Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Wild garlic tortelloni with asparagus

The season for wild garlic is now upon us but do not delay because it is all too short. Finely chopped and combined with ricotta and parmesan, it makes a gorgeous filling for tortelloni but its pungency needs to be offset by spinach.

You can often find it by roadsides and alongside streams in the country. Drive with the windows down so that you can sniff it out. Last Sunday I found young wild garlic growing in clumps under the trees just down the lane from where I live. In another week or two, the white flowers begin to appear that signal late middle age and then decline, so do not delay in your search.

Makes enough for 4.

80g Ricotta

40g Parmesan finely grated

80g Wild garlic finely chopped

80g Spinach

Salt and pepper

Nutmeg to grate

8 spears Asparagus

60g Butter

300g Egg pasta ready made

1. Blanch the spinach for 1 minute in plenty of boiling water. Strain, drain thoroughly and chop finely. Place on a kitchen towel to absorb any remaining moisture.

2. Combine in a bowl the wild garlic, spinach, ricotta and parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Finally grate in half a teaspoon of nutmeg.

3. Take the ready made egg pasta and roll out into sheets about 8cms wide and 30cms long.

4. Use a 6cm pastry cutter to make 48 discs.

5. Place a teaspoon of filling on 24 of the discs and cover each one with another disc. Pinch the two discs firmly together. Don’t delay in doing this or you might find that the pasta has become too dry to fix together.

6. Put on a large pan of water to boil. When it boils turn down the heat to a brisk simmer and cook the tortelloni in four batches, draining each one thoroughly.

7. Now melt 40g of butter in a wide frying pan and slip in the tortelloni, sautéing them in the butter for a minute. If necessary, if the pan won’t hold the pasta in a single layer, do this in two batches.

8. Cut the asparagus into 3cm lengths, discarding the woody stems of the asparagus spears. Melt the remaining butter and fry the asparagus gently until it is cooked al dente.

9. Serve 5-6 tortelloni onto each plate and add the asparagus on top.

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