Yes, it’s another ravioli filling recipe, though not the one I had originally intended to post. Today’s filling recipe was to include ramps, a dish Zia and I developed during my last visit home. Well, ramp season has passed and I doubt that any of the wild onions are to be found anywhere. Asparagus, on the other hand, is still around, though it’s numbers have greatly decreased over the last 2 weekends. (The ramps post is written and will be published soon.) Seeing that asparagus season is also fleeting, I thought it best to post a recipe using the spears now, while you can still get some that are locally grown. In fact, all 3 recipes presented in today’s post will take advantage of the current harvest. The “Déjà vu” recipe will feature strawberries, while “Coming soon” is a pasta recipe that includes a number of fresh ingredients.
Today’s post will only detail how to make asparagus ravioli filling. If you’re interested in seeing how to use ravioli molds/dies to create the stuffed pasta pillows, you can see step-by-step instructions by clicking HERE. For serving suggestions, see Notes below.
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Asparagus, Crimini Mushroom, & Ricotta Ravioli Filling Recipe
Yield: See Notes below.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 8 oz (228 g) fresh asparagus, chopped
- 8 oz (228 g) fresh crimini mushrooms, chopped
- 3 oz (86 g) Spring onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 3/4 cup (12 oz, 340 g) ricotta, well-drained
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Roman cheese, grated
- Clean and roughly chop the asparagus (see Notes), mushrooms, onion, & garlic
- Heat olive oil and butter over med-high heat. Add asparagus, mushroom, and onion, lower heat to medium, and sauté until mixture just begins to change color — about 6 or 7 minutes.
- Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and continue to sauté until liquids are gone. Do not allow to burn.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool fully before proceeding.
- If using a food processor:
- Place the asparagus mixture into the processor, add the ricotta and Romano cheeses, and process until uniformly smooth.
- If not using a food processor:
- Chop the asparagus mixture as finely as possible.
- Add the cheeses and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Filling may now be used with your favorite stuffed pasta recipe.
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Using this recipe and my large, 2 inch (5 cm), ravioli die/mold , I made 90 ravioli. You might make more or less, depending upon the size of the die or stamp used.
Whether you use homemade or store-bought ricotta, place the cheese in a clean coffee filter, where it can drain for at least a few hours to remove the excess liquid. The drier the better.
You can serve your asparagus ravioli in a number of ways. I’ve found that a brown butter and sage sauce works very well, as do cream and “light” tomato sauces. For those who really enjoy asparagus, simply sauté a few chopped asparagus spears in butter and use that to dress freshly cooked ravioli. A bit of lemon zest on top works very well. In all the examples given, grated cheese should be sprinkled atop the dressed ravioli.
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Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3
I’ve made this and a couple other ravioli fillings over the course of the past couple of months and it gave me an opportunity to experiment with a few things.
- All Purpose V Double 0 Flour. Last Fall I, finally, located a source for “00” flour, doppio 0. This is the finely ground durum flour used to make pasta and pizza dough in Italy. Although it’s roughly twice as expensive as AP flour, both Zia and I agree that using it creates pasta dough with a great feel. When cooked al dente, the pasta has a good bite, just as it should, and I’ll continue to buy and use it. Decisions have consequences, however, and I now have yet another container of flour in my kitchen. For those keeping track, that makes 6 — AP, bread, wheat, spelt, semolina, and now 00.
- Attachment V Ravioli Die/Mold. I decided to pull out the KitchenAid ravioli maker and give it another shot. In the past I’ve found it less than perfect and, frankly, more trouble than it’s worth. All along, I thought that the fault may lie with the fillings I used, that the attachment would work best if a softer filling was in the hopper. Today’s asparagus ravioli filling was used to test my theory. I must admit that the ravioli maker worked better than it ever has and waste — which was a big problem with earlier trials — was minimal. Even if a bit cumbersome to operate, probably due to my inexperience, it did produce row after row of perfect ravioli. All’s not well, though. In order to get perfect ravioli, the dough sheets must be thick, more than double the thickness that we normally would use. That means you need to make at least twice the amount of pasta dough than would normally be required when using ravioli molds/dies. It, also, means the ratio of filling to pasta is different from the ravioli to which I’m accustomed. (Yes, my generation of Bartolini are a spoiled lot.) In short, the ravioli attachment is back on the shelf, waiting for me to give it another go, probably in 2015 sometime.
- Chicken V Duck Eggs. Recently, while waiting to buy eggs at the farmers market, the customer before me bought a half-dozen duck eggs. Prior to this, I thought they were only sold by the dozen. So, I 86’ed the chicken and went duck. A couple of days later, I used them to make the pasta dough used in the ravioli pictured throughout this post. For those unfamiliar, Mom’s pasta dough recipe calls for 4 eggs and enough water to make a cup of liquid. Because they’re larger, only 3 duck eggs plus less than a tbsp of water will yield the required cup of liquid. Once made, the dough was much more yellow than normal but, to be fair, that may be due to the eggs’ freshness more than anything else. As for taste, I really could not detect a difference but, then again, without side-by-side taste tests, I should really say that I don’t “remember” a difference. Given that duck eggs are twice the price of chicken eggs, I’m not sure that I’ll be a regular customer for them anytime soon.
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It’s déjà vu all over again …
As was mentioned, we’re just about at the end of asparagus season here in the Chicago area. The tables upon tables of the tasty spears have been replaced — by strawberries! Pictured on the right is just one vendor’s berries at the Evanston farmers market. Believe me, there are many more and I defy anyone, save those with allergies, to walk around that market without buying at least one quart. So, what will you do with these sweet & juicy red gems? Why, make strawberry jam, of course! You can see Mom’s recipe by clicking HERE.
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Coming soon to a monitor near you …
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