Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ottolenghi's Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli

Pink peppercorns, tarragon, turmeric, goat cheese, and lemon zest. Not a combination you see everyday, but that's the beauty of Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook Plenty. Each recipe combines unexpected ingredients and techniques to create wonderfully inspired and delicious recipes, like this Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli, one of his more vibrant dishes. The fresh pasta dough is infused with both turmeric and lemon zest, which creates a bright and beautiful yellow colour — Ottolenghi calls the ravioli "little sunshines on the plate." 

The turmeric and lemon infused pasta dough filed with an aromatic goat cheese filling

Once rolled out, the dough is passed through a pasta machine until it reaches one of the thinnest settings. It's then cut into 3-inch circles, brushed with egg white, stuffed with soft goat cheese mixed with chilli flakes, Maldon sea salt and ground black pepper, and topped with a second circle of pasta. After a brief boil, the pasta is garnished with a tasty combination of mild red peppercorns, tangy lemon zest, sweet licoricey tarragon, and a drizzle of flavoured oil. 

An incredibly creative personality, Yotam Ottolenghi approaches all of his dishes from both a culinary and artistic perspective, like this bright and beautiful Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli, designed for flavour and visual appeal, as the dish "comes together like a beautiful picture". It's always a joy recreating one of Ottolenghi's dishes: It's like going on an exotic journey somewhere you've never been before, and discovering a wonderful new friend when you arrive safely at the other end.

Lemon & Goat Cheese Ravioli
Serves six as a starter

For the pasta:
3 tbsp olive oil
3 medium eggs
330g '00' flour, plus more for rolling
½ tsp turmeric
3 lemons, finely zested with a microplane grater

For the filling:
300g creamy, mild goat's cheese
½ tsp Maldon sea salt
1 pinch chilli flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg white, beaten

To serve:
2 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed using a mortar and pestle
1 tsp roughly chopped fresh tarragon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Lemon juice
Grapeseed or olive oil oil

Mix the oil and eggs. Put the flour, turmeric and zest in a food processor, and add the oil and egg mixture, and blend to a crumbly dough — it may require extra flour or oil. Once the dough has come together and is smooth (you may need to work it a little by hand, too), divide it into four thick, rectangular blocks. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes up to two days.

In a medium bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together except the egg white, which should be whisked in a small bowl and set aside.

Dust a work surface with flour. Take a piece of dough and flatten with a rolling pin. Set a pasta machine to its widest setting and pass through. Repeat, narrowing the setting a notch each time, until you reach one of the lowest settings — #6 or #7.

Use a pastry cutter, or rim of a glass, to stamp out pasta circles roughly 3-inches in diameter. Brush each with egg white and place a heaped teaspoon of filling in its centre. Place another disc on top and, squeeze out any air as you bring the edges of the discs together. You should end up with a pillow-shaped centre surrounded by a 3/8-inch edge. Tighten the edges until you can't see a seam. Repeat with the rest of the dough, place the ravioli on a tray sprinkled with semolina, and leave to dry for 15 minutes, or cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a day or two.

To serve, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta in small batches for 5-6 minutes, until al dente. Drain and divide the ravioli between four plates. Sprinkle with crushed pink peppercorns, tarragon and lemon zest. Drizzle with grapeseed oil, some Maldon salt and a squirt of lemon juice.

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