Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Carrot, Shallot, and Ricotta Ravioli with Homemade Pesto

I love tortellini and ravioli, but I rarely get to eat them anymore because the dough (and frequently the filling) is almost always made with egg.   I did find a yolk-free version back when I was in Chicago last February, but that was in an Italian specialty store.  It's just not common for fresh pastas to be made yolk-free and so therefore I abstain from this delightful carbo-liscious treat.  But I've discovered a way around it!  I'm not going to lie, it's a little labor intensive as you basically have to fold each individual ravioli/dumpling separately as opposed to using sheets of pasta and a dough cutter.  But this filling is insane and you have to make these just so you can eat consume this carrot, shallot, and ricotta goodness!  I also whipped up a homemade pesto, but I just eyeballed it so I don't have a recipe to share for the sauce.  But here is a pesto recipe from Ina Garten, who hasn't steered me wrong yet, or you could just buy a jar of pesto from the store, because after stuffing 40 some ravioli, you'll be ready for a break...  but remember, the filling makes these SO worth it!

Carrot, Shallot, and Ricotta Ravioli (based off of this recipe)
Makes about 40 Ravioli

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoon heavy cream
heaping 1/2 cup firmly packed ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg yolk (or 3 quail egg yolks, as I did with my version)
1 package of frozen wonton or dumpling wrappers*


  1. Set frozen wonton wrappers on the counter top and let thaw for 1-2 hours before starting.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a baking dish, toss the carrots with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until tender. Then remove the foil and turn on the broiler.  Broil for 3-4 minutes to lightly brown the carrots. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, combine the carrots, shallot/butter combo and cream and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a bowl. Stir in the ricotta, Parmigiano and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg yolk. 
  5. Remove a wonton wrapper from the stack and place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center.  Take some water and very slightly dampen the edge of half of the wonton wrapper.  Fold the other edge over so it meets the dampened edge and press together firmly with your fingers.  Try to make sure that there are no air bubbles remaining in the center of the wrapper and that the entire edge is sealed.  Use a fork to push into the edges of the newly formed ravioli to ensure that they were completely sealed.  Set aside on a tray under a damp paper towel.  Repeat with remaining wrappers.
  6. Boil a large pot of heavily salted water.  Once it reaches a rolling boil, drop the ravioli into the pot.  Don't overcrowd the pasta - I wound up cooking mine in 2 batches.  Let cook for about 3 minutes until the dough has puffed a bit and the ravioli are floating.  Drain and serve!
I served my ravioli mixed up with some homemade basil pesto and a heaping pile of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  These would also be delicious if you heated some butter in a skilled and lightly pan fried the ravioli and then topped with remaining browned butter, fresh grated cheese, and some parsley.  And remember, the filling totally makes these worth all of the work - it is delicious!!!
*I get my wonton wrappers in the frozen section at my local Asian market.  They have a huge selection and some do have egg yolks in them, so read the ingredients if you're concerned about this. 

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