2.21.2016

Birthday Ravioli

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Dear Readers,
Another guest blog from the husband. He made his BFF fancy ravioli for his birthday. I ended up making cheesecake, lumpy cheesecake, because I ran out of cream cheese and thought it would be a great idea to substitute ricotta. Lesson learned. 

Enjoy.

Even though our friend worked in an Italian restaurant for years, he had never seen ravioli made from scratch. We figured the time had come.

Homemade ravioli is a festive way to celebrate 34 year of life, particularly if you had a near-death experience three weeks prior. Don’t worry readers, no one actually died. Our friend just got hit by a car going approximately 40 miles an hour. Somehow, defying death-by-car statistics, and being punted (by automobile) like a football yards and yards away from the impact site, physically our friend only suffered a broken bone in, of all places, his foot. I figured after his waltz with Death, his food experiences would be heighted, and decided to make my favorite – noodles, the food of 2016!

I scoured the magazines and trusted websites, finding inspiration in a pea and prosciutto ravioli from Saveur. Since I couldn’t locate a major feature of the recipe, pea shoots, the blog lady and I decided to keep the pea and cheese ratio but embark on our own take after that. We made the filling first, pulsing everything together in the food processor into a beautiful light green emulsion.

Next, I mixed the dough and let it sit for two hours to achieve a strong, stretchy gluten network. I had pictured my friend and I bonding as we filled the dough and cut the ravioli squares, but his food    handling was so terrible I lost my temper and banned him from the kitchen. The dutiful wife filled in, and did an admirable job keeping the dough shape consistent while watching the baby.

If you’ve never made ravioli before, two worries creep into the novice:
1. Was the dough rolled out thin enough?
2. Will the fillings stay inside during the 2-5 minute boil?

To the first worry, I recommend going as thin as possible while maintaining control. If you go so thin your abilities won’t allow a successfully filled ravioli, go one degree thicker. We all agreed to a toothsome ravioli, which is why I used second-to-thinnest setting on my machine. As for the second worry, like with most things in life, you just gotta believe. As it turned out, only one of ours exploded that night; and the world did not end.

Proving her sauce mettle again, the wife used some of the reserved filling to build a pesto-like sauce. She added a little of the pasta water, whole peas, fried prosciutto, parmesan cheese and butter. The finished dish was a beautiful layering of pea pillows surrounded by crispy ham bits and fresh mint, and coated with light green sauce. The dish was impressive and delicious. A proper way to celebrate getting older and hopefully wiser (like don’t run at night on winding streets!).
The beginning of the end. This working relationship only lasted a few minutes.
The birthday boy and his lumpy birthday cheesecake. Despite it's lumpiness, this was a good cheesecake. The four of us almost finished it in one sitting. 
And here's trouble. 


Spring Pea Ravioli With Prosciutto & Pea Shoots
via saveur.com
serves 4-6
Below is the original recipe. We really didn't keep careful track of the alterations we made.

For the Ravioli
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1⁄2 cup grated parmesan
1⁄2 cup ricotta
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. minced mint
1 clove garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil

Pasta Dough (the husband made his own recipe, you can use whatever one you like)

For Serving
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 slices prosciutto
1⁄2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
3⁄4 cup pea shoots
1 tsp. lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp. minced mint
Grated parmesan, for serving

1) Make the filling: Pulse peas, parmesan, ricotta, zest, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor; with the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until smooth. Refrigerate filling until ready to use.
2) On a lightly floured surface, divide Pasta Dough into 4 balls. On a lightly floured surface and working with 1 disk of dough at a time, roll dough into an 8"-long oval; dust on both sides with flour. Using a pasta machine, pass dough through machine twice, using the widest setting. Using the next narrower setting, pass dough through machine twice more. Continue to roll dough, setting the rollers to the next narrower setting, until dough is 1⁄16" thick. With a long side facing you, place 2 tsp. mounds of filling along middle of dough, spacing the mounds about 1" apart. Brush dough with water. Take another sheet of pasta and lay it over the other sheet of pasta and mounds of filling; press dough to seal, squeezing out air pockets around filling. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut out ravioli; transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Leave ravioli at room temperature for 1 hour to dry.
3) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook ravioli until al dente, 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high. Add prosciutto and cook until crisp, 3 minutes. Add peas and pea shoots 1-2 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to skillet, along with1⁄2 cup cooking water, zest, juice, salt, and pepper; toss to combine. Transfer ravioli to a serving platter; garnish with mint and parmesan.

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