asparagus ravioli

I’m not sure why or how, but I grew up thinking asparagus was the most disgusting vegetable ever. And since I had a long list of hated vegetables, asparagus was a dish I was sure I would never eat again. At some point in my life, I actually began to grow up. Cheap wine began to taste cheap. Caviar really is good. And asparagus can be sumptuous.

Especially if you add some pasta and sauce. I’m fond of cupcakes because they are “personal” desserts. And I feel the same way about ravioli. Each one is “mine,” a packet of flavor that challenges my mouth: one bite or two? Here we go cross cultural: the ravioli are made with Asian wonton wrappers. The accompanying brown butter sauce is classic European.

This dish is beautiful and elegant. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a rich roast chicken, or a thick steak, or a moist slab of salmon fresh from the grill.

Asparagus Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

Yield: 18 ravioli, serving 6 persons as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium-cut asparagus
  • 6 tablespoons mascarpone
  • ⅓ cup ricotta
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 36 wonton wrappers
  • finely grated lemon zest to taste

Preparation:

Bring a medium pot well salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a medium bowl of ice water. Boil the asparagus tips until tender but still bight green, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water. When cool, transfer with the slotted spoon to a small bowl and set aside. Cook and cool the asparagus spears in the same manner; dry them on paper towels. Chop the asparagus stems very finely and transfer to a medium bowl. Reserve the asparagus tips for garnish.

Add the mascarpone, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, and cayenne to the chopped asparagus; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange 18 wonton wrappers on a work surface. Put 1 level tablespoon of the asparagus filling in the center of each wrapper. Using a pastry brush, moisten the edges of each with water. Top with another wrapper and press the edges firmly to seal, expelling any air bubbles as you seal. If you don’t cook the ravioli immediately, cover them with a damp cloth.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook until the butter turns light brown (it should smell slightly nutty).

Add the ravioli to the boiling water. When they rise to the surface, after about 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to warm plates or pasta bowls. Spoon the brown butter mixture over the ravioli. Top with the reserved asparagus tops, a grinding of pepper, a sprinkle of parmesan and a little lemon zest, and serve.

Source: Potatoes: Fine Cooking Magazine