Monday, 16 May 2011

Cheese ravioli with asparagus

Making fresh pasta is my favourite stress relief. Whenever I feel wired up and under a lot of stress I make some pasta. Some might think making pasta at home is enormous waste of time but they couldn’t be more wrong. It’s truth, you can buy god pasta almost anywhere in the world but nothing beats homemade fresh pasta.

Since I grew up in pasta loving family, making homemade pasta was something quite usual in our home. My grandmother makes most perfect spinach green pasta. I used to watch her knead the dough and roll it by hands. It was an amazing process that really made me appreciate all the time and energy put into making perfect pasta meal.

When I started cooking and experimenting with food, pasta machine was one of the first things I bought. It’s really much easier to make past with that little machine. So if you still don’t have one you should really consider buying it. But don’t worry if don’t have one, it’s possible to make wonderful pasta without pasta machine, my grandma still doesn’t have one and makes perfect pasta by hands.
Ravioli are my favourite kind of pasta; I really love all of the possibility they give you. You can make them in all kinds of shapes, and when it comes to fillings you can be as creative as you want.

I was experimenting a lot with asparagus this season and I wanted to try something little bit different than usual salad I always make. Since these were last asparagus this spring I wanted to make something really special.

For pasta lover as myself ravioli were the obvious choice. So I rolled up my sleeves and made this little dish that came out surprisingly god. If you have some extra time on your hands this recipe could be a god way of spending it. :)

for the pasta
200 g/ 7 oz all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
some extra flour for dusting and rolling the dough
some olive oil if needed

for the filling
200 g/ 7 oz cottage cheese
30 g/ 1 oz grinded almonds and walnuts
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1 large egg
pinch of salt

for the asparagus sauce
500 g/17.5 oz asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon golden resins
30 g/ 1 oz toasted pine nuts
grated Parmesan cheese

  • Place the flour on a board, add salt and semolina flour. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it.
  • Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Combine everything by hand.
  • Continue to knead dough with your hands. This usually takes some time and strength but longer you knead the better result you’ll have in the end.
  • You should get very thick dough. If your dough is sticky add some more flour and if it’s too dry add little bit of olive oil.
  • Shape the dough in the ball and wrap it in clinging film. Leave it to rest in room temperature for an hour or so.
  • Divide pasta dough into 4 smaller lumps.
  • Roll out every lump with the rolling pin. It doesn't have to be very thin, just enough to fit the pasta machine.
  • Set the pasta machine at its widest setting and roll the pasta dough through it.
  • Click the machine down a setting and roll the pasta dough through again.
  • Repeat this until you reach the narrowest setting on your machine.
  • When you have rolled out all of the dough you can start making ravioli.
  • Cut your fresh pasta into strips of manageable size.
  • Using a small teaspoon, place a heaping teaspoon of filling on the strips, each about 3-inches apart. Be consistent in the amounts for each ravioli.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush a small amount of water around the filling.
  • Place another strip of pasta dough on top of the one with the filling and using your fingers, gently press around all the edges and in between the mounds of cheese filling. Carefully push excess air out of the pockets but don't push the cheese filling out.
  • Using ravioli cuter or cookie cutter, cut out raviolis, trimming each edge to fully seal it.
  • Cook ravioli in a lot of boiling water for just a couple of minutes. Homemade pasta takes less time to cook than store bought.
  • Combine cooked pasta with asparagus sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese.

for the filing
  • In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Leave it in the fridge until needed.

for the asparagus sauce
  • Clean the asparagus, cut or snap off the bottom, the stems will naturally break where the tough woody part ends and the tender stem begins. Woody parts are not for eating but you can still use them to make a broth for risottos.
  • Wash the asparagus under the cold running water and then poach them in salted boiling water. This doesn’t take long, just 5 minutes or so.
  • Drain the asparagus reserving 2 – 3 tablespoons of the cooking water.
  • In large sauce pan melt butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add raisins and sauté until puffed and browned.
  • Add asparagus and some of reserved water, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat and add toasted pine nuts.
  • Serve with homemade ravioli.

1 comment:

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

Such a beauty and labor of love. I have never made fresh pasta but I can imagine its relaxing as baking is for me!

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