This is a bit of a spontaneous post. I had something else all ready to go for you guys but then the good people at Local Plate connected me with this cauliflower, and I mean, look at it! If you haven’t been confronted with a Romanesco cauliflower it will impress you. It so firm and succulent-like that I strongly considered placing in a bowl of water on the kitchen table to gaze at it like a gardenia-ala Uncle Monty in Withnail and I. Those of you who have seen the film (One of my favorites of all time. Adam giggles whenever we watch it, by the way, because I know the whole damn thing line for line) know exactly what I speak of.
This recipe was going to be all about the cauliflower, and it was, until I didn’t screw up the ravioli. You see, I have a tormented and somewhat mercurial relationship with fresh pasta. We received a beautiful hand-crank pasta machine as a wedding present and I spent all summer screwing up pasta. So badly that I ignored the little beast for a few months. Eventually, I started watching YouTube videos on making pasta because I just couldn’t understand how I could mess up something so simple as fresh pasta. I mean really. Italian grandmothers were rolling in their graves and making the sign of the cross. FINALLY, and I can’t remember exactly who it was except he is the son of a famous Italian cook, the issue was revealed. The son-of-the-famous-Italian-cook said, “Pasta hates cold”. Not one book ever revealed that to me. Not a single fresh recipe said those words. You see, I keep my flour in the fridge because I don’t go through it fast enough to not worry about it going rancid. Pasta hates cold. So I chewed on that for about two months until this lovely little cauliflower was placed in my hands and I felt inspired to make ravioli. OK, Adam urged me to make ravioli from scratch. I was gonna buy it.
LONG story short, I didn’t eff up my pasta. I left the eggs and flours out on the counter over night and lo and behold it worked! I didn’t screw it up. No flour all over the kitchen, no tears, no tight fists of frustration, nada. I actually smiled while I rolled that pasta dough.
Pasta. Hates. Cold.
Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower & Homemade Whole Wheat Ravioli with Harissa Sauce
I do have a tiny confession to make: I mixed the pasta dough in my food processor.
Please don’t tell any Italian grandmothers, OK?
Harissa Sauce recipe adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
Pasta dough recipe from Food and Wine
For the Ravioli:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour, room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 egg yolks, room temperature
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoons olive oil
For the Ravioli Filling:
About 1/2 cup, more or less, ricotta
2 teaspoons olive oil
A generous shake of dried tarragon, or herb of your choice
Salt and pepper
For the Cauliflower:
One head cauliflower broken into small florets
Generous drizzle of olive oil
Large pinch of salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
For the Harissa Sauce:
One head Romanesco cauliflower, or regular cauliflower or broccoli
1 clove garlic, smashed in a mortar and pestle
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Juice from half a lemon
2 tablespoons Harissa, store bought or homemade
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pepitas
Sheep’s milk feta, crumbled, to taste
8 black oil cured olives
Heat your oven to 425 and toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet.
Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Pulse the flours and salt in your food processor.
Whisk the egg yolks, oil and water in a separate bowl.
With the processor running, pour the egg mixture into the flours and process until it forms into a ball.
You may need to add a hair more water to get it to a form into a ball. Add just a little at a time.
Place the dough on a work surface and knead until it’s smooth. Just a few seconds.
Cover in plastic and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 3-4 pieces. Cover the chunks you’re not working with with plastic so they don’t dry out.
Set your pasta machine to the widest setting.
Flatten your first chunk of dough just a bit and begin rolling it through your pasta machine until you reach the thinnest setting.
You may have to cut the sheet in half to make it easier to work with.
Continue the process with the rest of your dough.
Place the sheets of pasta on a cutting board and cover with a kitchen cloth until you’re ready to make the ravioli.
If you have a ravioli cutter then definitely use it, I used a star shaped cookie cutter and it worked fine.
Mix the ricotta ingredients in a small bowl.
Cut out your shapes and add a small dollop, about a teaspoon of the ricotta mixture.
Fold or layer your ricotta and press the edges firmly together. Some of the ricotta may creep out, but it’s not a big deal.
As you’re working, place the ravioli under a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and place the ravioli gently in the water.
Let cook for 1-2 minutes until the ravioli are floating.
Drain and place the ravioli in a a large mixing bowl and stir in the cauliflower.
Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle.
Add the salt and smash into a paste.
Add the lemon juice, harissa and olive oil and smash until combined.
Stir in about half the harissa sauce and pepitas into the ravioli cauliflower mix.
Spoon the ravioli mix onto a serving platter and drizzle with the rest of the harissa and pepitas.
Top with the crumbled feta and olives.