24 asparagus stalks
For the pea purée
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 150 g shallots, finely chopped
- 500 g fresh or frozen peas
- 150 ml vegetable stock
- 20 g fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- juice of half a lemon
For the pasta
- 325 g “00” grade pasta flour
- 3 free range organic eggs
- 2 free range organic egg yolks
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 60 g semolina, for dusting
For the basil and mint vinaigrette
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- juice of half lemon
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, very finely chopped
- vegetarian Parmesan shavings
- Place the flour, eggs, egg yolks and olive oil in a bowl and mix to a smooth dough. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes, until it is firm but slightly elastic in texture, like a large piece of playdough. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour. This will make more pasta than is required for this recipe, but any excess pasta can be dried and stored (see step 2 below).
- After it has rested, divide the pasta dough into six roughly equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a thin rectangle. Using a pasta roller, feed the pasta dough through the machine at its thickest setting (setting number “9” on most machines). Repeat this several times, gradually reducing the setting until you can put it through on the thinnest setting and the pasta sheet has a smooth sheen. Lightly dust a clean flat surface with a little semolina and lay the pasta sheets on top for 15 minutes to dry out a little, then use a pastry cutter to cut out shapes from the pasta dough. Place these on a baking tray, lightly dusted with the rest of the semolina to help prevent the individual pasta shapes sticking together. If you prefer, you can leave these pasta shapes to dry out completely by leaving for a further four hours, turning periodically. Once dried, the pasta can be stored for several weeks in an airtight container.
- Now make the pea purée. Pour the olive oil into a pan and place over a medium heat. Add the shallots and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring, for 8-10 minutes, or until the shallots are very soft. Add the peas, salt and the vegetable stock. Cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes, then add the mint leaves and stir them into the peas. After a further minute, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then pour the contents of the pan, including any remaining stock, into a food processor. Pulse to break down the peas. In batches, place the pea and mint mixture into a fine sieve and rub through the sieve over a bowl, to create a smooth purée. Continue until you have pureed all of the peas. Set the purée to one side.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk the lemon juice, maple syrup and olive oil until emulsified. Add the finely chopped mint and basil leaves and whisk again. Set to one side.
- Remove any woody stems from the asparagus (do this by holding the asparagus spear in one hand about two thirds of the way down from the delicate tip. In the other hand hold it near the base. Gently bring your hands towards each other, bending the asparagus spear until it snaps. The lower portion is the woody stem and should be placed in your compost recycling).
- Bring a large pan of salted water to a gentle boil over a medium heat. Carefully lower three pasta shapes per person into the water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes for fresh pasta and about 8-10 for dried. When the pasta is nearly ready, bring a steamer or separate pan of water to the boil. Carefully place the asparagus spears base down into the water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just cooked (the fresher the asparagus is, the less cooking time needed).
- To assemble, put a teaspoon of the pea puree in the centre of each plate and use the back of the spoon to spread it out a little. This will help hold the ravioli in place on the plate. Place one cooked pasta sheet on top. Put a two teaspoons of pea purée in the centre of this sheet, followed by two spears of asparagus. Place a second pasta sheet on top. Again place two teaspoons of pea purée in the centre, followed by two spear of asparagus. Finally, top with a little more pea purée and a few Parmesan shavings. Drizzle lemon and mint oil over the open ravioli and around the outside and serve immediately.
Recipe & photo from Steve Dent AKA The Circus Gardener’s Kitchen