Steak & chard ravioli with sage-butter sauce: $2.43/serving

This is bordering on a splurge, I know, but the rest of our meals for the day consisted of bread and coffee, so we’re still on budget. This is not a quick weeknight meal by any means, but I assure you the returns on your time investment will be exponential. I’ve been on somewhat of a ravioli kick since tasting the pumpkin-chanterelle ravioli at Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco (which cost almost a week’s worth of groceries), and while this is nowhere near that, it’s heads and shoulders beyond any ravioli you’d buy at the store or eat in a neighborhood restaurant. And it’s healthier, too.

The recipe is adapted from yet another one discovered in my husband’s late grandmother’s storage unit. It makes between 12 and 16 ravioli—possibly even more, depending on how big you make them.

• 1 T olive oil: 6 cents
• 3 oz. steak (skirt, top round, anything that was on sale for under $2/lb.—it could even be pre-cooked left over steak): 33 cents
• 1/3 cup minced shallot: 10 cents
• 1 garlic clove, minced: 1 cent
• 1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and thinly sliced: $2.19
• 1 3/4 cups beef stock or broth (I used Better Than Bouillon): 14 cents
• 1/2 cup dry red wine: 44 cents
• 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese: 70 cents
• 1 egg yolk, beaten: 12 cents
• Pinch of nutmeg: 1 cent
• Salt & pepper to taste: 2 cents
TOTAL: $4.12

• 2 eggs: 24 cents
• 2 cups (approx.) flour: 20 cents
TOTAL: 44 cents

Sage brown butter sauce:
• 5 T unsalted butter: 30 cents
• 5 tsp minced sage (garden): $0
TOTAL: 30 cents

TOTAL: $4.12 + .44 + .30 = $4.86/2 = $2.43/serving

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high, add the shallot, garlic, and steak; sauté until steak is browned. Add the chard, 1/4 cup of the beef stock/broth and 1/4 cup of the wine, cook until chard wilts and the pan runs dry, about 5-7 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl, cool. Add nutmeg and cheese, plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the egg yolk.

If you’re afraid of making pasta by hand, by all means buy a package of gyoza wrappers. I’ve used them before, and while they’re certainly not as good, they get the job done with minimal hassle.

If you have a great method for making pasta by stand mixer or food processor, go ahead and use it. I won’t judge. Making it by hand is a bona fide pain the butt, but it’s always turned out the best results for me, so it’s the method I use. (I think I ended up making about 3/4 lb. of pasta.) Pretty simple stuff: Make a pile of flour on a cutting board (I started out with about 1 cup), create a well in the flour, crack 2 eggs in the middle, and beat them lightly with a fork. Once beaten, start incorporating little bits of flour while beating, keeping everything contained with both your palm and strategic movement of the flour. It’s in no way an exact science, and it will make a mess.

Once you’ve got a cohesive mass, start slowly incorporating more flour (have another cup’s worth of flour nearby) until you’ve got a kneadable dough ball. Start kneading the dough ball, adding more flour if necessary. Knead for 8 minutes, giving the dough a quarter-turn with each knead, or until the dough feels like soft and smooth skin.

Divide into 6 even pieces. Keep covered with a kitchen towel. Working with one piece at a time, shape the dough piece into a rough rectangle and feed the thin end through a pasta machine (the kind with rollers)…

…gradually working from the thickest setting to the thinnest setting, or roll the dough piece out thinly with a rolling pin into a strip about 6 inches long and 2-2 1/2 inches wide. (I’ve never used the rolling pin method, so you may want to consult YouTube for guidance.) I apologize for the lack of photographic documentation of this process; the pasta dries out quickly, so I was moving fast. Instead, here is a picture of my dog giving me the Hard Stare for not dropping so much as a crumb of steak.

Once you’ve got two strips of pasta, put about 1 rounded T worth of filling in little piles down the length of the strip (1 T per pile), about an inch apart.  You’ll probably have room for anywhere from 3-5 piles. Lay the other strip on top and gently push down around the filling. Cut the ravioli with a cookie cutter, pizza cutter, or handy-dandy ravioli tool:

The fancy edges can be made with a fluted cookie cutter tool, but they’re purely optional. Once you’ve done this for all the pieces, place each finished raviolo on a floured cookie sheet and keep covered with a kitchen towel while you make the sauce.

Cook the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat just until it starts to turn brown. Add 4 tsp sage, 1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth, and 1/4 cup wine and boil the heck out of it until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup. The butter will have separated and it will look like a bit of a mess, as you can see below, but the taste…oh, the taste. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Meanwhile, cook the ravioli (3-5 minutes depending on the thinness of the pasta dough) in salted boiling water; using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the ravioli to shallow bowls. Whisk the sauce and spoon it over the top, sprinkle with the remaining sage.

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