The inspiration for this dish is the Daring Bakers’ March Challenge of Lasagne Verdi Al Forno, a homemade spinach lasagna all done by hand! After learning how easy it is to make my own lasagna at home (even though it required a lot of arm work since I do not have a pasta machine), I decided to experiment with different “flavors” of the egg pasta. I was testing recipes for my Foodbuzz 24,24,24 entry (Cooking with Edible Flowers) so I logically went for whatever edible flowers I had available. A confetti of edible flowers looked great after rolling but lost its “pretty” look after cooking. There was no flavor either so the ravioli relied on whatever filling I used.
Nasturtium, on the other hand, provided a little more “kick”. The resulting ravioli was peppery and has a slight “tang” to it, even when the only filling was plain homemade ricotta cheese. For an easy and quick version, mix the cooked ravioli with some nasturtium butter in a saute pan and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
The Daring Bakers’ recipe will yield a lot of pasta so be prepared to adjust accordingly. I found Alice Waters’ simple egg pasta dough from the book Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza, Calzone and used it here. It allowed me to make small batches of the basic dough (which is great if you want to try different “flavors” and not have your pasta dry out on you!).
Basic Pasta Dough (adapted from Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza, Calzone book)
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- a little salt
- 1 egg
- a little water if necessary
- Put flour in a bowl with the salt and make a well in the center. Add the beaten egg and working with the fingertips, begin to blend four and egg from the center out, gradually gathering flour from the sides. Mix without actually working or kneading the dough!
- When the flour and egg are mixed, add a few drops of water and begin to bring it all together as a mass. Turn it onto your work surface and begin kneading. It will take several minutes to produce a very firm, smooth and strong dough and the amount of water used will vary depending on the type of flour and size of egg used.
- Knead for 10-15 minutes, then cover to prevent a dry skin from forming. Let it rest for 30-45 minutes before rolling and cutting.
To make Nasturtium Ravioli, add 8-10 blooms (depending on how large the blooms are), finely chopped, to the basic pasta dough above. Add it to the beaten egg, before you begin working/kneading the dough. Continue as directed and add your favorite filling.
To make Nasturtium Filling for use in just the basic egg pasta, chop approximately 15 fresh nasturtium blooms and 5 leaves and mix with 1/2 cup drained ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.