Spring is coming and a shy sun is poking out of the clouds. Reinvigorated by the sunny weather we decided to go out for a walk along the Thames. Michele is a bit obsessed with foraging wild food and when he goes out for a walk he usually brings with him a pocket guide called “Food for free”. This book lists the most common edible plants you can find in the wild (in England) with pictures, descriptions and a some recipes.
To be honest March does not offer much, because spring has not yet arrived and most berries and mushrooms won’t grow until the summer but it is the perfect month for nettle and some other species of wild grass. In facts, nettle has just started to sprout and the young and tender leaves are perfect for soups, risotto or, as in this case, for a ravioli filling.
Today on top of nettles we also collected goosegrass and some dandelion leaves so we decided to make hand made ravioli with a filling of nettles and wild grass and a sheep milk ricotta bought at the Sunday organic market.
WILD GRASS AND SHEEP RICOTTA RAVIOLI WITH MELTED BUTTER AND SAGE
Ingredients for the pasta (for four):
300 g 00 flour
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the filling:
200 g sheep ricotta
200 g wild grass (nettle, groosegrass and dandelion)
3 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Ingredients for the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
15 sage leaves
Sift the flour on a working surface and make a hole in the middle (i.e. the fountain). Place the eggs and the oil in the hole and gradually incorporate the flour with the eggs. Knead the dough with your hands for 20 minutes, until you have obtained a homogeneous and firm dough, if it is too wet add some flour. Leave to rest for at least half an hour.
In the meantime prepare the filling. Carefully wash the grass and then boil it for 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze it with your hands to remove the water. In a bowl beat the eggs, the grated parmesan and nutmeg using a fork. Then add the ricotta and the boiled wild grass and mix together until you have obtained a homogeneous mixture.
Take the dough and roll it until you have obtained a thickness of 1 or 2 mm. On half of the dough place small balls of the filling (one teaspoon each) 1 or 2 cm far from the edge and from each other. Then cover these little balls with the other half of the dough and press the edges and the space between each ball in order to carefully close the edges of each ravioli. Cut the ravioli using a pastry wheel.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add a tablespoon of salt and cook the ravioli for one minute after they rise to the surface. In a small pan melt the butter with the sage leaves and cook utile the leaves are crispy. Serve the ravioli on a plate and season with the butter and sage sauce.