While at university I would often make the short walk to Melbourne’s Italian district to have lunch at my favourite little trattoria. Through the narrow front door to Tiamo you will find a restaurant untouched by modern fittings and fancy pants food. The old wooden bar with its fridgeful of cold meats and roasted peppers runs down one side, and in the front window you’ll invariably catch a couple of old locals in impeccably tailored sports jackets, sipping macchiatos and drawing red biro circles around the day’s race tips.
It was for their famously delicious tortellini in brodo that I would wander up Pelham street at 2pm, laden with armfuls of books and papers. It warms your winter cockles and despite all the tempting pasta, salad and anti-pasto platters on the menu, I could never bring myself to eat anything other than this delicate chickeny broth.
This recipe is an homage to those cold winter afternoons spent reading Beckett and Forbes while slurping greedy mouthfuls of soup inside the warm rustic walls of this Melbourne stalwart. It is a really cheap and easy dish to prepare and a great meal to cook if you find yourself with visitors to feed of an evening.
Makes: 15 ravioli (3 per serve)
Prep time: 1 hour
15 button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp thyme
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable/chicken stock
30 gyoza/won ton skins
salt and pepper
500ml chicken stock
spring onion garnish
Finely dice the mushrooms, onion and garlic. In a heavy based frying pan heat a little olive oil over a medium heat. Fry the onions for 2-3 minutes before adding in the mushrooms and garlic. Fry for a further 5 minutes before adding in the white wine and stock. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes until all the liquid has cooked away and the mushrooms turn a deep rich brown colour. You want to let them cook right up until the point of burning – without burning them, of course. Add in the thyme, season, and set aside to cool.
To make the ravioli simply spoon a heaped teaspoonful of the mushrooms onto a gyoza skin and with warm water run your finger around the edge of the dough. Place a second gyoza skin on top and press them firmly together, being careful not to trap any air in the centre.
If you want to be showy, cook the ravioli in boiling salty water for 3-5 minutes (depending on how bitey you like your pasta), before placing them in a bowl and pouring hot broth over them at the table. Serve with wilted spinach and finely sliced spring onions.
Replace the thyme with crushed ginger and green chili for a more Asian flavour.
Add thinly sliced mushrooms to the broth.
Warm crusty bread straight from the oven.