Incepted during last year’s hard lockdown, I’ve been saving this recipe for Roasted Broccoli and Ricotta Ravioli in a silkily golden anchovy butter sauce.
Well “saving” might be the incorrect term – rather, the truth is that I just haven’t gotten around to posting it yet.
Almost ideal for Meatless Monday (I simply refuse to leave out those anchovies) the ravioli filling is warmingly robust – thanks to roasting the broccoli in olive oil and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. Crumbly ricotta lends its luscious texture to the brassicas, cementing the winning combination of smoky broccoli and creamy dairy.
Since we’re fast approaching brassica season, broccoli is just one of many veggies suited to a ravioli filling – with shredded kale, Brussels sprouts, lightly charred cauliflower or if you can find it, romanesco sautéed in garlicky olive oil making for excellent stuffing.
While making one’s own ravioli from scratch is not ideal for a speedy midweek supper, the action itself is a meditatively pleasing one and so I often set aside a rainy afternoon or slow Sunday to prepare my pasta – revelling in the unhurried hedonism of turning flour, eggs and oil into tender pillowy pockets of flavour.
Prep time: 1 hour /Cook time: 15 mins /Serves: 4
- 125g tenderstem broccoli
- 5ml dried chilli flakes
- 250g fresh ricotta
- 10ml lemon juice
- 5ml ground nutmeg
- Olive oil
- Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 400g Italian “00” flour, plus extra for dusting
- 200g salted butter
- 4 brown anchovy fillets
- 1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
- 6-10 fresh sage leaves
Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli with the chilli flakes and drizzle over a little olive oil. Season the broccoli with salt and pepper and arrange on a lined baking sheet. Roast the broccoli for 15-20 minutes until tender and slightly charred. Leave the broccoli to cool before roughly chopping and combining with the ricotta, lemon juice and nutmeg. Refrigerate until needed.
For the ravioli dough, sift the flour and add a good grind of salt. On a flat surface, turn out the flour and make a well in the centre. Pour in the eggs and, using a fork, work into the flour, eventually making a sticky dough. Dust the work surface with flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest for half an hour. Halve the dough and keep one half wrapped in clingfilm to prevent it from drying out. Using a pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll out half the dough until you have a thin strip about 8cm wide. Spoon the chilled broccoli mixture along the pasta sheet, working in 10ml dollops spaced equidistantly to allow for an edge. Roll out the remaining pasta and gently drape over the broccoli dollops, cupping your hand around each pocket to press out any air. Seal the edges of the ravioli pockets with a brush of water and if desired, use a ravioli cutter to press out small pockets.
For the anchovy butter sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan until foaming. Add in the sliced garlic and sauté until tender. “Melt” the anchovy fillets into the butter and add the sage leaves. Fry until the leaves are crisp. Season the butter sauce with black pepper and keep warm until needed.
Set a pot filled with salted water to boil. Once boiling, add a glug of olive oil and cook the ravioli in batches until al dente. Drain the ravioli. Plate the pasta in warmed bowls and spoon over the butter sauce. Finally, add a grating of Parmesan and serve.