Broccoli & Blue Cheese Ravioli

on the plate

on the plate

Use any kind of blue cheese you like for this recipe. For a twist add some rapini buds and greens and romanesco to the broccoli blend. I don’t use a pasta machine for these, just a rolling pin, which results in a very thick raviolo and thus fewer pieces per serving, about 5 or 6 per plate. This recipe makes 18 to 20 ravioli, so 3 to 4 servings.

Ingredients

for the pasta
250 grams flour (1 & 1/2 cups)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
water

for the filling
180 grams broccoli florets (about 2 cups)
100 grams blue cheese (about 3/4 cup crumbled)
80 grams fresh ricotta (4 Tbls circa)
2 Tbls finely grated parmigiano cheese
1/4 tsp each salt & pepper

for the sauce
2 Tbls crumbled blue cheese
4 Tbls olive oil
chopped fresh chives & grated parmigiano for garnishing

Instructions

Start with the pasta. Pour the flour in a mound on a large wooden work surface. Make a hole in the middle by swirling the fingers of one hand around the center a couple times. Crack in the eggs, add the salt and olive oil. Using a fork, first work the center to blend the eggs a bit, then start moving flour from the edges into the center. When the pasta starts to form a uniform dough, switch to hand kneading. Add a little water if the pasta becomes too crumbly to work, and keep scraping the work surface to incorporate the bits of dough as you proceed. Knead for 5-8 minutes, switching to one hand for the ‘stretch and fold’ knead once you have a combined dough: with the lower half of your palm, firmly press the pasta ball forward on the board (the stretch) then fold the pasta back over on itself and keep going. When the pasta is smooth, elastic, and compact, form a ball and let it rest covered in plastic wrap for a half hour. While it rests you can prepare the filling.

Crumble the blue cheese and let rest at room temp in a mixing bowl. Steam the broccoli until it’s al dente (not overcooked) and let cool. Add the broccoli to the blue cheese along with the ricotta, parmesan, and salt and pepper and combine well with a fork. Next you can use a wand blender to pulse the mixture a few seconds to obtain a more uniform filling. It should be smooth; some texture is fine, you just don’t want pieces of broccoli that could puncture the ravioli. Use your judgment. Taste the filling, correct for salt, and set aside.

Make the ravioli. On a clean, floured surface (I use semola for this step), roll out the pasta to about 1/8 inch thickness. You will end up with a round about the size of an extra-large pizza. Using a pizza cutter, first trim the edges so you have a square shape (it doesn’t have to be a perfect square). Make 2-inch wide strips, then cut the strips transversely into approximately  5-inch long strips. Place a teaspoon of filling on one side of each strip. Keep a cup of tepid water nearby. Dip your finger tips in the water and dampen the edges of the pasta strip around the filling. Now carefully fold the strip closed and press the edges firmly with your finger tips to seal. Place each formed raviolo on a semola-dusted surface, and proceed. When all the ravioli are ready, trim any uneven edges with the cutter, and then use the tongs of a fork to seal the edges again, dipping the fork in the flour as needed.

The ravioli don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they will likely vary a bit and that’s fine. The important thing is that they are sealed well and roughly the same size. This is what mine looked like:

ravioli2

(By the by, there are many ways to make ravioli shapes. My recipe here will result in a thick and chewy raviolo, but to obtain more subtle, delicate, and arguably more traditional ravioli, use a pasta machine or your mixer attachment. Watch Mario Batali make luna-shaped ravioli here to get an idea of the method. Note what he says about saving the extra trimmed off pieces of pasta to make maltagliati; but feel free to disregard, as I do, his opinion on salting the pasta dough).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare the chive and grated cheese and set aside, and make the sauce by heating the olive oil and blue cheese in a small sauce pan on very low heat, stirring often until the cheese is melted (it will foam a little while heating). Keep the sauce warm. I suggest cooking the ravioli in batches, say 2 servings at a time. Drop them in the boiling water (watch the splash) and set a timer for 7 minutes. The ravioli will sink first and then rise to the surface as they cook. Stir them gently and when ready gently lift them from the water with a hand-held strainer (do not dump them into a colander!). Serve with a drizzle of the sauce and a dusting of the herbs and cheese.