Goat Cheese and White Asparagus Ravioli

There are already two similar recipes on this blog, ravioli with green asparagus and goat cheese and white asparagus ravioli with prosciutto, but the combination of white asparagus and goat cheese is so good that I wanted to share this with you anyway. Especially if paired with a nice glass of Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. The peels and ends of the asparagus are used to make the sauce, so all the flavor of the asparagus is used in this recipe.

Handmade ravioli requires some practice, but once you get the hang of it (and have a stand mixer with pasta attachment to reduce the effort), it is fantastic to delight your guests with. These ravioli are more difficult to get right because of the soft filling, so by all means try something with an easy filling like mozzarella, prosciutto, and sage, before trying your hand at this recipe.

Ingredients

Serves 4, makes about 24 ravioli

  • 8 white asparagus
  • 150 grams (5 oz) soft goat cheese, preferably French raw milk such as crottin de chavignol
  • 2x 60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine, for the filling and the sauce
  • 3 eggs, 1 for the filling, and 2 for the pasta dough
  • about 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) Italian 00 flour
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) ricotta
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2x 25 grams (2 x 2 Tbsp) butter, for the filling and the sauce

Instructions

Peel the asparagus and remove the ends.

Place the peels and ends in a pot, preferably a pressure cooker, but a regular pot will do.

Barely cover with water. Bring this to a boil, covered, and allow to simmer for an hour. Or bring to pressure and pressure cook for half an hour.

Cut the tops off the asparagus, season them with salt, and vacuum seal (to be cooked sous vide; the alternative is to steam the asparagus). You should have about 200 grams (7 oz) of asparagus left after removing the tops to be used for the filling.

Dice the remaining asparagus into brunoise. This is done by halving the asparagus lengthwise and then halving those halves again, to end up with 4 strips. Then chop the strips into small dice.

Heat 25 grams (2 Tbsp) butter in a frying pan. Add the minced shallot as soon as the butter foams, and lower the heat.

Stir the shallot over low heat until it is soft and slightly golden, 5 to 10 minutes. The shallots should not crisp up or turn brown.

Then add the asparagus brunoise.

Stir the asparagus over medium-high heat until they are almost soft, but not quite.

Deglaze the pan with 60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine.

Allow the wine to evaporate, stirring with a wooden spatula to release any flavor that got stuck to the pan. This step will also finish cooking the asparagus to be soft but with a little bite to them. Turn off the heat as soon as most of the wine has evaporated, then season the asparagus with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Allow to cool.

Remove a part of the crust of the goat cheese and reserve to be used as a garnish at the end. Allow the crust to dry out a little in the refrigerator. Roughly chop the remaining goat cheese.

Place the chopped goat cheese in the bowl of a blender or food processor with 1 egg and 50 grams (1/4 cup) of ricotta.

Process until smooth.

Place the goat cheese mixture and the asparagus in a bowl.

Stir until mixed well, then allow to cool and to firm up a bit in the refrigerator. It won’t be come completely firm, but it does help to chill the filling for making the ravioli later.

Strain the asparagus stock into a wide pan.

You can squeeze out more flavor out of the peels and ends by wrapping them in an old (but clean) tea towel and wringing it out. Discard the peels and ends afterwards.

Bring the asparagus stock to a boil, and then simmer it until reduced to a thin layer in the pan.

In the meantime, make the pasta dough, allow it to rest for half an hour, and then make ravioli according to my instructions.

The amount of ravioli will depend on their size. With about 1/2 tablespoon of filling per ravioli, you should end up with about 24 pieces.

Because of the moist filling secret #7 is important: make sure to turn the ravioli after while in order to allow the bottoms to dry as well, as otherwise they may get stuck.

The dish can be prepared up until this point. To complete and serve the dish, the next steps are:

  • Cook the asparagus tips sous vide for 15-30 minutes at 85C/185F, depending on their thickness and your preference (for whole asparagus I use 30-45 minutes, but these are just the tips, which are more tender). Instead of sous vide, you could also steam them for about 15 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Make sure the asparagus stock has been reduced to just a thin layer.

Add 60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine to the reduced asparagus stock.

Bring to a boil and allow to reduce to about half to burn off the alcohol. Then turn off the heat.

When the water boils, boil the ravioli for 1-2 minutes only.

In the meantime, add 25 grams (2 Tbsp) of cold butter, cut into small cubs, to the sauce, and spread them out in the pan.

Stir until the butter has melted. This step will bind the sauce a little and is performed with the heat off, as otherwise the sauce may break.

After 1-2 minutes of boiling, scoop the ravioli out of the pot with a slotted spoon, and add them to the sauce. Do this quickly to avoid overcooking the ravioli.

Gently toss the ravioli to cover them with the sauce.

Serve the ravioli on preheated plates, and garnish with the asparagus tips, and chopped crust of the goat cheese.

Wine pairing

This is delicious with a Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, French dry white wine from the Loire valley made from Sauvignon Blanc. You could try another Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, New Zealand, or South Africa, but those are often too fruity or too aromatic. An elegant mineral style of Sauvignon Blanc is best with this dish.

Flashback

This very unusual cake from Monferrato with apple, pumpkin, chocolate, raisins, figs, amaretti, brandy, and rum is very delicious.The flavor is perfectly balanced and very complex.

5 thoughts on “Goat Cheese and White Asparagus Ravioli

  1. This looks absolutely wonderful. I’ve had your divine ravioli before so I’m certain this would be wonderful too. I particularly love that you use all of the asparagus. We had some white asparagus while we were in Spain but they seemed a little mushy to me, perhaps they were overcooked? I’ve not had white asparagus very often so I’m not exactly sure what it should be. I love the crunch of perfectly cooked green asparagus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They should not be mushy, so they were overcooked. The worst is white asparagus from a glass jar, which manage to be both stringy and mushy at the same time. Sous vide or steamed is a better texture (more bite) than boiled (especially sous vide). The texture should be different from green asparagus though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s nothing I don’t absolutely LOVE about this recipe! When we traveled through Germany and Switzerland years ago in I think late May, white asparagus were everywhere and I indulged every day. With ham and bechamel. Heavenly.

    Liked by 1 person

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