Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pea Ravioli

Somehow the vegetarian meals we put together often end up being pasta.  And this meal is no exception.  I got the idea for a pea ravioli from an old recipe from Gourmet that I saw years ago, along with the fact that peas are in season now.  Granted, I used frozen peas instead of fresh, but it's almost impossible to find (and deal with) fresh peas.  Instead of making homemade pasta dough to make our ravioli I copped out as usual and used wonton wrappers.  Making homemade pasta is a huge pain.  Peas have always been one of the vegetables that I understood the least.  Growing up the only time I really had peas was when I had the canned/frozen peas that my grandmother used in the casserole she always served us when we came to visit.  To this day I am not a big fan of casserole, although it really doesn't reflect on her cooking abilities so much as the fact that casseroles are gloopy unappetizing messes.  Anyway, this is one of the few times that I have voluntarily cooked peas as an adult.  I am almost certain this is the first time that peas have been the integral component of a meal that I have cooked.  But every once in awhile you have to mix it up a little and cook something completely outside of your normal repertoire.  What fun is cooking if you cook the same ingredients and the same dishes all the time?

I have to admit that I liked these ravioli.  Maybe peas aren't so bad after all!  When cooked in these ravioli the peas were sweet and fresh.  The Parmigiano-Reggiano in the filling gave the peas a nutty, salty flavor to balance out the sweetness of the peas.  I was thinking that some fresh ricotta would also be a delicious component of the ravioli, only it would accentuate, rather than counterbalance, the sweet flavor of the peas.  It would also give the pea filling a creamier, smoother texture.  I can't say that I have ever tasted peas with fresh mint in them (even though the combination is a classic one), but the mint really went wonderfully with the peas.  All of the flavors are fresh and bright - perfect springtime fare.

Recipe after the jump!

Pea Ravioli

10 oz frozen peas
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus additional for serving
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp fresh mint, julienned
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
About 64 dumpling or wonton wrappers
2 unsalted butter
1 tbsp evoo, plus additional for drizzling
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
    Cook peas in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and cool, then purée in a food processor. Add cheese, mint, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon each of s&p. Process to combine.

    Put a rounded teaspoon filling in center of a wrapper. Lightly brush edge of wrapper with water, then fold wrapper in half and seal, pressing out any trapped air in your cupped hands. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling, keeping ravioli covered with a damp towel as you work.

    Boil ravioli in 2 batches in a pasta pot of salted boiling water with a tbsp of evoo until tender, 2 to 3 minutes per batch, removing with a slotted spoon and adding to a plate with a drizzle of evoo to keep the ravioli from sticking together.

    Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add evoo. Cook until foam begins to subside. Remove from heat. Gently toss cooked ravioli in melted butter.  Scatter half of the lemon zest and the pine nuts over the ravioli as you toss. Remove ravioli and place on a plate - garnishing with remaining lemon zest, Parm-Reg and julienned fresh mint.


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