This little entrée certainly has the wow factor, but it’s also fairly high maintenance. The trick is to cook it to perfection so that when the ravioli is cut open, the yolk oozes out, just like a perfectly poached egg. It is very important that the yolk remains intact throughout preparation. There are two points when this can go wrong…when the egg is separated and when the yolk is lowered onto it’s bed of ricotta and spinach. Make sure you have a few extra eggs on hand just in case!
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be prepared ahead of time. If the spinach is left to sit around for a while it will probably start to leech more water – even if you’ve already squeezed it out – and make the mixture too sloppy. The pasta dough can be made in advance (it should have about half an hour to rest) but should be rolled out close to cooking time. If the dough it dry it will be hard to stick the two sheets together to seal the ravioli – which is very important.
With all of this in mind, you’ll do great!
1/2 quantity fresh pasta
3/4 cup fresh ricotta
1 bunch spinach (about 200g)
1/3 cup parmesan (preferably grana padana), finely grated
pinch of finely grated nutmeg
finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
4 egg yolks
Burnt Butter Sauce
8 sage leaves
Prepare the fresh pasta dough and rest in the fridge for half an hour.
For the filling, start by wilting the spinach in a dry frypan, if the spinach doesn’t already have a bit of moisture on it put a few drops of water in the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside in a strainer. After it has cooled for a few minutes push out as much liquid as possible and roughly chop.
In a bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, lemon rind, nutmeg and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Don’t over-season with salt as some saltiness will come from the butter sauce.
For the butter sauce, over a medium-high heat melt the butter. Once melted add the sage leaves. The butter will start to foam and once brown flecks start to appear remove from the heat. Set aside. The sauce can be quickly reheated while the ravioli are cooking.
Divide the pasta dough in two and working with one at a time roll out to 6 on the dial, they will be quite thin. You will need 2 long sheets of pasta, at least 15 cm wide. Flour the bench well, there’s nothing worse than assembling the ravioli and then not being able to get them off the bench! At this point it would be good to get the water boiling so that once the ravioli are ready you can cook them immediately. Be sure to salt and oil the water.
Starting at one end, about 5 cm from the end, dollop about 1½ tbsp of ricotta mixture in the middle of the pasta sheet. Make it into a nice round blob and create a small well in the centre for the yolk to sit in. Repeat 3 more times along the length of the pasta sheet, with at least 5 cm in between each.
One at a time, separate the eggs. As you separate, drop the egg white into a glass and once free of the white gently roll the yolk into the well that you have created in the ricotta mixture. If the yolk breaks in any way, discard and try again. Once all egg yolks are in place cover with the second pasta sheet. Working your way along the pasta sheet from left to right, gently press the pasta onto the filling to eradicate any air bubbles. At the edge of the filling seal the two pasta strips together. Tip: don’t press too hard as you don’t want to stick the pasta to the bench top! Once all are sealed, divide them into individual ravioli using a pizza cutter or knife.
Cook the ravioli 2 at a time in the boiling water for 4 minutes. It is best that the water is on a slow boil so it doesn’t destroy the ravioli as they enter the water. If possible, have 2 pots of water on the go so that all ravioli are ready at the same time. Once cooked, the yolk should still be bouncy to touch, remove with a slotted spoon. Once all ravioli are on their plates, pour over the burnt butter sauce, it should just be a drizzle, ensuring all plates have a couple of sage leaves. Top with a little more grated parmesan as desired.
When your guests ask for seconds it would be wise to show them how long the recipe is and tell them they were lucky to even get one! It might seem like hard work but it’s worth while.
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