Ravioli Primavera

DSC08084
To celebrate the coming of Spring I wanted to create a dish with spring vegetables, and came up with these wonderful ravioli filled with baby asparagus, snow peas, peas, baby carrots, ricotta, parmigiano, and basil. Served with a fresh tomato sauce they are delicious and I will definitely prepare them again. They have such a lovely flavor and actually taste of Spring.

I have a confession to make though. To celebrate Spring here in the Netherlands, I used peas from Kenya, snow peas from Guatemala, baby asparagus from Peru, baby carrots from Spain, basil from Israel, and tomatoes from Dutch greenhouses. To make these with local ingredients, I’d have to wait for some months and the dish would end up being Summer Ravioli instead. Of course it would taste even better with fresh local ingredients.

DSC08075
A trick I used to give the green vegetables a vibrant color is to parboil them with a bit of baking soda. The baking soda makes the water alkaline (the opposite of acid), which makes the vegetables cook more quickly and become a bright green. If instead you were to add vinegar to the water, the vegetables would take longer to cook and the color would become more olive green. All the vegetables should be cooked such that they are tender but still have some bite. Cooking times may vary according to the size and quality of the vegetables. The younger they are, the quicker they will be tender.

I’m running behind a bit on posting, as I have quite a number of recipes all photographed and ready to be written and published. I prepared this tonight and it was so good that I decided to post it straight away. So here goes…

Ingredients

DSC08034
For about 30 ravioli, 2 servings as a main course or 4 servings as primo piatto

100 grams (1/2 cup) peas (fresh or frozen)

75 grams snow peas, diced (1/2 cup when diced)

100 grams baby carrots, peeled and diced (1/2 cup when diced)

100 grams baby asparagus, top 5 cm (2″) reserved and the remainder sliced (1/2 cup when sliced)

20 grams (.7 oz) basil

50 grams freshl grated parmigiano (1 cup)

125 grams (1/2 cup) ricotta

1 egg, beaten

salt

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tsp baking soda

For the pasta dough

2 eggs

about 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) Italian 00 flour

For the tomato sauce

500 grams (1.1 lbs) ripe plum tomatoes

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For serving

extra virgin olive oil

freshly grated parmigiano

Preparation

DSC08035
Bring a saucepan with 500 ml (2 cups) water to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp sugar. Add the peas.

DSC08036
Boil for 3 minutes.

DSC08037
Drain and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

DSC08039
To dice the snow peas, cut them in 3 or 4 strips lengthwise…

DSC08043
…and then chop crosswise.

DSC08045
Boil the snow peas for 1 minute in 500 ml (2 cups) water with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

DSC08047
Boil the carrots for 3 minutes in 500 ml (2 cups) water with 1/2 tsp salt. Drain and rinse with cold water.

DSC08050
Pat dry with paper towels.

DSC08048
Reserve the tips (top 5 cm or 2 inches) of the baby asparagus. Trim the bottom and slice the rest.

Boil the sliced asparagus for 2 minutes in 500 ml (2 cups) water with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Drain, rinse with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.

DSC08052
Combine all the vegetables in a bowl.

DSC08053
Add the ricotta, the parmigiano, the beaten egg, and 3/4 of the basil (leaves only, cut into chiffonade). Season with salt.

DSC08054
Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. (If you are worried about eating raw egg, you could taste before adding the egg.) As usual with ravioli, use slightly more salt in the filling than you think you do.

DSC08055
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to firm up in the refrigerator.

DSC08056
Meanwhile, make the pasta dough, allow it to rest for half an hour, roll it out thinly, and make ravioli with about a tablespoon of filling in each raviolo.

DSC08058
These ravioli are a bit bigger than usual, with a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of filling in each.

DSC08062
Make a tomato sauce from the tomatoes, the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Keep it warm over low heat. Add the remainder of the basil chiffonade.

DSC08061
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the ravioli. Bring 500 ml (2 cups) water to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda and the reserved asparagus tips. Boil them for 2 minutes, then drain.

DSC08064
Add salt and ravioli to the large pot of water and cook the ravioli for 2-3 minutes. Lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon…

DSC08065
…and add them to the tomato sauce.

DSC08067
When you’ve added all of the ravioli to the tomato sauce, add freshly grated parmigiano and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

DSC08068
Toss the ravioli to coat them with the sauce.

DSC08071
Serve at once on preheated plates, sprinkled with some more freshly grated parmigiano.

DSC08084
Don’t forget to garnish with the asparagus tips!

Flashback

IMG_8622
These spinach tartlets with pine nuts are a great side for red meat, or even wonderful by themselves as a vegetarian dish.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Ravioli Primavera

  1. These look delish. Help me here please. Every time I make ravioli with anything other than a bone dry filling I’m having to constantly turn them to avoid them sticking to the board while they await cooking which is a real fiddle. This is despite flour, semolina etc. I always roll my pasta to the thinnest setting. Is this my problem?

    Like

    • Hi Susan,
      I always roll out pasta for ravioli to the thinnest setting to make them more delicate, and I never have problems with sticking as long as I use flour and turn (just once) them if needed. As dry fillings are fine, your problem must be in the filling. The filling should be moist but not wet. That is why I dry the vegetables with paper towels in this recipe. You may also have to drain the ricotta. Italians regulate the moistness of the dough by adding more parmigiano (to make it drier) or more egg. You could also use breadcrumbs, but that dilutes the flavor. It also helps to allow the filling to firm up in the refrigerator. If the filling has ‘leaked’ liquid while it rested, that is a sign your filling is too moist.
      Finally, your pasta dough may also be on the moist side. It should only be barely sticky. Gradually add more flour if needed. 100 grams of flour per egg is only a guideline. You may need more if your eggs are large or if the flour and/or air is humid. If you each sheet of pasta right away, before rolling out the next, there should be no need to moisten the dough to close the ravioli.
      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.

      Like

      • Stefan I think it may be due to a combo of things – possibly my pasta is too wet (I’m nervous of making it too dry and impossible to handle but I may be able to go a bit drier). Also I don’t drain the ricotta which I will do next time. I’m definitely with you in terms of avoiding breadcrumbs in favour of flavoursome alternatives. Also I use egg to seal (again I’ll be brave and do without). Having said that, my problem resulted in my brain working on less moist fillings and so I’m going to try smoked mackerel soon – whizzed with some cream cheese and lemon rind and serve with a lemon, caper/dill butter sauce and just maybe a few finely sliced radishes which can’t be bad.
        I do appreciate the time you took to reply – I feel that sharing via blogs such as yours is a vital replacement for the generation to generation sharing of cooking which is sadly lacking in many families.

        Like

  2. I live in the Pacific Northwest in the USA. Like you, it would be summer to be able to make a fresh local dish of this. We call this time of the year “Sprinter.” (SPRINg + winTER) It’s all good. As long as you can find fresh, no matter the source, it is better than processed canned food. But canned tomatoes and such just sometimes can’t be helped, you can only get what you can get in a season for your area. That is a beautiful ravioli, Stefan!!!

    Like

  3. Dear Stefan,
    this sounds good – but for a filling that really shows spring in Northern Europe use the first nettles, ashweed, dandelion, wild garlic, etc.
    Unusual and very lovely.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s