnest notch.

Cut the length of the dough crosswise in half. Arrange one strip of dough on a floured work surface. Drop 3/4 teaspoon mounds of filling in two rows, about two inches apart down the length of the dough. Drape the second sheet of dough over the filling. With a fluted pastry cutter, cut the ravioli into 2-inch squares. Firmly press the edges to seal them. Put the finished ravioli on a baking sheet dusted with flour. In a large pot of boiling, slightly salted water, cook the 10 to 12 ravioli until just done, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain.

In a sauté pan, over medium-high heat, reduce the braising juices and add the mushrooms. Place the ravioli in the pan and cook in the sauce for about 1 minute. Transfer ravioli to a warm plate and serve with a glass of J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot.