Asparagus Mascarpone Ravioloni in a brown butter, sage and macadamia nut sauce has amazing flavor and texture taking our taste buds to new levels of enjoyment. A tender homemade pasta holds beautifully sauteed organic asparagus and mascarpone filling leaving nothing but bliss on your tongue.
Song of the day: “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Whithers.
Asparagus Mascarpone Ravioloni is a perfect dish to embellish fresh organic locally grown Asparagus. Factor in a sweet mascarpone and beautifully sauteed garlic and shallots and you have a filling for the most tender and tasty Ravioloni.
L: Asparagus is in season and Nicoletta had a wonderful idea to make homemade Ravioli. All you have to say to me is Ravioli and I am in. This passion for these plump pouches or pure delight started when I was quite young. I loved the ravioli that my parents made, usually with ricotta and spinach some Parmigiano Reggiano and a rich tomato sauce and I was a happy camper biting into that tender pasta starting at the edges and working my way into the middle filling. They also made a meat stuffed ravioli that was equally good. I loved warming them up in a pan the next day and pouring in a bit more sauce and Parmigiano which would melt into the sauce and get a little crispy on the ravioli.
N: Among the fresh pasta my mother made, ravioli had my preference. She usually made them for our Sunday lunch, and always with a ricotta-spinach filling and a simple tomato sauce. She was already more advanced than my grandma, whose only tools were her hands and a rolling pin. My mother had the manual pasta machine and her sheets were always so smooth and tender. I remember her saying that the dough ball should feel at the touch soft as a baby’s bum. And that I try to recreate all the time I make homemade pasta dough.
L: We used the purple Asparagus, Nicoletta is quite familiar with this vegetable as it grows so well in Italy. To tell you the truth, I had never had the purple one so I was surprised when we were at Edgar Farms stand at The Old Strathcona Farmers Market and there they were. I like the thing almost baby asparagus. I love their tenderness and plump rich flavor and I think it would be a great partner to the subtle sweet nature of the mascarpone.
N: I’m quite familiar with asparagus, yes, the green variety, the purple one, and the less known white asparagus. But also the wild variety, the “asparagina selvatica”, with its thin and long stem and incredibly rich and strong flavor, that my father forages in the country and makes a delicious condiment for my mother’s homemade pasta.
L: With the asparagus, you lose a little, as the bottom of the stock is quite tough and fibrous so we just cut a few inches of the bottom. We need a nice more tender asparagus to fill these ravioloni. I love that smell of the garlic and shallots sauteing and with a bit of vegetable stock and some stirring our asparagus is ready to unite with some rich creamy mascarpone.
N: Such a delicate filling the combo asparagus and mascarpone. I don’t think my mother ever used asparagus as a filling, but she would definitely approve.
Get the pasta maker and your partner, it’s time to make Asparagus Mascarpone Ravioloni!
L: Nicoletta and I don’t have a huge kitchen so there is a lotta ‘excuse me’, bumping into one another, but you know what, I like it and we do have a whole lotta fun working together especially when it comes to homemade pasta, two is better than one. Look at that lovely color, golden and beautiful, Nicoletta definitely has hands for making pasta. She just touches the dough and knows immediately if it is good or needs some work. I enjoy the kneading, folding, rolling, a great arm work out! I know many get so intimidated by the thought of making homemade pasta but truly it is so easy and so fulfilling when you are at the table eating, knowing your hands created it.
N: Working the dough is my happy place, whether making pasta, bread, pizza, or pastry, I lose myself in the making and get so fulfilled and joyful after. When it’s the two of us making pasta dough, there is a lot of laughter involved, definitely a good ingredient to add to your pasta!
L: We found this ravioli cutter at The Italian Centre Shop. It works really great first to etch the pattern onto your dough sheets. This is important because you want to have some guide to where the middle of the ravioloni is going to be so we can put the filling in. It would not work so well if the filling was off to one side, which 1) would cause the pasta not to seal meaning mess in the boiling water as the filling spills out; 2) they would not look too nice and very sloppy. Doesn’t that filling look amazing. I confess we did have a few spoonfuls, we had to for seasoning purposes, plus there’s plenty for the Asparagus Mascarpone Ravioloni.
N: I was wondering since we decided the title of the post if some of you knew the word Ravioloni or maybe think it’s just a misspelling for Ravioli. Well, these are not regular size ravioli, they are bigger, hence they are called “raviolONI”, which means big ravioli. You usually plate and eat 4-5 of these ravioloni per serving.
L: I am so happy with how these are turning out and honestly impatience has the best of me right now because I just want to get them cooking so I can eat them. Don’t they look amazing!
N: One thing I can suggest, is not to wait too long after you’ve rolled the dough to make the ravioli. The pasta sheets do not have to dry out, or it will be hard to make them and seal them properly. Then, it’s up to you what ravioli shape you want to do, round, small square, big square, half moon. You will end up with some scraps of dough. You can either use them as some kind of pasta for soups or just call it a day and discard the leftovers.
L: One thing I would like to share is that when you place the ravioloni into a slow boiling salted water, be delicate. Also, don’t stack the ravioloni when you finish sealing them and cutting. Pasta dough is like a magnet to each other and they will stick together which would not be easy to take apart. Most likely they would tear, not good for ravioloni to lose all that asparagus-mascarpone filling. Look at these babies sauteing ever so gently after being boiled for a bit. Some great olive oil, butter, and fresh sage leaves and that is it, simple, but yet so packed with impressive flavor. Wouldn’t you agree?
