Wednesday, May 9, 2012


After reading about a dish made with lemon ravioli, I was anxious to make it myself so I perused the Web for some ideas.  That was much easier than perusing my 300-plus (and continuously growing) collection of cookbooks.

I found a recipe for Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli posted on several websites from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi's book, Plenty

Since I never had either lemon or goat cheese ravioli, it was a plan. His recipe calls for homemade pasta dough made with turmeric and lemon zest and the ravioli are stuffed with goat cheese mixed with red and black pepper. The ravioli topping is made with pink peppercorns, fresh tarragon and lemon zest.  The lemon part of his dish is in the dough itself and some lemon zest is included in the topping.  Interesting.  But I had something else in mind where the ravioli are filled with a fresh lemon mixture.  However, I did use this recipe as a guide to make my own version of a Lemon and (now a) Goat Cheese Ravioli where my ravioli are stuffed with both a lemon mixture and the goat cheese.  I also modified the peppercorn topping a little. The result was definitely not a typical Sunday sauce (or gravy) recipe that would be served atop ravioli or pasta or spaghetti--actually, spaghetti is pasta.  It was very good and is a great vegetarian (not vegan) dish. Here goes.

I have both a KitchenAid machine, including the pasta maker attachment, and the original old-fashioned Atlas pasta maker. And I really like the idea of making fresh pasta dough from scratch because the ingredients are limitless as far as one's imagination could go (e.g., turmeric in the dough).  However, I opted to purchase ready-made fresh wonton wrappers instead of making the ravioli dough from scratch.  Semi-homemade?  Not really. I was certain that making ravioli with fresh wonton wrappers was a guarantee that there wouldn't be the standard freezer burn taste that is typical of any, it not all, frozen store-bought (and at many restaurants) ravioli.  Actually, I've never seen lemon or goat cheese ravioli--or a combination of both--sold at any market, but it does sound like something a Whole Foods might carry.   

For the ravioli filling, I combined a fresh lemon segment mixture with the goat cheese.  First, I simmered the lemon segments in agar-agar powder, then added cayenne pepper, sugar and a touch of Kosher salt. The agar-agar powder (vegetarian gelatin) gives the lemon mixture a firm, custard-type consistency.  It tasted like and reminded me of the lemon pie filling in those store-bought pies sold during my childhood days.  I combined that mixture with the goat cheese.  For the topping, I used unsalted melted butter, pink, green, and white peppercorns, fresh tarragon, fresh parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. This recipe made 24 1-1/2-inch size "ravioli."

And, since I was so impressed reading about Chef Ottolenghi's book, I had to order it. 

The Ravioli
3 lemons
1/2 teaspoon agar-agar powder (or flakes)
pinch of cayenne pepper (or chili flakes)
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
9 ounces of soft goat cheese at room temperature
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
24 wonton wrappers
water for sealing the wonton wrappers
corn meal for dusting the tray for the wonton wrappers

The Topping
4 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 Tablespoon of a mixture of pink, white, and green peppercorns, crushed
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Zest all lemons and set the lemon zest aside. Remove skins and seeds and cut lemons into segments.  Place segments into a small saucepan and sprinkle with agar-agar.  Bring to a simmer. Season with cayenne pepper, or chili flakes, sugar and Kosher salt. Cool until mixture sets, then chop mixture in a food processor.  Add the lemon mixture and lemon zest to the goat cheese and incorporate well, using your hands to mix.

Line a tray with waxed paper and dust with the corn meal.  Keep the wonton wrappers under a damp cloth to avoid drying out as you're making the ravioli.

Fill each wonton wrap center with about 1 teaspoon of the lemon and goat cheese mixture. Brush ends of the wonton wrap with water, fold wrap in a triangle and press to seal. Bring pointed ends of the corners together and overlap the third corner forming into a square-ish 1 1/2-inch "ravioli". Place ravioli on the tray that has been dusted with the corn meal.  Keep a damp cloth on top of the ravioli on the finished tray as you make and add each one. When finished, cover the tray with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.  The ravioli could keep for a day in the fridge. Do not freeze.

To make the topping, melt butter and add remaining ingredients and stir. Keep mixture warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add ravioli.  Boil for about 2-3 minutes until ravioli float to the top.  Drain.  Portion ravioli into serving dishes and add topping.  Serves 4.

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