spring ravioli


cooking for friends who love food as much as i do is a real treat as it inspires me to push myself and try new things. couple this with the spring vegetables that have emerged and memories of the recent sunny weather (i hope it returns soon!) and i’ll happily spend a few happy evenings looking through recipe books and thinking up dishes to try out.

this open ravioli was delicious. asparagus, prawns and broad beans are always a winning combination (i particularly like them in a spring risotto) but they worked especially well here with the heat of the chilli, the zing of the lemon and the freshness of the mint and basil. the spinach veloute* (from a gordon ramsay recipe) added something wonderful, as its rich flavour held everything together.

despite the fiddliness of this dish - having to keep everything hot and then plate it up as quickly as possible, without burning your fingers too much, so it arrives at the table with some warmth (piping hot plates are a real life-saver) – i think i’ll be trying out variations of this idea.

this dish is my contribution to presto pasta nights, as hosted by ruth at once upon a feast.

*if you’re looking for a soup to warm up a cold spring evening this veloute would be a good place to start. we didn’t have enough leftovers for this so i used it with some asparagus and broad beans to dress some pappardelle i made at the same time as the pasta for this dish.

open ravioli with asparagus, minted broad beans and prawns (serves 6)

24 fresh pasta circles

24 asparagus spears, boiled or steamed until just cooked

24 large prawns, cooked (6 reserved for decoration)

zest of ½ a lemon

1 tablespoon basil, shredded

chopped mint or basil for garnish

for the asparagus-spinach veloute:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

200g trimmings from asparagus, chopped

225g baby spinach

600ml vegetable stock

for the broad bean filling:

25g butter

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

½ red chilli, finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

250g broad beans, blanched and podded

juice of ½ a lemon

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

rocket leaves, dressed with olive oil, lemon zest and lime juice

marinade the prawns with the lemon zest and basil in a little olive oil.

make the veloute by frying the shallots and asparagus trimmings in the olive oil until they have browned and started to caramelise. add the spinach and leave to wilt. pour in the stock and leave to simmer for 10 minutes then liquidise in a food processor until smooth, return the sauce to its pan and keep warm.

in the meantime, prepare the broad bean filling. melt the butter and add the garlic, chilli and shallots. when they are soft add the broad beans, lemon juice and mint. keep warm.

cook your pasta and then assemble the dish: divide the veloute between the plates and place a pasta circle in the centre of each. top this with the asparagus pieces then another piece of pasta. divide the broad beans between the plates and top with the prawns. cover this with the final circles of pasta and finish each with a prawn and some fresh basil or mint. serve with the rocket leaves.