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Ravioli worth bleeding for, from Russo & Sons

November 19, 2008

Handmade Porcini Ravioli

I apologize to those of you who are not located in the Boston area right now. I’m about to make you extremely jealous. Last weekend I finally trekked out to Watertown, getting lost in the maddening labyrinth of Boston streets, irritating the crap out of the boyfriend, whom I dragged unwillingly with me, and I discovered at the end the best grocery store in Boston: Russo & Sons. My housemate had been telling me about this place for over a year, and I am kicking myself for not taking her advice and getting out there sooner.

Russo’s is a glorious wonderland of produce, artisanal cheese, fresh baked bread, charcuterie, more produce, and even more glorious produce. I found things I’ve never been able to find anywhere else, including Queso Fresco (and you have no idea how upset I’ve been that I haven’t been able to find Queso Fresco). The only problem? Holy crap, that place was PACKED. It was nearly impossible to maneuver my cart around the store, and sadly, I’ve been told it’s like this even on weekday afternoons. I wasn’t able to explore all the wonderful things Russo’s had to offer, but I did buy half a pound of those beautiful porcini mushroom ravioli you see above. And I must say they were the best ravioli I’ve ever had.

No, I’m not exaggerating. They were the best ravioli I’ve ever had: plump and full, with a just-right balance of meaty mushroom, salty cheese, and silky handmade pasta. And what? Oh, they cost me about the same as a box of Buitoni would have at the supermarket.

I clearly needed a sauce that would be a subtle, quiet background note to these glorious ravioli, and I turned, as I often do, to the simple, light garlic cream sauce I learned to make years ago, when I was waiting tables at the Bella Luna.

Porcini Ravioli in Herbed Cream Sauce

This sauce is so simple that it’s embarrassing to recall how long it took me to get it right. But don’t let that dissuade you from trying. When you do perfect it, it will be the perfect accompaniment to many a meal: decadent but light, easy to adapt for different flavors, and fast fast fast.

Very simple cream sauce for jealousy-inspiring ravioli

  • about 1 T. butter
  • about 1 T. olive oil
  • a large clove of garlic, minced
  • about 1/2 c. to 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • salt (a must)
  • for this version I added about 1/2 T. each of fresh thyme, parsley, and rosemary

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. When it’s warmed, add the butter and olive oil, and swirl it around a bit over the flame until the butter is melted and the foaming has subsided. Add the garlic (and fresh herbs, if you’re using them), and saute for about a minute, until the garlic golden and starting to soften. Then pour in the cream (I think it’s best if it’s not really cold). Let the skillet sit on the burner, whisking every so often, until the cream starts to bubble and thicken. Then just let it cook down and thicken, whisking here, whisking there, until it’s reached a nice viscous texture. It should just barely coat the back of a spoon. This should probably take about five minutes. Once it’s reached the thickness you’re looking for, add salt to taste, and serve over some kind of tasty pasta or vegetables or whatever, really, that you’d like.

The Bella makes a lovely ginger version of this sauce for their spinach ravioli. I think I really need to get to the Bella for dinner soon.

Oh, and are you wondering about that bleeding I mentioned?

Kitchen injury

I have STILL not mastered knife skills that don’t occasionally inflict injuries. This was the worst yet. I’m ok, and I didn’t have to go to the emergency room or anything (though for a minute I thought I would), but I can tell you that I probably made a pretty silly picture, trying to make ravioli and a salad with my left hand in the air.

Perhaps knife skills should be on the list of things I learn going into blog year three?

Alright, to make up for the picture of the bloody finger, here’s another picture of ravioli:

Porcini Ravioli in Herbed Cream Sauce

If you’re anywhere near the Boston area, I highly recommend you get your arse out to Russo’s this weekend. You won’t regret it.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. kim e. permalink
    November 20, 2008 12:26 pm

    you’ve made me truly jealous, this looks so fabulous. and your finger, ouch. ouch. ouch!

  2. March 22, 2009 6:11 pm

    I live in Newton and get to shop here every week! It is amazing!

  3. July 14, 2009 12:39 pm

    Great place, sucky job! The owner is a cheap person, he pays baggers 8 an hour, when other places pay 8.75 or 9 and hour. and they have so many people there, can’t really get hours. but at least I have job. People come in to give him all the money, and we get paid so poorly and we doa great job. Customers like how the baggers and cashiers and other personnel work, because we are curteos and very helpful, sadly we get paid poorly.

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