If you're going to go through the trouble of making homemade pasta dough, you may as well make it worth your while. Rather than drown tender noodles in sauce, why not take a more minimalist route, like in this lightly dressed dish of goat cheese ravioli?
Enhanced by little else than a confetti-like burst of crushed pink peppercorns, lemon zest, and tarragon, the delicate but toothsome pasta and its tangy filling shine. As a sneaky bonus, this minimalist sauce of sorts takes mere moments to whip up, a boon given the initial effort expended rolling out the homemade pasta dough.
More time-consuming than difficult to prepare, it would make for a rewarding weekend project. (If you have the time, make a double batch of the pasta, and freeze the extra filled ravioli for a speedy dinner down the line. Add the frozen pasta directly to boiling water, without thawing.) Trust me here, it's absolutely worth the effort.
If using store-bought pasta sheets or a different pasta dough recipe than the one provided, add the zest from 2 lemons to the ravioli filling.
For pasta dough:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium eggs
11 1/2 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) 00 flour, plus extra for rolling
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Grated zest of 3 lemons
11 ounces fresh goat cheese
Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of a crushed red pepper flakes
1 egg white, beaten
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, finely crushed
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Lemon juice (optional)
- To make the pasta dough: Whisk together the oil and eggs. Put the flour, turmeric, and lemon zest in a food processor, add the oil and egg mixture and blend to a crumbly dough. It might require extra flour or oil. Once the dough has come together and is smooth (you may need to work it a little by hand), divide it into four thick, rectangular blocks. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.
- Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Take one piece of dough and flatten it on the floured surface with a rolling pin. Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and pass the dough through. Repeat, narrowing the setting by a notch each time until the pasta sheets are near translucent. (On the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment, setting 6 is ideal.) When each sheet is rolled out, keep it under a moist dish towel so it doesn't dry out.
- To make the filling: Combine the goat cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, and a few cracks of black pepper in a bowl and crush them together with a fork.
- Use a pastry cutter or the rim of a glass to stamp out roughly 3-inch discs from the pasta sheets. To shape each ravioli, brush a disc with a little egg white and place a heaped teaspoon of filling in its center. Place another pasta disc on top. Dip your fingers in flour, then gently press out any air as you seal the edges of the two discs together. You should end up with a pillow-shaped center surrounded by an edge that is just under 3/8-inch wide. Seal the sides of the edges together firmly until you can't see a seam where the two discs meet. As they are made, place the ravioli on a dish towel or tray sprinkled with semolina. Leave to dry for 10-15 minutes. (You can now cover the tray with plastic wrap and keep the ravioli in the fridge for a day.)
- When ready to cook, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 2 to 3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and divide among 4 plates. Sprinkle with pink peppercorns, tarragon, and lemon zest. Drizzle grapeseed oil over the ravioli and around them, sprinkle with extra salt and a squirt of lemon juice, if you like, and serve at once.
- Main Dishes, Pasta
- Serves 4 as an appetizer