Monday, 14 November 2011

Spinach & asparagus ravioli with sage & pistachio butter

 400g spinach, 20 fine asparagus
   stalks, 8oz pasta flour, 1 tsp olive
oil, 4 eggs, handful of pistachio nuts, 1 tbsp sage, 2 tbsp butter
Serves: 4 Preparation: 1 hour (+5 hours pasta preparation)

I adore pasta and thankfully love making it almost as much as I love to eat it - there's nothing quite like freshly made pasta, fresh from the pot. The combination of flavours in this dish is quite frankly insane but somehow it really works. Sage butter is something that I love with pumpkin or butternut squash ravioli but in this case I made it into more of a pesto using pistachio nuts to balance out the intensity of the sage. This sweetness really brought out the flavour of the asparagus and the spinach provided a freshness that balanced everything out.

1) Pour 8 ounces of grade 00 flour (pasta flour), 1 teaspoon of olive oil, a good pinch of salt, 3 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk into a bowl and kneed with your hands until you have a firm dough. Wrap this in cling film and chill in the fridge for 2-5 hours.

2) Steam the asparagus and 200g of the spinach for 4 minutes, strain as much of the water from the spinach as possible and then completely pulverise in the blender, leaving a thick puree.

3) To prepare the "pesto" finely chop the sage and stir into some gently warmed butter. Finely chop the pistachio nuts/ grind in a mortar and pestle or pulse in the blender. Stir the nuts through and set aside for the flavours to infuse.

4) Dust a worktop with pasta flour and roll out the dough into a sheet 1/3 of a centimetre thick. Cut out squares of pasta with a knife and roll these through a pasta machine (or using a rolling pin if you don't have one) until you have a thin rectangle of pasta. Add a teaspoon of the spinach and asparagus mixture to the centre of the rectandle and fold in half, pinching the ends together firmly like a cornish pasty until each piece is completely sealed.

5) When all the pasta shapes are stuffed, drop them into a large pan of hot, salted water. The pasta will sink to the bottom initially but when it is ready (2-3 minutes maximum unless your pasta is too thick) it will float to the top.

6) Remove the ravioli from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Stir through the pesto and serve on a bed of steamed spinach with additional asparagus if you wish.

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