I admit it. I am thirty three. I still dunk buttered soldiers into molten yolk. It’s breakfast nirvana. I pretend to be oh so refined by substituting blanched asparagus spears, but the truth is that dunking is fun. I usually request ‘poached’ as my egg of choice to entertain the masochist in me with a game of roulette. Will the yolk be hard and rubbery or collapse into an oozing mass of golden deliciousness? Will they be cooked in moulds, wrapped in cling film or just cracked straight in? I’ve had them all; from those best left forgotten to the laverbread and poached eggs served up at the Stackpole Inn in Pembrokeshire. The best thing is that poached eggs aren’t just for breakfast. A poached egg makes a mighty fine supper nestled atop a bed of grilled asparagus and rocket, dressed with a squeeze of lemon, shavings of parmesan and a balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzle. But this is not a post about poached eggs. It is a celebration of the liquid gold within. Runny yolk haters are recommended to stop reading now as you may find the following images distressing.
What better packaging than a giant raviolo (singular of ravioli) stuffed with asparagus, lemon and ricotta? Mmmmm, a raviolo the size of a plate! If that isn’t enticing enough, imagine cutting into it and…
Uova da raviolo is surprisingly simple to make. You just need a feather-light touch to handle each raviolo with the Tender and Loving Care it deserves. Oh, it also helps if you roll out the pasta dough a little thicker for these monsters, but if you don’t fancy kneading, fresh lasagne sheets should work well. Give it a try – in the worst case the dog will get an extra yolk or two for dinner.
I’ve got my confidence up a bit with this blogging malarkey and in attempt to be more sociable on-line, I thought I’d try out a blogging event. It is about flavours of Italy after all, so it seems like a good place to start. Divya’s culinary journey and simply.food are hosting, so here goes!
RECIPE: UOVO DA RAVIOLO
A bunch of asparagus spears
A scant teaspoon of garlic paste
A couple of tablespoons of ricotta
The zest of half a lemon and a squeeze of juice
A teaspoon of chopped dill or fennel fronds
A grating of nutmeg
A sprinkling of salt and a grinding of white pepper
Two fresh egg yolks
100g of pasta dough of four fresh lasagne sheets
INSTRUCTIONS: Finely chop the stems of the asparagus, leaving the tips intact. Lightly fry with the garlic in a splash of olive oil. Fold in the lemon zest, dill and nutmeg into the ricotta. Stir in the asparagus stems into the mix when cool and season well. If you prefer, you can puree the asparagus for a smooth consistency.
Split the pasta dough into four and roll each circle out so thin that you can see through it when you hold it up to the light. If you have a pasta machine (I wish) use the penultimate setting. Lay the circles on the worktop and put half of the filling (a heaped tablespoon) into the middle of a disc. Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation large enough to hold an egg yolk in the centre of the filling, separate the eggs and carefully slide the yolk into the hollow. Moisten the edge of the pasta with water and gently lay the second circle over the top. Press down very gently, working from the centre outwards to avoid any air bubbles forming, and seal the edges tightly by squishing them together with you thumbs. Cut the raviolo into a neat round (I used the lid of my blender) and voilà. Form the second raviolo.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and lightly pan-fry the asparagus tips. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Gently lower one raviolo into a large pan of salty boiling water using a slotted spoon. It should float to the surface when it is ready, taking two to three minutes to cook depending on size and thickness of pasta. Carefully scoop it out and place it on your serving plate (a bed of dressed rocket wouldn’t be amiss). If you have a large enough pan and are confident you can cook both at the same time, but to play it safe it is best to cook them individually. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, scatter the asparagus tips and parmesan shavings on top, add a final flourish of pepper and enjoy.