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Asparagus Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

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Serves 4 as a main or 6 as an appetizer

Yields 18 ravioli

  • by John Ash from Fine Cooking
    Issue 110

Wonton wrappers are a quick alternative to homemade pasta for ravioli. The rich brown butter, bright lemon zest, and crunchy almond garnish perfectly complement the creamy asparagus filling.

  • Sea salt
  • 1 lb. thick asparagus, trimmed, spears cut into 1-inch pieces, tips reserved
  • 6 Tbs. mascarpone
  • 1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 36 wonton wrappers
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • Finely grated lemon zest to taste

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a medium bowl of ice water. Boil the asparagus tips until tender but still bright green, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water. When cool, transfer with the slotted spoon to a small bowl and set aside. Cook and cool the asparagus spears in the same manner; dry them on paper towels. In a food processor (or by hand), chop 1-1/2 cups of the spears very finely and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining spears to the tips.

Add the mascarpone, ricotta, Parmigiano, anchovy paste, garlic, and cayenne to the chopped asparagus; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange 18 wonton wrappers on a work surface. Put 1 level Tbs. of the asparagus filling in the center of each wrapper. Using a pastry brush, moisten the edges of each with water. Top each with another wrapper and press the edges firmly to seal, expelling any air bubbles as you seal. If you don’t plan to cook the ravioli immediately, cover them with a damp cloth.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and add the almonds, shaking the pan. Cook until the butter turns light brown, about 6 minutes, and then immediately transfer to a small bowl.

Add the ravioli to the boiling water. When they rise to the surface, after about 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to warm plates or pasta bowls. Spoon the brown butter mixture over the ravioli. Top with the reserved asparagus pieces, a grinding of pepper, a sprinkle of Parmigiano, and a little lemon zest, and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Go all out; start the meal with a fresh Pea, Butter Lettuce & Herb Salad and serve a Lemon Tart with Walnut Crust for dessert.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 510; Fat (g): 38; Fat Calories (kcal): 340; Saturated Fat (g): 19; Protein (g): 13; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): 33; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 620; Cholesterol (mg): 90; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was very good, although next time I'll use pasta sheets instead of the wontons, which seemed a bit too thin and insubstantial. I also used less of the browned butter... we had it as a main dish, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter is just too much per person, especially along with the other rich ingredients in the filling. Finally, I used coarsely chopped pistachios instead of the almonds, and we were delighted with that substitution.

Looks great! But, since I just barely discovered fresh pasta and have no issues making ravioli, I'll be trying this with fresh pasta. Can't wait, in a few weeks, to make onion fiddlehead ravioli! I'm not sure I understand why there is any stickiness involved with the wonton wrappers, they are usually dry in the package, and there is no need to dampen anything but the inside. With fresh pasta(and sometimes bread dough) I generously flour the outer surface to prevent sticking, when ready to cook I shake off the excess, it does not affect the pasta at all, nor do I find it to cloud the water, the flour is just on the surface and not absorbed by the dough :)

This is an extraordinary receipe. Last year I made it and had trouble with the ravioli sticking and coming apart as I wasn't ready to cook them. They still tasted fabulous. This year, I placed a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet, layered the ravioli on the parchment, dusted with cornmeal and continued that layering until all the ravioli were finished. Placed them in the freezer until firm, then put them all on a plate in the freezer until ready to cook that evening. They are simply outstanding. Goat cheese plus some drained cottage cheese also subs for the ricotta. Simply divine!!!

Fun to do, easy, versatile, yum. Freezing them worked beautifully: easier to handle and gave a little extra breathing room for getting them straight back out of the water. Thanks for that tip.

Made it as written and it was great. I used damp paper towels between the layers of the ravioli and had no sticking issues.

My husband and I loved this recipe. It had lovely subtle flavours and was easy to make. I substituted soft goat cheese for mascarpone. I would definitely make it again.

Easy and delicious. I will make this again next time I have company over.

Amazing! Extraordinary. Just some words of caution. Since I was not going to cook them immediately, I covered them with a humid cloth. The ravioli started to stick to the plate and the center became a little soggi, so some of them broke when I cooked them some hours later. I would recommend to make sure you put some corn meal or flour on the bottom of the plate and that the cloth is only slightly humid. It might be better to freeze them and cook them frozen...(again make sure you have something on the plate because otherwise they will stick) (perhaps the editorial has some tips to share for those of us who need to leave things ready in the morning).

Amazing! Extraordinary. Just some words of caution. Since I was not going to cook them immediately, I covered them with a humid cloth. The ravioli started to stick to the plate and the center became a little soggi, so some of them broke when I cooked them some hours later. I would recommend to make sure you put some corn meal or flour on the bottom of the plate and that the cloth is only slightly humid. It might be better to freeze them and cook them frozen...(again make sure you have something on the plate because otherwise they will stick) (perhaps the editorial has some tips to share for those of us who need to leave things ready in the morning).

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