The conversation at our place the other morning went something like this.
He (wandering into the kitchen): "What are you doing?"
Me: "Making pasta."
He: "How come?"
Me: "It's for this week's blog post."
He: "What are you going to make it into?"
Me: "Lemon & Goat Cheese Ravioli"
He: "Ohhhh!" (This was not a delighted or excited kind of "ohhhh", you understand, but almost verging on an "eeewwww" kind of "ohhhh". Which was not an altogether unexpected reaction - he is after all a person who is not that fussed on lemon - doesn't mind a bit of it, but not enough for it to be the hero of the dish.) Actually this was exactly the kind of reaction I was hoping for, because this is the kind of thing I like to make a big batch of, and then stash in the freezer to whip out for what I think of as my "solitary pleasures" dinners when I'm eating alone.
He (knowing that there was already something else planned for dinner): "When is that going to be for?"
Me: "It's for my lunch. Would you like some?" I wasn't really keen on sharing, but it's the decent thing to offer, isn't it, even if you're secretly hoping the other person will say no.
He: "Hmmm, I don't think so. I was thinking about maybe barbequing a bit of fish for my lunch."
I breathed a quiet sigh of relief, and offered up a silent prayer of thanks to the gods of solitary pleasures diners. And then ... next minute ...
He: "No, actually, I'll give it a try." How did I not see that coming??! Clearly there was some shortcoming in aforementioned prayer.
Fast forward a couple of hours, and lunch is served.
He (taking a big mouthful): "Ohhhhhh!" This time, however, that "ohhhhh" was more a deep sigh of satisfaction than an "eeewwww" kind of "ohhhhh".
Need I say more? Give this a try. If you're a lemon lover you will adore it. Even if you're not, chances are you'll still get quite a lot of satisfaction out of it.
This is another recipe from the inspirational Yotam Ottolenghi, from his book Plenty, which I'm sharing at I Heart Cooking Clubs where our theme this week is "Use Your Noodle".
I used my own basic pasta recipe for the dough, because that's the one I've worked with for so long now, and I know it really works. I did add in the lemon zest and turmeric that Ottolenghi suggests. While I'm on that subject - I know that there are at least a couple of you who don't like turmeric. Let me assure you that it is such a tiny amount that you really don't taste it at all, but it does give a lovely colour to your pasta, so I highly recommend that you take the leap of faith and leave it in if you're making this recipe.
I also found that the amount of filling in this recipe only filled half of my pasta, which was fine with me as I just rolled out the rest of the pasta, cut it into tagliatelle, and popped it into the freezer for another day. By all means cut back the pasta quantity to suit if you feel so inclined, but in all honesty if you're going to go to the trouble of making pasta, you might as well go all out and make a decent batch of it to use at a later date.
Lemon & Goat Cheese Ravioli Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a light meal
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
basic pasta dough (see below)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
grated zest of 3 lemons
300g (11oz) soft goat cheese
flaky sea salt
pinch of chilli flakes
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
grated zest & juice of 1x lemon
extra virgin olive oil
Make pasta dough as recipe below, adding the turmeric and lemon zest to the flour before adding the eggs.
While the pasta dough is resting, prepare the ravioli filling. Place the goat cheese and seasonings in a small bowl, and mash with a fork to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
After resting the pasta dough, divide into six equal sized pieces. Working with the first piece of dough (keeping the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap while you work), roll it out according to the instructions below to the thinnest setting on your pasta machine.
Once rolled out, lay the strip of pasta flat, then place teaspoons of filling (about 2 to 3 cm apart) down one side of the strip. Brush one long edge of the pasta strip, and in between each spoonful of filling, with water. Fold other side of the pasta over the filling, and cut in between each one. Make sure all air is pushed out around the filling and each square is well sealed.
Now repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until all the filling has been used. Leave the filled ravioli on a cloth, lightly dusted with flour, to dry for about 10-15 minutes. (At this stage you could freeze your ravioli if you like - cook from frozen when you want to use them.)
While the pasta is drying, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Salt the water liberally, and add ravioli to the pan. Cook until al dente - about 3 minutes.
Drain and arrange ravioli on serving plates. Sprinkle with the grated lemon zest, chopped tarragon and crushed pink peppercorns. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Basic Pasta Dough Recipe
3-1/2 cups high grade flour, plus extra for kneading & rolling
5x large, free-range eggs
Sift flour into food processor.
Break eggs into a jug and lightly whisk together.
Set the food processor running, and pour the eggs in through the feed tube. Mix until it clumps together into a ball.
Remove from food processor to a lightly floured bench, and knead for a full 10 minutes, dusting with extra flour as necessary. Final dough should be elastic and silky.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
After resting the pasta dough, unwrap the dough ball and cut it into six pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the other pieces wrapped in plastic or covered with a damp tea towel while you work.
Take the first piece of dough, and using your hands flatten it out into a disc, then run the disc through the pasta machine on its widest setting. Fold the dough into thirds, flatten it slightly with your hands, then roll through the machine again. Repeat a further 5 times.
Now, set the rollers to the next thinnest setting, and repeat the rolling and folding process 6 times.
Set the rollers to the next setting, and this time repeat the rolling and folding just 3 times.
Then roll the dough through progressively thinner settings, without further folding, until you reach the thinnest or second to thinnest setting, depending on your intended use - for this ravioli recipe, roll it to its thinnest setting.
As you roll, dust the pasta lightly with flour from time to time if it seems to be sticking.
If making a filled pasta such as ravioli, tortellini, etc, work with each piece of dough as it is rolled. If making noodles such as fettucine or spaghetti, roll out all the dough strips, lay them flat, side by side on kitchen towels or a sheet, and allow them to dry for 10-30 minutes before cutting.
If you would like to get to know Yotam Ottolenghi a little better, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all cooked up ...
... or check out Plenty and Ottolenghi's other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK or Fishpond NZ.
I will also be sharing this post at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the lovely Michelle at Ms. enPlace.
Looking for other great Ottolenghi "noodle" dishes, check out this Roasted Aubergine, Mango & Soba Noodle Salad I've shared before - it's a winner.