Cauliflower and Lemon Ravioli

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When I made my first batch of ravioli with a cauliflower stuffing some weeks ago, I contemplated whether I would make it with red wine or with white wine and ended up making a delicious red wine version with great depth of flavor. The idea of a ‘fresher’ version with white wine and lemon lingered, and so I decided to make that one as well. The result was equally delicious, but lighter and fresher. Both cauliflower ravioli recipes are great, it depends on what type of flavor you’re looking for and what wine (red or wine) you’d like to drink with them. The technique is the same: braising the cauliflower gives these ravioli great depth of flavor. The trick is to balance the other ingredients such that they blend into one flavor with the cauliflower rather than tasting the individual elements.

Ingredients

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For 40 ravioli, 4-8 servings

600 grams (1.3 lbs) cauliflower, separated into florets

juice and zest of a lemon

3 anchovy fillets or the equivalent amount of anchovy paste

1 celery stalk, minced

1 small onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp fresh minced flat leaf parsley

180 ml (3/4 cup) dry white wine

60 grams (6 Tbsp) freshly grated pecorino cheese

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp crumbled dried chile pepper

2 Tbsp slivered almonds

1 Tbsp capers, rinsed

extra virgin olive oil

2 eggs

200 grams (1 1/4 cup) Italian 00 flour

salt

Preparation

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Roast the cumin seeds (5 minutes) and the slivered almonds (10 minutes) in the oven at 180C/350F.

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Put the cumin seeds and crumbled dried chile pepper (without the seeds) in a mortar.

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Use the pestle to grind into a coarse powder.

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Sweat the onions, celery and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium low heat until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the anchovies or anchovy paste.

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Stir for a minute longer.

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Clean the cauliflower and keep about 100 grams (3.5 oz) of small cauliflower florets separate.

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Wash the remaining cauliflower under cold running water.

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Add to the onion mixture.

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Add the white wine.

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Add the cumin-chile powder.

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Add the zest of the lemon.

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Add the juice of the lemon. Season with salt.

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Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat.

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Cover and allow to simmer for at least an hour over low heat, stirring now and then. Add only a bit of water or white wine when absolutely necessary. It is fine if the cauliflower browns just a little, but it should not burn.

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Continue to braise until the cauliflower is soft enough to mash it with a fork.

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As soon as the cauliflower is ready, transfer it to a bowl and mash it with a fork.

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Add most of the freshly grated pecorino cheese and about 3 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and continue to mash to incorporate the cheese into the mixture.

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Add most of the parsley and stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The stuffing should taste slightly overseasoned. You could add some more ground cumin or cayenne pepper, but be careful not to disturb the balance of flavors. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to allow the stuffing to firm up.

Make pasta dough from the flour and eggs according to my instructions. Wrap it with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for half an hour.

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Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Toss the reserved cauliflower with olive oil so it is completely coated.

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Roast the cauliflower until it is brown and crispy, 30-45 minutes.

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Roll out the pasta dough and make ravioli according to my instructions. Cook the ravioli for a couple of minutes in boiling salted water.

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Serve the ravioli at once on warm plates with the roasted cauliflower, toasted almonds, remaining grated pecorino, remaining parsley, capers, and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil. It is also a good idea to put just a bit of oil under the ravioli so they won’t stick to the plate.

Wine pairing

This pairs well with a full-bodied riesling, sauvignon blanc or rueda (verdejo), or in other words a full-bodied dry white with some ‘zing’ to it.

Flashback


Scallops are perfect for hot smoking and serving them as a snack with drinks, as they have just the right size. Just stick a toothpick in each and you are ready to serve. The smoke does overpower the delicate flavor of the scallops just a bit, but the resulting flavor and texture is delicious all the same.

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8 thoughts on “Cauliflower and Lemon Ravioli

  1. Looks great, S! You are inspiring me to try ravioli one of these days. I really like the flavors you have included here and also that is is mostly vegetarian. Thanks for posting this!
    D

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  2. Love both making and eating ravioli, but have never used cauliflower in the filling and am now dying to try. Did not expect the cumin seeds: nice! And my mind turns to white wine as usual . . . can almost always reach for a sauv blanc :) !

    Like

  3. Do you prefer dough made with eggs to durum wheat flour/water for ravioli? I’ve recently found out that working with durum wheat is actually easier than I thought. I love fresh pasta made with eggs. But sometimes I find the taste of the eggs distracting. I’m really curious to hear your opinion on that.

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    • Stuffed pasta originates in Northern Italy, where soft 00 flour and eggs are used to make pasta. In the South durum wheat flour and water are used to make pasta such as orecchiette. I do not know of any stuffed pasta recipes from the South.
      What is done in the North to reduce the taste of eggs, is to replace part of the eggs (or sometimes all) with water or sometimes white wine. Using soft 00 flour will make the pasta more delicate, which is usually what is best for ravioli and the like.

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