Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Long Awaited Dinner

Tonight I made something I have been wanting to try out for almost 5 months: soft egg ravioli. I first had the dish at Dopo, a little restaurant in Oakland (see this post) and have been wanting to try my hand at making it at home ever since. I wanted Big J to experience the dish as much as I wanted to have it again. (Note: little j did not have the ravioli, but I reserved enough pasta to make her very wide noodles.)

Well, it turned out so-so. Actually better than so-so, but certainly not as amazing as I remembered. First of all, I had Big J get the pasta sheets from our local pasta shop yesterday afternoon and I had planned to make it last night. However, due to the migraine, I had to put it off one day, so the pasta wasn't as fresh as I would have liked. Also, I think the pasta could have been thinner and I definitely would have made it conform more to the filling.

Secondly, I would have preferred to use fresher (as in fresh from the hen within the last week) organic, free-range egg yolks. As it was, the eggs were the regular organic free-range kind we get at the grocery store every week -- that is, they were probably at least 1 month old.

Finally, I think one raviolo would have been plenty, but when I planned dinner I hadn't planned on our impulse purchase of one dozen fresh oysters.

So our Sunday dinner menu:

Hood Canal and West Haven Oysters on the half shell
Caesar Salad
Soft Egg Ravioli on Sautéed Spinach finished with Brown Butter Fried Sage
2005 Edgefield Pinot Noir Blanc

Here is my recipe for soft egg ravioli:

1/2 c. Ricotta
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 egg yolk
1/4 - 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
Fresh grated nutmeg
Ground Pepper

4 egg yolks
1 egg white

Pasta sheets

4 Tbs. Butter
12 - 15 sage leaves

Mix ricotta, lemon zest, egg yolk, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Cut pasta sheets into 8 5x5 inch squares.

Divide the ricotta mixture between four squares (about 1 1/2 Tbs.) and use the back of your measure spoon or tip of your finger to make a nest. Gently place an egg yolk in each of the four "nests." Brush the edges of the pasta with egg white and then lay the remaining squares over the nests.

Seal the sides using a ravioli or biscuit cutter. The ravioli can be whatever shape you prefer. I suggest sealing as close to the filling as possible without smashing it down and breaking the yolk.

Meanwhile, heat butter over medium-low heat making certain that the butter gently browns -- it should be fragrant and nut brown in color. At the same time, heat a pot of water to boiling.

Gently boil two ravioli at a time for 4 minutes. Take care not to turn the ravioli over. They should stay upright as if poaching an egg. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon and cook remaining pasta.

When butter is brown, place sage leaves in and fry briefly.

Plate the ravioli and top with fried sage leaves, drizzle browned butter over the top and finish with grated Parmesan and black pepper.

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