Chef Norman Aitken, Juniper Restaurant & Wine Bar, Ottawa

The Great Canadian Lentil ~ Wild Mushroom Ravioli

In busy restaurants it’s important to be able to assemble the ingredients for a great dish like this in minutes. In fact, that’s the point of this multi-layered recipe.  Norm creates all the pieces, holds them till service and then, bingo, he has a wonderful entrée.  He uses wild mushrooms for the filling of his ravioli but if they’re not available, he says portabellas will work.

Love Your LentilsThe Lentils

  • 2 cups du Puy lentils – rinse and look out for small rocks
  • 6 cups light chicken or vegetable stock
  •  1 large onion
  •  3 large carrots
  •  3 stalks of celery
  •  3 bay leaves
  •  Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  •  Pinch of salt

Cook lentils till just tender.  Drain, reserving 4 cups of the stock, and lay lentils out to cool on a sheet tray. Save 3 tbsp of lentils for the pasta.  Refrigerate until needed.

The Broth

  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup small diced carrots
  • ½ cup small diced parsnip
  • ½ cup small diced celeriac root
  • ½ cup of whole dried mushrooms crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Spring of thyme
  • 4 cups reserved stock
  • Zest of a half lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Sweat the shallots and garlic in large saucepan over low heat.

Add the rest of the diced carrots, parsnip, celeriac and dried mushrooms; cook gently for 5 minutes.

Add the reserved stock and cook on low till the vegetables are just tender.

Season with lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight.

 Pasta Dough

  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 6 yolks
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp reserved lentils pulsed until finely ground

Combine all ingredients and work till smooth and elastic.  Let rest for 2 to 3 hours.

 The Filling

  • 1 cup of each roasted mushrooms (we use trumpets, chanterelles, morel, oyster)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 8 oz butter
  • 4 large shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried green peppercorns crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp thyme picked
  • Zest and juice of one (1) lemon
  • ½ cup of each ricotta, parmesan reggiano, goat cheese

Sauté the mushrooms in a tbsp of butter with the minced shallot until soft but not browned.  Reserve.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining butter and sweat the shallots and garlic.

Combine everything in a food processer and pulse to combine.  Check and correct seasoning.

Make and fill the ravioli.  Allow an hour for this process.

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil and  cook the ravioli for 2 ½ to 3 minutes.  Drain.

Meanwhile: Add cooked lentils to the broth and reheat till piping hot.

Place ravioli (about 5 per serving) in warmed soup bowls and ladle on the broth.

Garnish with sautéed mushrooms or some fresh herbs.

Chef Norman Aitken 
Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar in Ottawa, ON

Norman Aitken was born in the small town of Souris and raised in Bay Fortune, Prince Edward Island, Canada. At 14, working under the guidance of Chef Michael Smith, of the Food Network, he began his apprenticeship in the kitchen at the Inn At Bay Fortune. From his experience working with Michael Smith, Norman developed a profound understanding and respect for local, fresh ingredients.