Makes: 4 raviolo
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Flour and polenta, to dust
20 fresh asparagus spears, woody ends removed
40g salted butter
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
Optional: truffle oil, to drizzle
For the pasta dough:
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
125g spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
50g smoked salmon, finely chopped
125g ricotta cheese
40g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of ½ a lemon
Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 medium egg, plus 4 egg yolks, preferably free-range or organic
Make your pasta dough. While it is resting, steam the spinach in a large covered saucepan and cover with a little water and cook for about 5 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat, drain and leave to cool (you can speed up the cooling process by running cold water over the spinach). When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze to remove the water. This is a really important step. If there’s any excess water in the filling it may cause the pasta to disintegrate, so make sure the spinach is as dry as possible, then finely chop it.
In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach and salmon with the ricotta and Parmesan. Season, to taste, with the lemon zest, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. To bind the filling, add the whole egg and mix well. Transfer the filling to a large piping bag (or freezer bag).
Roll out 2 pasta sheets and place them on a welldusted work surface. Pipe 4 rings of filling, about 2.5cm high on one pasta sheet. Carefully place an egg yolk into the centre of each ring and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Using your finger, brush a little water around the filling to help the top layer of pasta stick. Carefully lay a rectangle of pasta over the filling, pressing down gently around the outside to remove any air bubbles and seal tightly. Using a 12cm round cutter cut out the ravioli and trim the edges, making sure there are no gaps in the pasta. These ravioli are very delicate so handle them with care. Repeat for the other ravioli. Cut 4 pieces of baking parchment, each large enough for a ravioli to sit on. Dust with polenta and very carefully transfer the ravioli to the parchment (this will help you move the ravioli when it comes to cooking them).
Heat a griddle over a high heat and cook the asparagus turning occasionally for about 5 minutes, until nicely charred. Remove from the heat.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Lower the heat so the water is at a gentle rolling boil. Very gently lower each ravioli and baking parchment into the boiling water. The paper will come away from the ravioli in the water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t let the water boil too vigorously as this may cause the ravioli to split. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan until it starts to bubble.
Place 5 asparagus stalks on each serving plate. Using a slotted spoon place the ravioli on top of the asparagus. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan and spoon over a tablespoon of the melted butter. Serve, drizzled with a little truffle oil, if desired.