Last week I gave a gushing review of ‘Made in Italy – Food and Stories’ by Giorgio Locatelli and my admiration for this Italian recipe book has not waned. In fact, since trying out a few more recipes, I have not stopped banging on about it to friends. I think they’re still my friends.
The only problem I have is the dishes are so tantalising, I can’t decide what to cook next – I’m the kid in the proverbial candy store.
I already made a batch of the incredibly delicious Walnut sauce so I thought I would use up the rest of that and serve up ‘Herb ravioli with walnut sauce’.
It is a very thorough recipe and takes patience and time. It incorporates Swiss chard which is in season at the moment and growing in abundance in my vegetable patch. I also have parsley, basil, rosemary, sage and spinach growing in the back and the nettles were not hard to come by so this worked out to be a very cheap meal indeed.
If you’re having it in the evening you will need to prepare it in the morning or the night before. This recipe also involved making fresh pasta dough but I used shop-bought fresh pasta sheets and they worked out a treat.
Herb ravioli with walnut sauce
- 125g Swiss chard leaves
- 2 large bunches of parsley leaves, plus a handful
- 2 large bunches of basil leaves
- 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
- Bunch of sage leaves
- 75ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 320g fresh spinach
- 100g young nettle leaves (optional)
- 600g borage leaves (optional)
- 350g ricotta
- ¼ tbsp nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 tbsp grated Parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 2 tomatoes
- Fresh egg pasta dough or shop-bought fresh pasta sheets
- 4 tbsp walnut paste (see link above)
- 75g butter
- Salt and pepper
- Add the herbs to the chard leaves, reserving one of the bunches of parsley for garnish.
- In a separate pan, warm the olive oil, add the herbs and chard leaves and the spinach, together with the nettle and borage leaves if using them. Gently stew without frying for 4-5 minutes until soft (you are softening rather than cooking, as you want everything to stay green). Drain in a colander and weight everything down for about half a day to lose as much of the excess moisture as possible.
- Put the contents of the colander into a food processor and whiz to a smooth paste, then transfer to a fine sieve and leave to drain for another 10 minutes or so.
- Put the ricotta into a bowl, add the drained herbs and leaves, season and add the nutmeg, Parmesan, one of the eggs and the breadcrumbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then put into the fridge until needed.
- Put the tomatoes into a large pan of boiling water for 10 seconds. Skin, quarter and deseed, then cut into about 1cm dice. Keep on the side while you make the ravioli.
- Make the pasta dough in the usual way or if using pasta sheets, mark the halfway point of your strip of pasta or pasta sheet and brush one half with beaten egg, then place the little mounds of filling (each about a teaspoonful) two abreast on the half brushed with egg, leaving a space of about 3-4cm between each mound. You should have enough to make around 10 from each strip.
- Fold the other half of the pasta over the top, carefully matching the long edges down one side and pressing them together, then doing the same on the other side. Gently press down around each ravioli (don’t worry if you compress the filling a little as you go).
- Using a ring cutter about 1cm bigger in circumference than the filling, cut each ravioli and discard the trimmings. Seal each one and press out any air trapped inside, by taking each ravioli and carefully, with your thumbs, pinching around the outside. If you hold each ravioli up to the light, you can see where the filling is, and whether you have smoothed out the air pockets. Repeat with the rest of the pasta.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
- In a separate pan warm the walnut paste with a little boiling water.
- Heat the butter gently in two separate saute pans, add another tablespoon of boiling water to each.
- Add salt to the boiling water, put in the ravioli and cook for 3-4 minutes, then drain them using a slotted spoon and transfer to the pans containing the butter and water. Toss gently for a minute or so, then add the diced tomato and chopped reserved parsley.
- Spoon some walnut sauce on to each of your plates, arrange the ravioli on top and serve.