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Monday, April 4, 2011

Ode To Sweet Spring

Knock knock! Who's that knocking on my door? Could it be the best looking season of the year? Could that be you Spring?
It's hard not to be excited about spring. After a long cold and snowy winter, spring has finally shown its green little head at our door. It speaks of warmer weather, spring dresses boasting their bright colors, new fresh vegetables, and the passing of a tyrannical winter. Hello beloved Spring! It's nice to see you again.

This is the time of year we start thinking more about lighter fare and more subtle flavors. It's a great time to find the best produce and preparing it simply by letting the ingredients sing on there on accord. Out go the heavy roasts and mashed potatoes, in come the lighter pork tenderloins and spring vegetables. Citrus is on its way out also, and in its path come tender baby carrots, sweet spring onions, peppery arugula, asparagus, artichokes, peas, rhubarb and strawberries. Let us not forget our herbs! Without herbs, there is no spring.

As the famous chinese proverb goes "spring is recognized sooner by the plants rather than men." So plan for some spring eating with family and friends and embrace what mother earth gifts us.


Spring Pea Ravioli
Serves 8 
Cooking Time Prep time 1 hour, cook 10 mins (plus resting) 
80 gm
20 gm (¼ cup)
2 tbs
unsalted butter
grated parmesan
heavy cream
8  sage leaves, coarsely torn
basil leaves, thinly sliced

Pasta dough
500 gm (3 ⅓ cups)  plain flour
5 (55gm each)  eggs, lightly whisked
1 tbsp  olive oil

Pea filling
240 gm (2 cups)  spring peas, (use frozen if cant find spring peas)
160 gm (2 cups)  finely grated Pecorino
100 gm (½ cup)
50 gm (1.75 oz)
40 gm (½ cup)  finely grated parmesan
1 (55gm)  egg

1. For pasta dough, using a food processor, process flour and 1 tsp sea salt for a few seconds, add eggs and oil and process until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead into a ball and shape into a log. Cover in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, for pea filling, using a food processor, process peas until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
3.Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time and keeping the others covered, lightly flour and feed dough through the rollers of a pasta machine on the widest setting, folding sheet once or twice and feeding through rollers again until sheet is smooth. Reduce settings notch by notch, feeding sheet through until you reach the last notch and sheet is about 2mm thick. Place sheet on a lightly floured 3cm-square 24-piece ravioli tray cutter (see note), pressing lightly. Place a teaspoonful of filling in each cavity, brush edges with water and top with remaining pasta sheet, pressing gently around filling to seal. Using a rolling pin, start at the centre of the tray and roll in both directions until all ravioli are cut and sealed. To remove ravioli, invert tray and tap gently. Transfer to a baking paper-lined and floured tray and freeze. Repeat with remaining dough and pea filling until filling is used up. Makes about 80 ravioli. Ravioli will keep in a container in the freezer for up to a month.
4.Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Remove ravioli from freezer, separate and cook until cooked through (6-8 minutes). Drain, reserving 1 cup of liquid.
5.Add butter and sage to a frying pan and cook until butter foams (about 1 minute). Add reserved pasta water and bring to the boil. Add parmesan and cream.  Cook until reduced to a sauce consistency (about 3 minute), then add ravioli and toss gently to combine. Add basil, season to taste and serve.

Note: Defrost peas before if using frozen. It is easier to freeze the ravioli before cooking as they are easier to handle, but they can be cooked fresh, too. You’ll need to start this recipe a day ahead. 


Delicieux said...

I love spring! The plants, the birds, the weather. This dish looks like a wonderful way to celebrate spring.

Unknown said...

Thank you Delicieux. Spring is an amazing season

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