I fell in love with colored pasta this summer. May be because I have had so many adorable children taking part at our cooking classes. They love surprises.
I have had giggling babies who obviously did not cook but seeemed to enjoy every minute of the action. One slept peacefully in a sling on the back of his mum while she was rolling the pasta. I have had 6 years old London from Los Angeles who screamed in delight at the sight of fettuccini being born out of the pasta machine.
For the 3rd time in 3 years, I have had S. who is Belgian, speaks fluently English and Spanish and will teach you how to greet in Arabic. He’s 7 and makes ravioli like a pro.
I have had a bunch of youngsters who can chop and stir like TV stars. Like Ian who equals flavors to colors because he’s a painter. And wolfs down cave-aged pecorino like it was a Mars bar.
I am in love with every one of them. They are so gentle, so competent, so intense when they cook. And note, I don’t do children classes, they do grown ups food.
I really am fortunate for sharing so many happy moments in my kitchen. So many smiles of families who come and go and bring away a little piece of my heart with them. I treasure all my little (and no so little) friends.
Green pasta dough:
- 60 gr cooked (3 tablespoon) spinach or other leafy green vegetable (e.g. Swiss chard)
- 320 gr (1 and 3/4 cup) 00 flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 medium zucchini (approx 400 gr) diced
- 120 gr (4 oz) ricotta
- 3-4 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2-3 leaves basil
Lemon butter sauce
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream
- a 2 inch-long strip lemon zest chopped very finely
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley to garnish
- 2 teaspoon honey to drizzle
For the ravioli filling:
Sautè zucchini in 1 tablespoon olive oil until just starting to become golden. Take off the heat, add one finely minced garlic clove and a few thorn basil leaves. Set aside to infuse. When at room temperature, pulse chop in a food processor together with the ricotta and two tablespoons Parmesan until creamy.
For the pasta dough:
Steam or boil spinach, drain and make sure to remove all excess moisture from the leaves by squeezing really hard in your hands. Whisk eggs in a bowl and reserve.
In a food processor blend the flour and spinach at high speed until you have a light green powder. Add eggs to the mixture until it forms a ball. You might not need all the eggs. In fact, depending on the size of the eggs and moisture of the spinach it might be necessary to regulate the amount of liquid in order to obtain a firm dough.
Alternatively purè the spinach first in a blender, then mix all ingredients on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough, incorporating additional flour as necessary, until smooth and flexible, minimum 20 minutes. The dough can be used immediately but may be made in advance and covered with a cotton tea towel. A resting period relaxes the gluten in the dough and makes it easier to roll it.
Make the ravioli:
Roll the pasta dough into rectangular strips as explained here
Put teaspoons of the zucchini and cheese filling about 5 cm (2 inches) apart on the sheet so that you can make a “parcel” by folding over the pasta sheet. Using a ravioli wheel cutter seal each parcel by cutting on three sides (the fourth is the fold). Carefully place the ravioli on a dry cotton towel taking care that they do not overlap otherwise they will stick to each other.
Cook and sauce:
Heat the butter, zest and juice in a saucepan pan over low heat until the butter is melted. Add cream and remove from heat.
Cook the ravioli in salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water and transfer in the saucepan on medium heat.
Briefly stir to absorb the sauce. Add the Parmesan and a 1/2 ladle of the reserved pasta water and stir some more on high heat until the liquid is absorbed. See also my video to know to cook and sauce pasta the Italian way.
Plate, sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley, a drizzle of your good olive oil and few drops of raw artisan honey.