During the Spring and early Summer, there are so many wild herbs to be foraged from the hedgerows or our own gardens. I've made this pasta time and time again, varying the mix of greens I've used each time. I often add sorrel from the garden for its citrusy bite, but I will literally use anything green and leafy, including foraged nettle tips, wild garlic or fat hen. Later in the year, you can raid your vegetable patch for the tenderest tips of spinach, kale or rocket, and throw in some favourite leafy herbs.
Click here to watch the video tutorial, or read below!
(Makes 25-30 medium ravioli)
1 batch sourdough pasta dough
(see our sourdough pasta recipe here)
For the filling:
Fresh ricotta 500g
Fresh greens/herbs 100g (approx.)
Pecorino, grated 20g
½ nutmeg, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sage butter:
About 24 sage leaves
Butter (1/2 pack) 125g
Prepare your filling whilst your dough is resting:
Take 500g of ricotta and place in a heavy bottomed, wide pan over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. About ¼ of the overall weight will evaporate during this process, leaving it resembling a soft cottage cheese. Remove from heat, stir in the grated pecorino (or other hard Italian cheese) and season with a good pinch of sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper and about half a freshly grated nutmeg. Taste a little to check seasoning before adding your chopped greens and herbs. Any soft leaved greens/herbs may be used: spinach, wild garlic, sorrel, young nettle tips etc. Whatever you can forage safely from the hedgerows or your own gardens (or fridges!).
Roll out your sourdough pasta, either by hand or machine until it is nice and thin. If using a machine, roll a quarter piece at a time and keep passing through until you are on the thinnest or near thinnest setting. If rolling by hand, roll it as thin as you can reasonably can, trying to keep the thickness even and then divide into 4 long equal-sized strips.
Now place a small spoonful (the size of a small walnut) of your filling in a row along your 2 of your pasta sheets, allowing room for each raviolo to be cut out. Using your finger, or a small brush, dampen the area in a square around each mound of filling. This will make the ‘lid’ stick as you carefully place the other 2 sheets over the top of the 2 filled sheets.
Now, carefully cup your hands around each ravioli mound, sealing each individual one, trying to avoid trapping any air inside. When you have finished, it is time to cut the ravioli out. You can use a square ravioli cutter, a pastry/pasta roller, or simply a knife. If using the latter, make sure you crimp and seal the edges of each one with a fork.
If you are not cooking your ravioli straight away, coat in a little semolina or rice flour (not ordinary flour) to prevent sticking together. Place on a tray and cover until needed (in the fridge, if necessary).
Just before you are ready to eat, prepare the sage butter: Put half a pack of butter in a heavy bottomed pan and place over a medium heat. Let the butter melt, then throw in a dozen or so whole sage leaves. Allow them to crisp but not burn in the butter. Remove and place on a paper towel as they crisp, then turn up the heat a little and watch as your butter first bubbles, then finally foams and becomes glorious-smelling browned butter. Throw in the rest of chopped sage at the last and take off the heat and allow the chopped sage to steep in the hot butter as you bring your largest pot of water to the boil.
Now it’s time to cook the pasta. Add salt to the pan, bring to a rolling boil, then place the ravioli in the pan and cook for approx. 3 mins until tender and ‘al dente’. Depending upon the size of your pan, you may need to cook in 2 or 3 batches, but this shouldn’t matter as they are so quick to cook.
Drain the cooked pasta well, pour over the sage brown butter and garnish with some of the whole, crispy sage leaves. Serve with a simple dressed green salad of garden leaves and enjoy!
Pasta is a simple flour and liquid (either egg or water) mixture that is kneaded into a stiff dough – an ideal way to use up starter that is a few days old, rather than discarding before you next refresh. This recipe uses liquid starter. If you are keeping a stiff starter, simply adjust the quantities to accommodate (about 15g less flour and add 15g water). If you are making vegan pasta, replace the egg with 100-110g of water.
You can make pasta with fine semolina (from the Southern Italian hard or ‘durum’ wheat) or with fine pasta grade ‘00’ flour. I often make mine with a mix of the two.
Watch our video tutorial on Youtube here or read below.
Basic sourdough pasta dough
(Makes about 450g)
‘00’ flour 100g
Liquid starter 100g
Medium eggs 2
Dash of olive oil
Mix the semolina and ‘00’ flour in a large bowl. Traditionally, a ‘well’ is made in the middle of the flour into which you can add your liquid starter and eggs. Using a regular knife, dough scraper or simply two fingers, start to mix the dough from the centre, incorporating more of the flour as you stir until you have a stiff dough and all the flour has been absorbed. Add a dash of olive oil and knead in before turning your dough out onto a clean surface. Knead for five or so minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Wrap in cling film and rest for 30 minutes or so.
Once rested, dust your counter with semolina before rolling your dough. You can pass through your pasta machine or roll out using a rolling pin. If using a pasta machine, divide into 4 pieces, keeping those you are not yet using wrapped. Pass the first piece through the machine on its thickest setting. Fold the resulting long strip of dough into thirds over itself, turn through 90 degrees and pass through the machine again. You should have a smooth homogeneous strip that you can pass through the machine at successive thicknesses until the desired thickness is reached (usually the thinnest or one above the thinnest setting). Repeat for the 3 other pieces of dough.
You will end up with 4 long strips of dough that can be passed through the shaper on your machine to make fettucine, tagliatelle etc. Or you can hand cut as desired. Place the cut and shaped pasta in a bed of semolina or rice flour and give it a fine coating to prevent sticking – if you use regular flour, it will be absorbed and your pasta will stick to itself. If rolling by hand, try and keep an even thickness throughout – you may find it easier to divide your dough into smaller pieces before rolling, until you are more practiced at this.
Depending upon the final pasta shape you have chosen, you can hang your pasta or leave on semolina-coated trays, covered with a cloth, ready for when you want to cook. When ready to cook, bring water to boil in your largest pan (which allow the pasta plenty of space to remain separate and the temperature of such a big pot won’t drop so significantly when you add the pasta), throw in some salt and cook for 3-4 minutes only. A simple sauce with oil or butter, will allow you to appreciate the delicious, fresh pasta to the full. Why not try infusing 1 ½ tablespoons of oil per serving with some sliced garlic and some chilli flakes and toss through the drained pasta. Finish with some coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a scattering of fresh pecorino. Simple and delicious
Thank you very much to video-wiki site 'EZVID' for including us in their post on '5 resources for learning to make bread' - you can find the post here!
Our workshops are run by award-winning sourdough baker Helen Underwood.