Stephanie Inn Dining Room Chef
Growing up in the small ranching town of La Grande in Eastern Oregon, Aaron’s childhood was a peppered with summers on cattle ranches, working on the line at his dad’s restaurant, and Sunday aromas of mom’s hearty stews simmering on the stovetop. Subsequent training with top honors at the Western Culinary Institute and a chance encounter with some of the Oregon coast’s top chefs at a charity event landed him at the beach, where he’s been ever since.
Ask Aaron what he loves to cook and he immediately jumps to those early
influences – Osso Bucco, lamb shanks, the anticipation of slow-cooked short ribs – but then pauses, as the Pacific bounty of Dungeness crab, oysters from Netarts Bay, and sleuthing out chanterelles in the coastal range vie for first place in his heart. When Astoria fisherman flag the first spring run Chinook salmon just for Aaron, well, it doesn’t get better than that (except on days off, when he angles the waters himself). Beyond the 8 chickens and heritage blueberries on his 2-acre coastal homestead, what Aaron loves most is being a part of so many guests’ special life moments, where beautiful, seasonal food makes for an unforgettable celebration.
Chef Aaron’s Award-Winning Stephanie Inn Short Rib Ravioli
For the Ravioli Filling:
4 Beef short ribs, bone in
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium onion, diced very small
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces Boursin cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 300° F. In an oven-safe sauté pan, heat oil. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and place in pan. Let brown on all sides. Turn heat off and add red wine, beef stock and Dijon mustard. Cover with foil and place in oven. Cook, covered until very tender, about 3 hours. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a medium sauté pan melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring often until onions are caramelized. Remove from heat and add nutmeg, cream cheese and Boursin. Remove the bones and dice the short ribs very small, stir into cheese onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator until ready to fill pasta.
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups semolina flour
1 cup water (or a little more if necessary)
In a mixing bowl combine flours. Make a well in the center and add eggs. Stir together with your fingers, slowly adding water until it forms a stiff dough. Put dough onto a floured surface and knead by folding over and flattening repeatedly until dough starts to tear. Place on flour and cover with up-side down bowl. Let rest for ten minutes. Repeat kneading until tearing, then resting ten minutes at least 3 times and until dough is nice and elastic after resting. Roll out to #7 thickness in a pasta roller (use according to manufacturer’s instructions).
Place large sheets of pasta that you just rolled out and brush with egg. Place small amounts of ravioli Filling in measured increments along the sheet. Gently place another layer of pasta over, trying not to get air bubbles. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out raviolis. Crimp the edges with a fork and place on floured sheet pan. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to boil and serve.
To cook, boil in salted water for 5-7 minutes. Remove from water and toss in cream sauce. Serve immediately.
Blue Cheese Cream Sauce
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a sauce pan, heat white wine. Let reduce to about 2 tablespoons. Add cream, shallot, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Let cook on medium heat, be careful not to let boil over, until reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in blue cheese. Strain through a fine sieve and season to taste.