Thursday, June 25, 2009

Minted Creamed Asparagus and Ricotta Ravioli with Asparagus Tips



Sunday Dinner continued....

As I mentioned a few days ago, last weekend Nick & I cooked a huge classic Sunday Dinner - these Minted Creamed Asparagus and Ricotta Ravioli with Asparagus Tips were the star of the show. Making homemade raviloi at home is surprisingly easy. I don't have a pasta maker / fancy pasta attachment to our mixer so unfortunately I haven't reached Italian Grandmother status yet by making my own dough.

Some recipes (and Giada DeLaurentiis) suggest using wonton skins, as pasta sheets, when making raviloi or tortellini at home. I don't buy it - wonton wrappers are thin and dough-less and do not mimic a homemade pasta. However, the fresh pasta sheet available at Whole Foods (and other specialty foods shops...for only $3.99/lb.) work perfectly and are exactly what the Doctor ordered - already meticulously rolled thin, perfectly dough-ey, and easy to work with.

Remember, we're sticking with the Jamie Oliver theme here:
Minted Creamed Asparagus and Ricotta Ravioli with Asparagus Tips and Butter:
*Jamie's recipe is for Totellini but I just decided to make raviolis instead. I also used a lot less butter in the sauce, which was fine.

Serves 4-6
2 really good bunches of asparagus
olive oil
1/3 cup butter *I used about 3 tablespoons and it was fine
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
14 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/2 good handfuls of fresh mint, finely chopped
3-4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb pasta
extra Parmesan to serve

First of all wash the asparagus; it is surprising how many little bits of grit can be on the tips, so wash the tips and give the stalks a quick wash too. Then, gathering your asparagus tips about 2 1/2 to 3 inches from the top and put to one side.

Carefully peel away any stringy bits from the stalks and discard. Finely slice the stalks across and saute gently with a little olive oil, some of the butter and all the garlic. Once the asparagus stalks are well cooked, even semi-mushy, add a little seasoning and allow to cool.

Once cooled, place the stalks in a bowl with the ricotta, three-quarters of the mint and the Parmesan. Fold everything together and check for seasoning.


Fill the ravioli: Cut the pasta sheets into 2-3" squares. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling into the middle of a square, using your finger, line the edges with water (not egg) and press to seal. Then press a fork around he edges to crimp and seal tighter. These can be cooked right away, or you can store them on a semolina-dusted tray in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours if you want to cook them later.



Gently boil the ravioli, in a big pot of salted water, for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove rather than dumping the pot out into a colander because the ravioli are delicate. While the ravioli cook, place the asparagus tip in boiling water and cook until tender. Toss the tips into a bowl with a little salt and the remaining butter, and spoon over your ravioli.

Sprinkle with extra Parmesan and top with the remaining chopped mint.


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