N: Also, be gentle when scooping them out, use a slotted plastic spoon, do not throw them in the colander, they will just break and tear apart. Even when sauteing, and this is Loreto’s job, a gentle hand is what you need. It’s three of us at the table and we’re anxiously waiting for Loreto to plate and bring us the pasta. It smells so good!
L: Now for the best part, I have been waiting all day for this, TASTE TESTING! Wow, my fork goes in and I know this pasta is tender but it is confirmed as it hits my mouth and so easily breaks down. I love that simple yet so wonderful flavor of the fresh pasta. Then the filling comes into play. Wonderful soft rich morsels of asparagus with that unmistakable earthiness all mixed with the sweetness of the shallots and infusion of the pressed garlic. I love how the mascarpone has a sweet note yet nice fresh back note to marry quite well with the other players of this dish and Asparagus Mascarpone has become a favorite in my books. The brown butter sage sauce is pure heaven especially when you get a bite of crisp fried sage. I wanted a nutty element but didn’t want the norm walnuts. I thought shaved Macadamia nuts would add just a bit of bite at the end, and I love the rich nutty butteriness of this nut. To finish things off, some Grana or Parmigiano, what can I say it is always a good finisher with that pungent tastebud tantalizing profile working so well with everything else. It is also a good way to cut some of that rich buttery flavor. Don’t forget to get some of that sauce on top before serving.
I have been a fan of Ravioli for a long time and this Asparagus mascarpone Ravioloni keeps me in the pocket, pardon my pun, lol. It is also a great way to bond and have lots of fun in the kitchen with your partner. So grab each other’s hands and let the semolina fly, it’s Pasta Time!
From both of us and our kitchen to yours.
Song of the day: “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers.Print
Asparagus Mascarpone Ravioloni in a brown butter, sage, and macadamia nut sauce is amazing flavor and texture taking our taste buds to new levels of enjoyment. A tender homemade pasta holds beautifully sauteed organic asparagus and mascarpone filling leaving nothing but bliss on your tongue.
For the pasta dough:
- 2 eggs
- 140 g all-purpose flour
- 60 g semolina flour
For the Filling:
- a bundle of fresh, organic asparagus (we used purple asparagus)
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1 small clove garlic, smashed
- 2 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup mascarpone
For the butter sage sauce:
- 1 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- handful macadamia nuts, shaved
- 1/4 cup Grana or Parmigiano, grated
- In a large bowl add flour, make a well in the middle, crack eggs into well, beat eggs with a fork and slowly start to pull the flour into the eggs. Mix till dough starts to form.
- Flour a work surface and place the dough. Start kneading the dough over onto itself and turning and repeating, using some good force to get that dough nice and smooth. If needed, add a drop of water. The texture should be soft and velvety to the touch, and elastic. Now shape it into a dough ball. Cover in plastic and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
For the Filling:
- Wash the asparagus, chop the bottom ends and dice, leaving tips whole.
- In a saute pan heat up e.v.o. oil, toss in garlic whole and smashed, minced shallot, and saute till shallots soften.
- Toss in asparagus, stir, and keep adding vegetable stock a little at a time waiting for the broth to dissipate before adding some more. When broth is finished, keep cooking until broth is all dissipated and asparagus are soft.
- Place them in a bowl, remove garlic, and mash them with a pastry blender.
- Add the mascarpone, and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Set aside.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Cut dough into half-inch thick rounds, press dough making rounds a little bit thinner than proceed to put it through the pasta machine.
- Roll dough rounds in the pasta machine starting from the lowest number and repeating one number at a time till you get to 5, always dusting with semolina or flour before rolling. Lay sheets on a floured surface, not overlapping. Dust tops with some semolina or flour.
- Continue to do the same until all dough is finished.
- Take a pasta sheet and a ravioli cutter (we used a 2″x 2″ square) and dent the pasta sheet. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each square. Take a brush and some water and brush the edges of each ravioli square.
- Place another pasta sheet and lay it over the pasta sheet with filling, stretching the sides to meet the bottom sheet.
- Press and seal the pasta sheets around the filling, making sure there is no air inside the pocket. Cut with the ravioli cutter or the corrugated pasta cutter.
- Place them individually on a baking sheet with some semolina flour at the bottom. Do not stack them one on top of the other.
- Repeat with all pasta sheets. You can use the leftover edges to make some kind of pasta for a soup or discard.
Butter Sage Sauce:
- In a saute pan heat olive oil and butter.
- When butter begins to sizzle, throw in sage leaves and continue cooking till sauce turns a nice light golden brown. Take off heat and set aside.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, place ravioli in, delicately.
- Cook till ravioli come to the surface, about 5 minutes.
- Take out of the water gently using a slotted spoon and place in the saute pan with butter sage sauce.
- Heat a touch making sure ravioli are well coated.
- Pace ravioli onto a plate, top with shaved macadamia and some Grana or Parmigiano grated on top.
- Ready to serve!
The prep time includes the 30 minutes resting time.
The cook time includes the cooking of the asparagus and the pasta.