I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with you today. Last week, in eager anticipation, I took myself on my first woodland forage of the year! I’m happy to say, I returned with a basketful of edible, fragrant green leaves. Wild Garlic and Crab Ravioli was first on my list to make.
The arrival of March not only means less days until the Easter holidays but most importantly more daylight hours. This is the time of year I begin to forage. One of the most popular wild edibles, that can appear as early as January in the UK, depending on the weather conditions, is Wild Garlic or Ramsons. If you live in an urban area and are unable to forage, wild garlic is available to buy at Fine & Wild.
This leafy green is easy to identify when it blooms; it has broad leaves with pretty clusters of white star shaped flowers and it carpets the ground in a striking display. The unmistakable strong garlic aroma may well catch your attention first though. It thrives in woodlands, damp areas or near streams. You can eat it raw or blanch and bake it. Also, a popular way to preserve it is to dry it and powder the leaves or ferment them. The unopened flower buds, and the seed pods that develop later on in the season are good for pickling too.
NB Never eat anything unless you are 100% certain of its identification. Also please be aware of local laws and protected species.
For this recipe, the leaves must be blanched before blitzing in a food processor, with the eggs until the mixture is really smooth. I suggest using double zero flour, also known as doppio zero, it is the finest grind of all the flours and will yield soft and velvety ravioli. (It is also fabulous used in cakes and pastry). Then it’s a simple process of combining the egg mixture with the flour, kneading until you have a smooth elastic dough. I must stress, it is so important to rest the dough, this allows the gluten network to relax, much like pastry and bread.
Roll the pasta as thin as you can handle. Once the filling is place on the pasta sheet, take your time sealing the ravioli, making sure you don’t trap in any air pockets. If you do, just use a pin and make a small hole to release it, then seal. This does take a little practise, however once you have made a few, the process is much easier.
- Before rolling, the dough can easily be stored in the fridge, wrapped, for up to 5 days.
- If you are vegetarian you could try a different filling. ie. Ricotta and vegetarian Parmesan.
- Love to forage? Then you may well like to try this Wild Garlic & Nettle Tart recipe.
Wild Garlic and Crab Ravioli, Lemon Butter Sauce.
- 1 Pasta machine
- 1 Food processor
- 1 Pasta cutter
- 100 g wild garlic leaves stalks removed
- 4 large free range eggs
- 400 g ‘00’ flour
- 50 g fine semolina flour for dusting
- 360 g white & brown crab meat or 2 dressed crab
- 190 g ricotta cheese
- 1 large lemon
- 50 g Butter
- fresh herbs & edible flowers ie, lemon thyme, rosemary flowers, garlic or chive flowers
- Begin with washing the wild garlic leaves. Now place a pan of salted water on the stove and bring to a simmer, add the leaves, boil for 20-40 seconds, drain into colander and run under cold water. Squeeze out the excess water and then roughly chop. Crack 2 eggs into your food processor and add the chopped leaves. Blitz until you have a smooth puree. Pour into a medium boil, scraping the sides of the food processor with a spatular to get every last drop of the puree. Now crack the remaining eggs into the bowl and whisk lightly.
- Pour the flour onto your work surface, make a well with high sides. Pour the egg mixture into the centre and using a fork or your fingers to stir the egg mixture into the flour. Once you have a thickish slurry, bringing the rest of the flour together to form a dough. Knead for at least 5 minutes. You should end up with a smooth, elastic dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 5 days.
- Remove the crab meat from the shell and place in a medium bowl. Add the ricotta and the zest of a lemon. Season with a little salt and a good grind of pepper. Set to one side while you roll the pasta.
- Cut a small piece of the dough, (re-wrap the remainder). Dust the work surface with the semolina flour, lightly coat the dough and roll into a sausage shape.
- With the rollers of your pasta machine on the widest setting, pass the piece of dough through, then fold into three. Dust with a little more semolina flour if necessary.
- Give it a quarter turn and pass it through the machine again. Repeat this 4-5 times so the gluten in the pasta is thoroughly worked, lightly dusting with semolina flour, then pass through the machine to roll it out, progressively narrowing the rollers by one notch each time. Make it as thin as you feel you can handle. You are aiming for approximately 10 x 40cm. The more the pasta has been worked in the first place, the thinner you’ll be able to roll it. Do the same again with another piece of pasta. Place a teaspoon of the filling along the length of the pasta, leaving a 3cm gap between each one. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the sheet with a little water. Place the other sheet on top, carefully press together to seal, making sure you don’t trap any air bubbles in the parcels. Cut with a pasta or ravioli cutter. Scatter a tray with a little semolina flour and add the ravioli. (This helps the ravioli not to stick to the tray). Repeat until you have used all the dough. Any scraps must be wrapped immediately if you want to re-roll and make spaghetti or tagliatelle. Store the ravioli in the fridge until needed.
- Place a large shallow pan on the stove filled with salted water and bring to the boil. Add the ravioli and gently boil for 3-5 minutes, until al dente.
- Meanwhile melt the butter in a large frying pan, heat until it just begins to foam, add the juice of the lemon juice, let it simmer for 10-20 seconds. Now add the pasta and some of the water. Shake the pan to coat with the lemon butter. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh herbs and edible flowers.