Make it. Eat it. Love it.
A funny thing about Jerusalem artichokes, they are neither from Jerusalem nor are they artichokes. These little roots often called sunchokes resemble ginger or turmeric are actually from a species of sunflowers. They sort of taste like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut. Jerusalem artichokes can be prepared so many different ways from pan fried to blended and can also be eaten raw.
These little nubby roots have been all over Israel lately and having never cooked with them before I decided to pick some up when I was shopping at the amazing health food store, Eden, that recently opened up nearby.
My first thought was to cut them thin and pan fry them with a lovely dipping sauce on the side, but soon my thoughts changed over to a creamy soup. I love soup and in about 2 weeks or so summer is going to return to Be’er Sheva bringing with it temperatures of 95F or warmer and when that comes there will be no soups until November when the weather starts to cool down a bit at night.
I decided to make this soup for friends who were coming by for dinner and decided it needed something more to make the soup more of a meal. In a moment of craziness I decided to try my hand at homemade tortellini. Homemade mushroom tortellini. It was the perfect accompaniment to the light and creamy soup.
For The Soup (serves about 8 )
2 Lbs. Jerusalem Artichokes, scrubbed and sliced
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion, Chopped
1 Cup Dry White Wine
6 Cups Chicken Stock
3/4 Cup Cream
Salt and White Pepper to taste
1 Pinch Saffron
3 Egg Yolks
5 Cups Flour, Plus more for work surface
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Mixed Mushrooms, Chopped(I used portobella and cremini)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Leek, Chopped
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, Chopped
2 Tablespoons White Wine
1/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bring 1/2 cup water and saffron to a boil. Cook until reduced by half. Strain; let cool.
Whisk together egg yolks, eggs, and saffron reduction in a medium bowl until combined and set aside.
In a large bowl place flour, salt, and olive oil; pulse to combine with a hand mixer or food processor.
While still beating, slowly add the egg mixture and pulse until the dough resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and let rest 2 hours before using.
Make the filling by melting butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
Add the leeks and saute for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add the wine and thyme and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and stir in ricotta cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When tortellini dough is chilled roll out using a pasta maker or by hand with a rolling pin on a floured surface. (If rolling by hand try to get as thin as you can get.)
Cut squares out of dough and place a teaspoon in the center of the square.
Fold into a triangle and shape around your finger.
Set aside on a baking sheet until ready to cook.
Boil water and cook tortellini for about 5 minutes, drain, serve with soup.
In a large soup pot, heat 4 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.
Add the chopped leeks and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the Jerusalem artichokes and cook for 7-10 more minutes.
Add the white wine and cook until almost all the wine is evaporated.
Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes and jerusalem artichokes are tender.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender and return to pot.
Add cream and season with salt and white pepper.
Serve with fresh tortellini on top.