For me, one of the hardest things about moving across the world from Vancouver to Stockholm was leaving behind my very dear friends. Now, one of the best things about being a world away is making new ones, and I’ve been so blessed with meeting some truly wonderful people here. A bit of a circle of women has been created, a wonderful mish mash of ex pats I feel lucky to be a part of. There are some important things, I feel, my new friends should know about me. First, I don’t like having my head touched. Or my feet. And I’m not much of a hugger. Except for when I am. Second, you should never refuse an invite for dinner at my house. That’s just silly.
Fresh pasta is one of my favourite things to make. It’s so tasty, so impressive, and not all that complicated. I’ve got pasta rollers, and it isn’t uncommon for me to whip up a batch of fresh linguini, or make sheets of fresh pasta for a lasagna, or make some fussy (only in appearance) ravioli for a weekend dinner. Empowering people in the kitchen, showing someone what they can do, is one of my favourite things to do. Pasta + empowerment? Sounds like a recipe for a killer girl’s night if you ask me.
I’ve made this recipe two ways. First, I made my own pasta. I rolled out sheets of fresh dough, cut out little squares, and made delicious little raviolis. But, not everyone has pasta rollers. And not everyone who has pasta rollers always has the time or the desire to roll out sheets of pasta and cut out little squares. Also, particularly in Stockholm where kitchens can be amazingly teeny, not everyone has gadgets.
I did a little brainstorming and worked out a technique for this recipe that eliminated the need for any special kitchen equipment, I replaced the freshly rolled out sheets of pasta with readily available (even in Stockholm!) wonton wrappers, and then I invited over some mighty fine ladies. They did all the work. They chopped, minced, mashed, and folded. It was a ravioli party! Just like that! One of my favourite parts of the night was watching all the beautiful ladies snapping pictures of their handy work with their phones and bragging up their ravioli skills. It will be a tough night to top.
Green Pea Pesto Ravioli Recipe:
I’ve included instructions for making the filling two ways. The first, if you have a food processor – pulse pulse, whiz whiz, done. The second, if you do not. You’ll get a bit of an arm work out and the filling will turn out a bit more chunky (rustic!) but will taste every bit as amazing. If you have pasta rollers and are keen to roll out your own dough, I rolled mine quite thin, 7 out of 9. The wonton wrappers I bought for the second go around came in packs of 50, and when we made a double batch we went through just over 2 packages.
Makes about 5 dozen ravioli, depending how much you fill them.
500g frozen green peas
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 small red onion, (about 1/4 cup diced)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 package wonton wrappers OR about 50 squares of freshly rolled pasta
olive oil, Parmesan, and fresh cracked black pepper for serving
If you have a food processor, place peas, garlic, onion, bread crumbs, lemon juice and zest, Parmesan, basil, and walnuts in the food processor and pulse until you’ve formed a paste. With the processor running drizzle the olive oil in until everything is well combined.
If you don’t have a food processor, here is what I did. In a large bowl combine onion, garlic, bread crumbs, Parmesan, lemon juice and zest and walnuts and give everything a good bash with a wooden spoon or a pestle or the base of a glass. Add the peas, stir everything up and keep bashing. Stir, bash, stir, bash. Pour in the olive oil and stir and bash a bit more until everything is sort of mashed together a bit.
Now we’re ready to make ravioli. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper – this is where your ravioli is going. Get a little bowl of water and put it beside you. Take one square of pasta or one wonton wrapper, and set it so one of the points is towards you, like a diamond. Place a teaspoon of pea pesto on the lower half of the diamond. Dip a finger in the water and run it along the edges of the bottom half of the diamond, fold the top half over and gently press down to seal. Take the two points of the triangle and bring them together in the center, using a little water to seal them together. Place your complete ravioli on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you run out of filling or you run out of wrappers. Ensure the ravioli are in a single layer, or they’ll stick together.
To cook ravioli, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Salt generously, then toss in the ravioli. They’re fresh, so they only need about three minutes at the absolute most. Drain, toss with good olive oil, and serve hot with some fresh grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top. Let the filling be the star of the show!
Know what you’re eating: what’s good about this? Frozen peas are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and are a good source of protein , manganese, folate, vitamin B1, potassium, and phosphorous. The high fiber content in dried peas is thought to be helpful in lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels.(source) Walnuts are a rice source of monounsaturated fats (good for your heart) and a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts also have antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties which are protective against cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. Remember that like all nuts, walnuts are calorie dense, so we’re consuming them in moderation (this recipe makes a lot of ravioli!).(source)
Know what you’re eating: moderating: we all know that pasta made from white flour isn’t all that good for us – it’s a good source of immediate and store-able energy (stored as glycogen and fat) but not much else. With this filled pasta it becomes more about the filling than the noodle, so we’re moderating! The Parmesan cheese as well is full of salt and fat, but we don’t have very much of it in a lot of pasta, no big deal. And remember, some fat is essential in our diet for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, among other things.
Do ahead: Ravioli can be made and then frozen in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once frozen, take them off of the tray and pop into a freezer bag – they’ll last about 3 months in the freezer. To make simply boil until they float, then drain and serve as usual.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012