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.
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…
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
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking soda
For the pasta dough
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
extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated parmigiano
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.
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.
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.
These spinach tartlets with pine nuts are a great side for red meat, or even wonderful by themselves as a vegetarian dish.