Something strange happens with the coming of spring. Suddenly our dining table is full of lighter dishes, fresh green salads and herbs. Is it the need to detox the body and melt the winter softness away, I don’t know. But since a few weeks we have kissed good bye the heavy dishes with lots of meat and have opted for vegetarian alternatives only. And the body starts to feel the difference and rejoice.
Today’s meal is no exception. Fresh home made green spinach pasta, rolled into delicious ravioli filled with mozzarella burrata and dry tomatoes, served with fresh basil pesto and creme cheese sauce. The celebration of spring green freshness does not end here. We arrange generous handful of rocket salad and fresh basil leaves and the feast may begin.
Every bite a pleasant surprise of delicious ingredients. Every combination an indulgent treat of zinging perfection. Let the spring come with all its glory. We are ready for life and its renewed banquet feast.
For the Pasta
- 300g plain flour
- 2 free-range eggs
- pinch salt
- 75g well-drained, puréed cooked spinach
For the ravioli filling
- 600g burrata mozzarella cheese
- 50g parmesan, freshly grated
- 50g dry tomatoes
- black pepper
For the Basil Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
For the Crème Fraîche Sauce
- 200g Creme Fraiche
- 50g Parmesan
- Rocket salad
- Fresh basil leaves
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
1. To make the pasta, sift the flour onto a work surface, forming a volcano-shaped mound with a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and add the salt and spinach. Incorporate the eggs and spinach into the flour with a fork and your hands, gradually drawing the flour into the egg mixture until it forms a coarse paste.
2. Add a little more flour if the mixture is too soft or sticky, or a little water if the mixture is too dry. Using a knife (or a spatula), scrape up any stray pieces of dough.
3. Before kneading the dough, clean your hands and the work surface. Lightly flour the work surface, and start to knead the dough with the heel of one hand as you might break the dough. Work the dough for 10-15 minutes until the consistency is smooth and elastic. If the dough sticks to your fingers, rub your hands with some flour. Wrap the dough in cling film or aluminium foil and leave it to rest for at least half an hour.
4. Roll out the pasta, by machine or using a rolling pin, into two long sheets, roughly 15-20cm wide, and 2mm thick. Blend the burrata mozzarella with the dry tomatoes, salt and pepper until smooth paste.
5. Place one sheet of pasta on the work surface. Put one full tea spoon of mozzarella filling.
6. Brush around the filling with water and fold over the other side of the pasta sheet. Cover the fillings by pressing the dough all around each to expel the air. Cut into rectangles with a pasta wheel or a sharp knife to make six large ravioli. Cover with a tea towel while you make the remaining ravioli.
7. Repeat with the other pasta sheet, using the rest of the burrata filling.
8. Cook the ravioli gently in plenty of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes or until al dente.
9. To make the Basil Pesto blend together the basil leaves, parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth.
10. In a separate saucepan melt the Creme Fraiche and the grated Parmesan.
11. Serve the pasta on warmed plates, drizzle Basil Pesto and Creme Fraiche sauce, sprinkled with more parmesan and add rocket salad and fresh basil leaves.