Lemony fennel ravioli x anchovy & caper butter

Until a few years ago, I didn’t really like anchovies or capers but it took a boyfriend, some open-mindedness, good quality produce and bread and now I’m like:

anchovies till I die

serves 4 (royally 👸🏻 👸🏿 👸🏾 👸🏼 with extra servings for real queens 🙌)

Pasta:

  • 250g semola
  • 250g flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks (keep the egg whites in the frigde to close up the ravioli later)
  • salt & olive oil

Filling:

  • 3 fennel bulbs
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1,5t fennel seeds
  • 1 small red dried pepper
  • 6T ricotta (homemade lemon ricotta is EA-SAYY)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 90g grated parmesan
  • butter & olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Butter sauce:

  • 100g butter (Homemade! YAS!)
  • 4T olive oil
  • (at least) 10 large anchovies (the brown/pinkish kind, preferably juicy ones in oil)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • (at least) 5T small capers on vinegar, coarsely chopped (I eat these by the spoon so go for your own taste)
  • 4T lemon juice
  • pepper

extra olive oil and parmesan to serve

Pasta: In a very large bowl, mix semola and flour very well to a homogenous mass. Add a pinch of salt and make a large well in the middle (you can do this directly on your working surface too). Add eggs and a good lug of olive oil and whisk with a fork until the eggs are very liquid and well combined. Whisk further, adding flour as you go until that fork’s no good no mo’. Get in there with your hands, kneading until you get a very smooth ball of dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge until use.

Filling: Remove the fennel bulbs’ tough outer leaves. Cut in half, remove their cores and keep the green fennel tops in a small bowl of cold water. Dice celery, fennel and onion to a large brunoise. Grind fennel seeds and dried pepper with pestle and mortar to a powder and chop up three cloves of garlic. In a wide pan heat a good splash of olive oil with a chunk of butter and sauté everything (onion, garlic, celery, fennel, ground fennel seeds and pepper and some salt and freshly ground black peper) on low heat for 20 minutes until very soft and sweet. Stir regularly to make sure it doesn’t color. Off the heat stir in ricotta, parmesan and lemon zest. Depending on how dry your ricotta is, your mixture will be more or less gooey. You can add 1T of olive oil or an egg yolk to get your mass to stick better. Taste for salt, lemon and pepper. Transfer to a bowl (or piping bag) and allow to cool.

 

Ravioli: Whisk egg whites just enough to loosen them up. Get your pasta machine in place, divide pasta dough in four portions and keep the part you’re not working on wrapped in cling film. Start by turning a pasta sheet on stand 1, then 3, cut that sheet in half and turn it through stands 5 and 7. Make sure to flour your dough as you go.

Flour your work surface and place a sheet of pasta on top. Distribute small heaps of about 1,5t of your filling in two rows but leave enough space in between to close the ravioli (you should be able to fit about eight). Brush egg whites around the filling and carefully drape your other sheet of pasta over the filling, pressing down between the rows. Carefully press down the pasta dough around the filling and further cut and shape your ravioli. Don’t throw away the trimmings, they’ll make for and extra batch of fresh spaghetti later on.

Butter: Mince anchovies and capers coarsely and crush garlic. In a wide sauteuse heat butter with olive oil until it starts to foam. Add anchovies, capers, lemon juice and crushed garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon until the anchovies have dissolved (this happens quickly) and your butter has browned a little (be careful not to burn the garlic).

Serve: Cook ravioli in a large pot of salted water in batches. When cooked al dente (takes about 3 minutes), transfer them to your butter sauce with a skimmer or slotted spoon. Don’t worry if you transfer some pasta water into your sauce; mix it in there for some extra shine and emulsification. Carefully toss the ravioli so they don’t stick and keep them warm in the butter. Serve ravioli tossed with the butter sauce, sprinkle with pepper and freshly grated parmesan, add some fennel tops and a drizzle of good quality olive oil (MOAR. GREASE.). Depending on how many anchovies you used or how salty you like your dish: sprinkle with extra salt. Got leftovers? Make the (anchovies/cspers/garlic/lemon juice) butter again and heat them in that pan.

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