A letter from America…..

My sister Nessa, who lives in Rhode Island, USA has agreed to ‘guest post’ from time to time (I’m hoping once every week?!) here! She really is an amazing cook – and often cooks things I would flick past in a magazine or book and would then miss ~like todays post. I would never think of making ravioli but when I see it, I want it! I just wish we all lived closer to enjoy her Feasts more often.
from Nessa:

Fresh Pea and Goats Cheese Ravioli with Pancetta butter.

So every now and again I get an urge to make ravioli. It’s funny, it’s never something I really order when I go out to eat. Most ravioli here is filled mainly with cheese…normally that disgusting tasteless waste of a cheese Ricotta. I love my ravioli to be plump with whatever veggie is fresh and in season. In the fall my favourite to make is sweet potatoe or butternut squash but in the summer I always make pea and goats cheese or tomato, arugula and goats cheese. (I LOVE GOATS CHEESE). The process is actually really easy for me since I don’t have to make my own fresh pasta. There is this lovely shop here in Providence, Venda Ravioli,  that sells all things Italian. For less than $3 I can buy six sheets of fresh lasagne. All I need to do is cut it to size and fill it. I have made my own pasta in the past…but it’s just so fresh and good (and easy) at Venda!
The filling
Fresh peas, or 1 bag of frozen peas(they come in 14oz bags over here) cooked.
1 goats cheese log(3-4oz)
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
Sauté the shallot and garlic in some butter for a few minutes. Add the cooked peas and sauté for a few minutes longer.  Put the pea mixture in a blender with the goats cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Blend till lovely and smooth.

The ravioli

Cut up your pasta. Brush the edges lightly with an egg wash. Spoon on some filling…probably about 3/4 of a tea spoon.  I like to make a few first and seal them up fully to figure out how the filling fits(if that makes sense?). After that it’s really just an assembly line. Cut your pasta. Drop on the filling. Seal them up. I once had the lunatic notion of bonding with my children(very American notion) and having them help.  They are boys. Their last name is Murphy. I should have listened to my gut. Make sure you get all the air out as you seal them…if you don’t you will have a mess on your hands. The air expands when heated and causes them to explode! I press and fork the edges just to be sure. At this stage they are ready to go. Cook straight away, lay out flat on a baking sheet to keep in the fridge or freeze. Once frozen you can put them all in one bag. When ready to cook, boil a big pot of salted water. Turn the heat down as you drop them in and then bring them back up to a boil. This just helps prevent them from bursting. They should be cooked in about 5 mins, maybe less.
The pancetta butter(don’t think about calories at this stage…the delicious ravioli are made and ready to be eaten!)
5 or 6 slices go pancetta cut up into small pieces, cooked and drained.

6 oz of butter (it will decrease by about half once you clarify it)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over LOW heat. You do not want to brown the milk solids in the butter as you melt it…that will make you browned butter which would be perfect with your butternut squash ravioli but not these ones. Once melted let sit for about 5 minutes off the heat. You will see a creamy froth gathering on the top. When ready scoop it off and discard. Add your pancetta to the butter(thank god you drained that pancetta in paper towels to get of its extra fat?!?) and gently heat to infuse the butter with the delicious healthy pancetta flavours.
To finish.

Gently toss the ravioli in the butter and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Serve with a lovely salad and some crispy bread.(To soak up the butter of course)
My favourite salad  …I omit the olives. Otherwise it’s heaven!


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