Fresh, seasonal asparagus makes delicious ravioli.<br><i>Emma Alter</i> Photo
Fresh, seasonal asparagus makes delicious ravioli.
Emma Alter

Difficulty Level Easy

I'm glad I bought two bunches of asparagus last week at the farmer's market, because this week there was none to be had. I went a bit overboard during the week making asparagus pretty much every night for dinner. It was tender and delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm hoping that by next week there will be plenty of the vegetable on offer. I was casting about for interesting recipes to make in order to keep complaints about the recurrence of asparagus on the menu to a minimum and I came up with this ravioli that was a big hit.

The recipe actually calls for homemade ravioli, but I don't have a pasta maker and it seemed like too much work for a mid-week dinner to roll it out by hand. I used won ton wrappers which makes it really easy and is a huge time saver. The recipe also suggests that you cook the ravioli in water and then pour the stock over it to serve, but I just cook my ravioli in the broth and save a step and an extra pot to wash. I never throw my Parmesan cheese rinds away, I just put them in a bag in the freezer and then drop one in the stock pot when I need it. It really adds a depth of flavour to your soup. Just remember to fish it out before you serve your soup. I used the mascarpone cheese, but it was extremely expensive and I think ricotta would be an acceptable substitute.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
5 cups rich chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano (3-inch)
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

PREPARATION:

  1. Cut off asparagus tips, then halve each tip lengthwise and reserve.
  2. Bring stock, cheese rind, and bay leaf to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then add asparagus stems and cook, uncovered, until stems are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer stems to plate and cool slightly. Reserve broth.
  3. Purée asparagus stems in a food processor with grated parmesan, mascarpone, bread crumbs, zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  4. Place two won ton wrappers on work surface. Place a generous teaspoon of filling into the centre of one of the wrappers. Wet the tip of your finger and run it around the edge of the wrapper and then place the second wrapper on top. Gently press down and seal the edges, taking care to push out any air. If you leave air pockets in the ravioli they will open during cooking.
  5. Bring broth to a simmer and add just enough ravioli that they are not touching and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Lift cooked ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well over pot, then transfer to bowls. Repeat with remaining ravioli and then add asparagus tips and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season broth with salt, then divide broth and asparagus tips among soup bowls with the ravioli, discarding cheese rind and bay leaf.
  6. Filling and broth, without asparagus tips, can be made 1 day ahead. Chill separately, uncovered, until cool, then covered.
This recipe appears in: Vegetarian

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