More Spring Veggies

Continuing the theme of spring veggies, but moving backwards. I had bought a ton of fava beans, green peas, and artichokes and converted them into a few meals. Often, with a labor intensive veggie like artichokes (or favas or peas), I make a larger batch than I need, and then use the end product in a couple of recipes. I had used some of the artichokes the night before for my Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with White Bean Puree. I saved 4 of the artichoke hearts, and chopped them up and mixed them with about 5oz of Bellwether Farms Ricotta, a little Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper for this ravioli filling. I also processed a bunch of Fava Beans and made Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Fava Beans one night, AND, still to come, Halibut on Mashed Fava Beans with Mint. These dishes do take time, but for me, the time spent in the kitchen is relaxing. I put on my favorite Pandora station called Tiki Bar, and dance and cook!

For now, let’s talk about the raviolis. I love to make raviolis at home. You just need a little time, but there’s nothing like fresh pasta. And the best part is that you can play with all sorts of fillings. With all of these spring veggies around, an artichoke pasta seemed like the thing to do. I had made an extra big batch of Lemon-Braised Artichokes so that I would have some left for the raviolis. They keep in the fridge just fine for a few days. You can also add them to a risotto, or turn into a pasta sauce.

For the pasta, I’ve been using Helen Rennie’s recipe lately. There are a million slightly different versions out there, and looking at one of my older posts, I realized that my methods change over the years. But the bottom line is that you need flour (you can use white, 00, semolina, or a combination), liquid (water, egg, yolks, or a combination), and salt. If you can weigh the ingredients, that’s great, but if not, I’ve added conversions to cups. My scale is packed away during our seemingly endless kitchen remodel, so I just use measurements and it works out fine. In the end, you will always need to adjust slightly for humidity, etc.

I have a great little ravioli mold that I picked up somewhere years ago. It looks like they currently sell them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It gives you 12 perfect little raviolis and is super easy to use. You just lay a piece of pasta over the metal part, press down slightly with the plastic (sometimes I skip this step) to make little indentations, fill, top with another sheet of pasta, and then roll across the top with a rolling pin to separate the little squares. Then turn upside down and tap on the counter and they fall right out! You can check out my Playing with Pasta post to see this mold in action! There are also different kinds of ravioli stamps on the market, or you can always just cut them with a knife! Here are a few of the ones I have:

For the filling, I chopped up 4 of the artichokes (16 quarters) from the Lemon-Braised Artichoke recipe, mixed them with some delicious Bellwether Farms Ricotta, a little grated Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper. Super simple and delicious.

For the sauce, I cooked up some pancetta that I had in the freezer, added some diced shallot, then some fresh shelled English peas. Added a little stock and cooked till the peas were soft. Then I threw in a splash of cream. The final product was great, and everyone loved it, but on reflection, I think the sauce was a little heavy for the dish. I think next time I would stick with a simple butter and pea sauce. A note about the peas: I shelled some extra that were turned into a pea and ricotta crostini (I had ricotta leftover as well) the next day.

Artichoke and Ricotta Ravioli with Pancetta and Pea Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Homemade Pasta (see recipe here)
  • 4 Lemon-Braised Artichokes, finely chopped (see recipe here)
  • 5oz Bellwether Farms Ricotta, or other fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 lb chopped Pancetta
  • 1 cup fresh shelled English Peas
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream

Directions:
Make pasta, wrap in plastic, and allow to rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile, mix together artichokes, ricotta, Parmigiano, and salt & pepper. Refrigerate till ready to use.

Once the pasta has been resting for about an hour, cut the ball of dough into 4 pieces with a bench scraper. Working with one sheet at a time, roll out using a pasta roller (hand crank or electric) to a very thin setting. I go to a number 7 on my KitchenAid roller. If the sheet gets too long, you can cut it in half. Make sure to keep the pasta that you’re not working with covered while you work with the rest.

Lay a sheet of pasta over the ravioli mold (or on the counter if not using the mold). Fill each ravioli with about a teaspoon of the filling – be careful not to overfill or they might burst when you cook them. Dip your finger in a glass of water and tun around the edge of each ravioli to help seal. Top with another sheet of past and either roll over with a rolling pin (if using the mold) or stamp out individual raviolis if using a stamp. Gather the scraps of pasta – you can re-roll these to make more pasta sheets. Lay raviolis out on a sheet tray lined with a sheet of parchment paper that you have floured liberally.

Once all of your raviolis are made, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add pancetta. Cook till fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. You want to be left with about 2 tablespoons. Next add the fresh peas and chicken stock. Cook till the peas are just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Then add the cream and simmer gently while you cook the raviolis. Make sure to taste for seasoning. You might not need any salt since the pancetta is fairly salty.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the raviolis and cook for just 2-3 minutes. Fresh pasta doesn’t need long at all! Fish out of the water with a spider into individual plates and top with the sauce. This is the one instance where I don’t toss the pasta together with the sauce in the pan because these raviolis are fairly delicate and can break easily. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano.

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