Since getting a pasta machine for my birthday I’ve been in my element and wrist deep in dough.
Last night I made fettuccine with speck, onion, garlic, grape tomatoes, chilli and rocket. It is incredibly satisfying to eat a dish that has been made entirely from scratch including the fresh pasta.
Unfortunately I was too impatient to take photos before we sat down to eat but I can tell you about dessert… I licked the plate at the end – seriously! There are a few processes to this but it’s worth the effort. I made 12 ravioli (only served 6 between 2 people) and have dough left over to experiment with another dish.
2 1/2 cups plain 00 flour
1/3 cup pure, unsweetened cocoa powder (I used organic)
1/2 cup water
Cocoa and Hazelnut Butter
1 packet of roasted hazelnuts (approx 150g packet)
1 dessert spoon of pure, unsweetened cocoa powder (I used organic)
1 teaspoon of honey (I used a flat teaspoon for just a hint of sweetness)
Himalayan Pink Salt
2 heaped dessert spoons of mascarpone
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (not extract)
Heat the oven to 200°c and place the hazelnuts in a baking dish and roast in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the aroma starts permeating the kitchen and they are golden brown. If they still have the skins on, place the hot nuts straight into a clean tea towel and cover them. Start rubbing over the tea towel and the skins will peel off. Repeat this again when they cool to remove any stubborn pieces of skin that are remaining.
Put the cooled hazelnuts (keep approx 20 aside) into a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth nut butter. Add the cocoa powder and blend again. Add a pinch of salt and honey to taste. Blend again and taste. The remaining hazelnuts will be used later and I ate a few while I was cooking – who can resist the intoxicating scent of freshly roasted hazelnuts?!
To make the pasta, mix the flour and cocoa powder together on a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre of the flour, place the eggs in the middle and slowly mix in using your fingers. Start adding a little water to bring the dough together as you keep kneading to a smooth, firm consistency. I found that I had a lot of water left over so only add a very small amount as you go along. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Once it comes together, cover in cling wrap and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces and roll through the pasta machine from 0 to the thinnest setting to create a lasagne sheet. Keep adding flour if it becomes sticky. The first sheet was long enough to cut in half and create the bottom and top layer of the ravioli. Spoon teaspoons of the hazelnut butter along the pasta sheet as shown below and place a whole roasted hazelnut in the centre with the point down so it doesn’t pierce the pasta.
Place a sheet of pasta over the filling and seal using a handheld ravioli cutter. Dust with flour and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the ravioli.
Rinse the fruit, remove the cherry stalks and cut the tops off the strawberries. Leave everything whole. Put all the fruit into a small saucepan over low heat and warm through until the natural juices start to ooze out. Turn off and leave them in the heat until ready to serve.
Bring a pot of water to the boil with a heaped dessert spoon of sugar. Put the ravioli in and if they rise to the surface try pushing them under the water to make sure they cook evenly. Being my first attempt, I realised that I need to press the pasta around the filling to eliminate air pockets which make the pasta float – practice makes perfect! Bring a frypan to high heat (not smoking hot). Just as the pasta is cooked to al dente, melt a generous amount of butter in the frypan and using a slotted spoon transfer the ravioli. Fry them quickly on either side so some of the moisture evaporates and they become slightly crispy but not so long that the butter burns.
To serve, mix the mascarpone and vanilla together. Place the warm ravioli on a plate with some compote, drizzle the juices over the top and serve some vanilla mascarpone on the side (it will melt if you put it on top of the warm ravioli).
Now when you taste this you will understand why I licked the plate!