Friday, July 10, 2009

Ravioli Filled With Cheese and Pea Shoots

The completed dish
Pea shoots before butter and heat...
...and after.

Here's the filling part.

I served the ravioli with pea pods and shallots in a sauce of butter and olive oil.

Well, that was interesting. Still trying to feed my family with what I have in the garden, I devised this little meal using pea shoots like spinach. Everyone liked it. At this point in the season, the greens are getting a bit tough, so cooking them in half a stick of butter first really seemed to do the trick. Funny how cooking vegetables in half a stick of butter will make things taste better. Really, isn't it just amazing? Hey,Dairy Board-hire me, I'm your best customer!

It looks like a bit of work, but really it took just over an hour start to finish.

For the pasta:

3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg (I used large) Reserve egg whites for sealing edges of ravioli
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semolina
1-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Beat the eggs until light. Add the water and salt and mix well. Add the semolina with a mixer, then by hand add enough all purpose flour to make a stiff dough. Divide into four pieces, and flatten into rectangles. Let stand a few minutes to dry out. It helps to keep the work surface floured as it lets the dough pass through the pasta maker easier. You can make these by hand with a rolling pin (I've done it) but they won't get quite as thin). While the pasta firms up, prepare the filling.

For the filling:

2 cups 4% cottage cheese, drained
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic granules (I prefer them to fresh garlic in this)
Black pepper
4 cups trimmed pea shoots, tough stems discarded
1/2 stick butter

Combine the cottage cheese, Swiss cheese and garlic in a bowl. Grind in the pepper. In a pan, melt the butter and then cook the peas shoots until soft and wilted. Remove from heat, stir into cheese mixture.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and dust lightly with flour. Run the sections of dough through a pasta maker until reasonably thin. You don't want them to burst when filled, or tear in the water, but they shouldn't be so thick that they are difficult to chew. Lay the strips on a floured surface and dot with filling leaving space to seal. This is a matter of taste, I prefer quite a bit of pasta overlap, but some people do not. They are your ravioli-don't let some food snob bastard tell you how to enjoy your ravioli. You go ahead and roll them any way you like.

Using your reserved egg whites, brush the edges and around the ravioli and then fold the dough over. This is the tricky part-you want to seal out as much air as possible around the filling. Once that is done, take a sharp knife and cut them apart. Lay them on the prepared baking sheet and let them dry out for a few minutes while you heat a pot of boiling water.

Once the salted water has come to a boil, reduce it to medium high-they don't need a hard, rapid boil. Cook about ten minutes, or until done to your liking.

I topped mine with pea pods and shallots in butter and oil.

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