Raviolo with an Oozy Egg, Smoked Salmon and Griddled Asparagus
For the pasta dough:
- 200g Tipo ’00’ pasta flour
- Extra flour and Polenta, to dust
- 2 large eggs
For the filling
- 125g Spinach leaves
- 50g Smoked salmon, finely chopped
- 125g Ricotta
- 40g Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 Large egg
- 4 Egg yolks
- Truffle oil, to drizzle (optional)
- 8 Sage leaves finely chopped
- 50g Salted butter
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 20 Asparagus Spears, woody ends removed
Now this really is a big favourite of ours and a big hit if you want to show off to guests if you are having dinner party. Quite technical and a little tricky but it is well worth it in the end and will be sure to impress your family and friends.
Making your filling:
Steam the spinach in a large covered saucepan and cover with a little water and cook for about five minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat, drain and leave to cool. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze to remove the water. This is a really important step. If there’s any excess water in the filling it may cause the pasta to disintegrate, so make sure the spinach is as dry as possible.
Finely chop the spinach then combine in a mixing bowl with the finely chopped salmon, ricotta and parmesan. Season, to taste, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. To bind the filling, add the remaining egg and mix well. Transfer the filling to a large piping bag.
Making your fresh pasta:
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs in to the well, add a pinch of salt then with a fork, mix the egg into the flour as much as possible so it’s not sticky. Don’t worry if there are lumps in the dough, keep mixing and until crumbs form. Put it on a flat surface and knead together until you have a silky smooth elastic dough. You are aiming to achieve a playdough-like texture. If your dough is crumbly (too dry) add a teaspoon of olive oil. If the dough sticks to your hands (too wet) add a little extra flour. Cover with cling film and rest for 30 minutes.
If you are using a pasta roller, take tennis ball-sized amounts of dough, squash them flat with your fingers (remember to keep the rest of your dough covered with the cling film so it doesn’t go dry and crusty), push them through the pasta roller on the widest setting. Fold into thirds, then repeat 3 times. Once you have a rough square shape, start working it through the machine, taking it down one setting at a time, until the thinnest setting. If your pasta is too sticky, it won’t go through smoothly, add a little flour to each side before you put it through the roller.
You should end up with 2 long sheets of pasta. You can also roll this by hand using a rolling pin but you’ll need some serious elbow grease to get your pasta sheets really thin and wide (about 1 playing card thick and 8-10cm wide). But it is good fun to do with children and they really do enjoy rolling out the pasta with the rolling pin.
Lay the pasta out flat on a floured surface. Using a 12 cm ring cutter, mark 4 circles out on 1 of the pasta sheets. Starting 2.5cm in from the edge of the pasta, pipe a nest shape on to each circle for your egg yolk to sit in – they should be about 2.5cm high. Carefully drop an egg yolk into each nest and add a pinch of salt.
Cut another pasta sheet into 4 squares big enough to drape over each raviolo. Brush the edges of the pasta circles with egg wash, then place each one over each marked out circle. Seal tightly, gently squeezing out all the air and then cut them out using your 12cm ring. Make sure your pasta has no holes or gaps in it. These ravioli are very delicate because of the soft raw egg yolk inside, so they need to be properly sealed and handled with care.
Cut four sheets of baking paper in to squares big enough to hold each raviolo. Add a dusting of polenta to the baking paper and place one raviolo on each – this will make them easier to transport.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Lower the heat so the water is at a gentle rolling boil. Very gently lower each ravioli and baking parchment into the boiling water. The paper will come away from the ravioli in the water. Cook for three to four minutes. Don’t let the water boil too vigorously as this may cause the ravioli to split.
Meanwhile, place the asparagus on a hot griddle pan, and cook for about 5 minutes, until nicely charred, turning regularly. Remove from the griddle, drizzle with olive oil and keep warm till needed.
While the pasta is cooking, melt your butter in a pan until it starts to bubble and add the sage. Divide the asparagus between 4 plates. Then, carefully remove the ravioli from the water one at a time, using a slotted spoon and place one on to each plate, on top of the asparagus spears. Sprinkle on some grated parmesan, spoon over a tablespoon of the melted butter and sage (it should sizzle), and drizzle with a little truffle oil if desired.
Twins Tips (Twips)
The water that you boil your pasta in, should be as salty as the mediterranean sea, remember this 😉
Make sure you have at least two-thirds more water than pasta in the pan to cook.
Fresh pasta cooks much quicker than dried.
You should use Tipo ’00’ flour to make fresh pasta. It makes a world of difference. Don’t make life difficult, invest in good quality flour.