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Goat Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Brown Butter

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Serves four.

Yields about thirty ravioli.

For the filling
  • 1 lb. fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (try any combination of flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, chervil, cilantro, thyme, basil, chives, or mint)
  • 1 Tbs. fine fresh breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb.Ravioli Pasta Dough  
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • Semolina flour or fine cornmeal to dust the pan
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 lb. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, parboiled for 1 to 2 min. until tender, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably parmigiano reggiano, for garnish
  • Chervil, parsley, or basil sprigs for garnish
To make the filling:

Put the goat cheese in a mixing bowl. Add the garlic, wine, olive oil, and lemon zest. Mash the cheese with a whisk or a rubber spatula. Stir in the chopped herbs and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To roll out and stuff the pasta dough:

Divide the ravioli dough into four equal pieces. Wrap three in plastic and return to the refrigerator. Flatten the fourth piece of dough with your hand (flour it lightly if necessary), and run it through the widest setting on your pasta machine twice. Set the rollers to the next narrower setting. Pass the dough through twice. Continue notching down by one setting and passing the dough through two times (the first pass roughs up the dough; the second pass smooths it out).

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Brown Butter Recipe

As the dough lengthens and thins, it will bunch up under the machine. Rectify this by gently lifting it out and folding it neatly behind the machine. When you can just see the shape and shadow of your hand through the dough sheet (it should be about 1/32 inch thick), stop rolling. You may not need to go to the narrowest setting.  

Cut the sheet in half crosswise and trim the sides to make two neat rectangles, one slightly larger than the other. On the smaller sheet, spoon mounds of 1 to 2 tsp. of filling, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch between each mound. (For smaller ravioli, use less filling in each mound and space them more closely; for larger ravioli, use more.) Brush a little beaten egg yolk on the dough around each  mound of filling.

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Brown Butter Recipe

Lay the second sheet of dough on top, draping it gently over the mounds without stretching it. Starting at one edge, gently press around the filling to push out any air pockets and seal the sheets.

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Brown Butter Recipe

Cut the pasta in between the mounds to form individual squares or circles with a scalloped pastry wheel or ravioli stamp (if you don't have either of these, try a biscuit cutter or a paring knife). Press on the mounds a bit to slightly flatten them and on the edges to confirm the seal. Roll out, fill, and cut the remaining dough the same way.

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Brown Butter Recipe
To make the sauce and finish the pasta:

When ready to serve, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Gently slide the chilled or frozen ravioli into the water and cook until they float and are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the butter solids turn a light brown. Season with salt and add the asparagus.

Drain the ravioli and toss with the asparagus and brown butter. Spoon onto a large serving platter or individual plates, sprinkle with the Parmesan, garnish with the herb sprigs, and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The filling can be made up to two days ahead. Filled, uncooked ravioli can be refrigerated for up to a day or frozen, wrapped, for up to a month. If you're not cooking them right away, transfer them to a pan lined with waxed paper and sprinkled with semolina flour or cornmeal (don't let them touch) before refrigerating or freezing.

Leftovers

If you have extra goat cheese filling, try it on a sandwich with roasted peppers.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 910; Fat (g): fat g 57; Fat Calories (kcal): 510; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 34; Protein (g): protein g 38; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 63; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1280; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 315; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I had a lot of fun making this. The only drawback was I don't have a pasta roller so I tried to roll it by hand (I laugh at myself now) but even so, it was very good, if too thick. I cut out the dough with a 1 1/2" circle cookie cutter and folded it over to make little half-circle shaped ravioli. The filling was delicious and the asparagus matched wonderfully.

I modified the filling and used feta cheese and blue cheese instead of goat cheese. The wine was also changed and used juice of 1/2 lemon instead. The fresh lemon was most excellent.

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