This is my first savoury post and first post of 2015! Lame, I know to be excited about a post but it’s made my day in doing so! I do realise that we are now over half way through January so this post is a tad late but over christmas and the beginning of January I’d been laboriously revising for my mock exams that thankfully ended on Thursday!!!
This is a special dish which takes quite a bit of time to prepare however, I think the results are worth all the effort and I find the pasta rolling process so calming & meditative, so you’re getting a bonus mindfulness hit AND to die for ravioli too!
Anyway… I made this dish because my mum had been working all day and my brother was round a friend for a pizza night which meant we could eat salmon. Why he doesn’t like salmon I will never know, I guess that’s annoying, fussy brothers for you though! However, I suppose I’m just as bad as I don’t like meat but, I don’t think the rest of my family could cope with a week without meat so they’re always forcing it down me too…
I can’t describe just how yummy these innocent morsels of deliciousness are. The salmon is so light and smooth, the tangy cheese spiked with garlic pairs harmoniously with the soft, buttery leeks and fresh garden herbs. The pate like centres are luxuriously rich whilst, the fresh pasta case is light. These dainty pasta pockets are perfect dressed with a simple, slightly sharp, tomato sauce. The clean acidity of the tomatoes balances the rich, creaminess of the filling without overpowering the delicate flavours.
Pasta plays a big part of our weekly dinners in our house so making homemade pasta made this dish much more special. It requires only two ingredient eggs and OO flour. I must warn you though the pasta dough requires a heck of a pummelling. You have to knead it for a good 15 minutes in order to get it smooth and elasticy. If the dough doesn’t have any stretch you will end up with tough ravioli.
If you fancy making a refined, michelen star standard dish (well, in my opinion anyway) this posh grub will satisfy anyones taste buds!
(This recipe makes about 30 ravioli so it should serve 3 comfortably or 2 if you’re ravenous)
- 200g flour
- 2 medium sized eggs
- olive oil
- 100g leeks (finely chopped)
- 150g sustainably sourced salmon
- tbsp fresh chives (finely chopped)
- tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
- juice of 1/4-1/2 a lemon (try 1/4 first and taste test)
- 75g of garlic and herb soft cheese
- seasoning, to taste
- semolina for dusting
1. Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Into this well crack the eggs and add a pinch of salt. With a fork whisk the eggs into the flour mixture to combine all the ingredients (don’t worry if the ingredients are lumpy as the dough forms). When everything is incorporated take the dough and place it on a clean surface. Knead the dough for a good 15 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic and stretchy. If the dough is too dry and crumbly add a little bit of olive oil however you’re not aiming for a sticky dough just something slightly more stretchy than play-dough consistency. If you find your dough is too sticky add a little more flour. When smooth and elastic wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for a 30 minutes or while you make the filling.
2. In a frying pan heat a tbsp of oil, add the leeks and sweat them down until they are soft but not brown. Remove the leeks from the pan and leave them to cool in a separate bowl.
3. Bring a small pan of water to a simmer. Drop in the salmon fillet and leave to poach for 4-5 minutes. Remove the salmon from the pan, peel off the skin and roughly chop into chunks. The salmon should pale and cooked outside with a gentle, tender rawness in the centre.
3. To a food processor, add the salmon, herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice (I would be frugal with the amount of lemon juice at first as you don’t won’t an overpowering acid flavour that smothers all the other delicate flavours) cheese and seasoning. Whizz the ingredients to a smooth pate consistency and then taste the filling to make sure the flavours are to your liking. When happy, cover and chill the mix whilst you roll out the pasta.
4. Take your pasta dough out the fridge and leave it to soften a little at room temperature. To roll out the pasta take a tennis ball size of dough and roll it through the widest setting of the pasta machine. Fold the sheet into 3 and re-roll it through the machine on the same setting. Again fold the dough into 3 but this time turn the setting down one notch so the pasta will roll out slightly thinner than before. Carry on this process of rolling the pasta twice on the same setting before turning the notch down one, until you reach the lowest/thinnest setting. It’s important to make sure that the dough you aren’t using is tightly covered in clingfilm so that it doesn’t dry out. You should also consider that the longer you work with the dough the harder it will get so try and work swiftly if possible.
5. When the pasta has been rolled out on the thinnest setting you will have a very long sheet of pasta. Place it on a clean surface and using a circular cutter roughly 6cm in diameter cut out as many circles as possible. Then spoon a small teaspoon of the salmon filling into the centre of half the circles leaving a border of about a cm surrounding the filling. Wet a small paint brush specifically used for cooking (or you could use your fingertip) with water and slightly dampen the border of pasta. It’s important you don’t make the pasta sodden! Next place the remaining circles on top of the filling and using your fingers gently smooth down the pasta circle over the filling dome making sure not to squash the filling from its dome shape keeping it within the border of water created. You do this to remove the air from the ravioli so they don’t burst when boiled. Then quite firmly press the seams of the two pasta circles together enclosing the filling within. You don’t want the filling to seep out the edges when cooking. Place the ravioli on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper which is dusted in a thin layer of semolina. The semolina stops the ravioli getting to sticky and allows them to now start to dry.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the remaining pasta dough. You should have about half the dough still wrapped in clingfilm and you can re-roll the remnants of the cut out dough once more. However, if it feels hard and flaky the dough has spent to long uncovered and won’t be very malleable so it will be harder to work with and you may end up with tough ravioli.
7. You can freeze the ravioli at this stage or simply leave the pasta in the fridge on the semolina dusted trays whilst you make the sauce. If you’re not freezing the ravioli it’s best cooked the same day as the pasta may start to go soggy if left in the fridge for too long. When ready to eat, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. (I used a very wide deep frying pan as I didn’t want any of the ravioli sitting on each other incase they were likely to stick together). Place the ravioli in the water and cook for 2-3 minutes, from frozen 4-5 minutes. Drain the pasta and serve with a fresh tomato sauce. Enjoy!