I’m not one to hide my feelings about pasta, particularly when eaten on a Sunday. I’ll wake up and think, I want a massive bowl of pasta and my day will generally go from there. A classic ragú is usually what we’ll have when we’re visiting R’s mother, but in our house we go all veggie more often than not. And I know, I know that in my last post I yapped on about loving the plant-based only diet but pasta, well pasta just deserves to be slathered in butter, filled with cheese and made with eggs.
Usually if I’m making fresh pasta a simple fettuccine will be my shape of choice, but every now and then the slight extra effort involved in making a stuffed pasta like ravioli is well worth the labour. There is something so rewarding about making a meal from scratch. With these ravioli I put together the flavours I was really craving at that time, and it turns out that the combination of slightly salty, creamy ricotta teamed with smokey aubergine marries perfectly with a classic brown butter and sage sauce.
If you read aubergine and winced then fear not, this recipe is easily adaptable. Sub in blanched spinach, or perhaps some chopped walnuts, or switch the brown butter for a deeply rich and comforting tomato sauce. Whichever way you have it, this is truly a meal to be savoured and enjoyed.
Ricotta + Aubergine Ravioli with Brown Butter + Sage Sauce
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as starters
Makes around 30 ravioli, and enough filling to freeze for another time
For the pasta:
175g type ’00’ pasta flour
3 large eggs
For the ricotta filling:
2 medium sized aubergines
4-5 twigs of fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
For the sauce:
60g unsalted butter
6 sage leaves
Preheat oven to 200°c
Start with making the filling. Slice the aubergines in half lengthways and score. Season with salt and rub the minced garlic and thyme leaves into the flesh. Drizzle with olive oil and place on a baking tray. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes until soft. Once the aubergines have cooled enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor. Add the ricotta and a good amount of salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Set aside until needed.
Onto the pasta; tip the flour out onto a clean surface and create a well in the middle. Crack in your eggs and whisk them with a fork for one minute, then gradually start to draw in flour from the edges until the dough comes together. Add more flour as needed, but only just enough to stop the dough from sticking.
Knead the dough for a few minutes; push the dough away from you with the palm of your hand, then fold it back over itself. Twist the dough 90 degrees to the left and repeat several times.
Roll the dough out using a pasta machine (or you can do this by hand if you’re patient). Pass the pasta through the largest setting folding in half each time. After doing this a few times start to decrease the size until you get your pasta as thin as desired. I rolled mine to setting 6. Remember you want the pasta to hold the filling, so if you go too thin it may tear and burst in the pan.
Using a round cutter make around 60 circles from your pasta dough, re-rolling any scraps. Place a small amount of filling in the middle of one, and use another circle to cover. Use a little water around the edges of the pasta to help the two sides stick, and press together with your fingers. Set aside on a clean dish cloth.
To make the sauce, on low heat the butter in a skillet and once melted add the sage leaves. Continue to cook until the butter starts to brown and the leaves become crisp, then remove from the heat.
Cook the pasta in generously salted water for around 2-3 minutes – they should float to the surface when ready. Remove the ravioli from the water using a slotted spoon and add straight to the pan with the butter sauce. Toss to cover and serve immediately with a crack of fresh pepper and parmesan shavings.
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