Friday, June 10, 2011

Asparagus Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

This weekend is one of those rare instances where we absolutely have no plans. We are always so busy on the weekends that a “no plan” weekend is a welcomed change. Naturally, I have every intention to relax on the deck with a mojito in hand, go to the Farmer’s Market to hopefully score some fresh ingredients, and maybe even frequent a local winery. But more importantly, I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity to cook and bake some interesting dishes. If, like me, you have more time than usual or if you are having friends over and looking to impress then Asparagus Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce is the dish for you! This delicious dish was taken from my favorite cooking magazine Fine Cooking and will serve 4. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Special Utensils: Food processor (may use a blender as a substitute), zester, pastry brush

Sea Salt
1 lb thick asparagus, trimmed, spears cut into 1 inch pieces, tips reserved
6 tbs. mascarpone (can be found in the cheese section at your local grocery store)
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper
36 wonton wrappers
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup blanched almonds (directions on how to do this below), chopped
Freshly grated lemon zest to taste

Side Bar: If you are unsure how to blanch almonds, see directions below:
Bring water to boil on high heat. Once water is boiling, add in the almonds. Boil the almonds for 1 minute. Strain the almonds into a colander and place the strained almonds into a bowl of cold water. Wait until the almonds cool, dry with a paper towel and place in a small bowl. You now have blanched almonds!

Bring water to boil in a medium pot over high heat. Make sure to salt water. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Boil the asparagus tips for 2 minutes. Transfer the tips to the ice water. Once cool transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Repeat above with the asparagus spears. Dry them with a paper towel. In a food processor chop 1 1/2 cups of the spears very finely and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining spears to the tips.

Add the mascarpone, ricotta, parmesan, anchovy paste, garlic and cayenne to the chopped asparagus. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange 18 wonton wrappers on the counter. Put 1 level tbs. of the asparagus filling in the center of each wrapper. Be sure to keep mixture in the center, making closure of the wonton easier and secure. Using a pastry brush moisten the edges of each with water. Top each with another wrapper and press the edges firmly to seal, expelling any air bubbles as you seal. If you don't plan to 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 10-inch skillet over medium heat and add the almonds, shaking the pan. Cook until the butter turns light brown, about 6 minutes, and then immediately transfer to a small bowl.

Add the ravioli to the boiling water. (I do this in batches, 6 ravioli at a time). When they rise to the surface, after about 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to plates. Spoon the brown butter mixture over the ravioli. Top with the reserved asparagus pieces, a grinding of pepper, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a little lemon zest, and serve.

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