Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Mario Batali's Mint Love Letters (Ravioli)

Mario Batali's Babbo is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in New York.  Once when I was there about five years ago, we were seated a table away from U2 Frontman Bono and his entourage, which was pretty cool.  The food there is amazing.  One of my favorite dishes on the menu is a dish called mint love letters, which is a triangular shaped ravioli filled with a cheese, mint and sweet pea filling, served with a lamb ragu pasta sauce.  I've been wanting to make a regular ravioli version of this dish for awhile, since I make my own ravioli at home (such a rewarding process!).  I made the mint love letters square shaped, rather than triangular because it was easier to use my ravioli press.  This turned out to be one of my husband's favorite dinners and it's been requested again for next week since we already ate the two dozen raviolis I made in the original batch (yay for leftovers).  Making your own ravioli at home is fun and rewarding, although it does require a little bit of work.  This was one of my best ones yet.  Sorry the only pictures I have are of the final product and none of the lovely filling.

These were made last weekend, not last night, as yesterday my husband and I went out to a fondue restaurant in the East Village (The Bourgeois Pig) for my birthday!

Mario Batali's Mint Love Letter Ravioli (adapted from this recipe)
kosher salt
1 cup shelled sweet peas (I used frozen ones)
2 cups mint leaves
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
fresh pepper

Ravioli dough (my perfected formula)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
5 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

1 spanish onion, diced
2 28 oz cans peeled whole tomatoes, or tomato puree
1/2 of a peeled carrot
1 lb spicy lamb sausage

First, prepare the ravioli dough.  Beat the eggs, and then add the flour and salt all at once and beat into a dough.  You may have to bring the dough together with your hands to form four balls.  Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and allow to rest for half an hour either in your refrigerator or at room temperature.

Prepare the filling by first bringing three quarts of water to boil and adding a teaspoon salt.  Submerge the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes until tender yet still bright green.  Remove using a slotted spoon or hand strainer, saving the boiling water.  Set the peas aside and blanch the mint in the hot water for 30 seconds, before removing. Once removed transfer the peas and mint to an ice bath.  Drain well.  Then puree the peas and mint in your blender (we just got a new one after ours broke, sadly).  Add the parmesan cheese and heavy cream and pulse to form a paste.

Roll out the pasta dough to the desired thickness using your pasta machine.  You can make squqare shapes using a ravioli press like I did, or you can cut out squares in a knife and fold into triangular dumplings, like the mint love letters recipe suggests. Allow to dry on a drying rack, and then freeze.

Prepare a basic pasta sauce, like mine above, or like Mario Baltali's basic pasta sauce, and bring to a simmer.  Cook the lamb sausage in small pieces using canola oil, and add to the sauce.  Serve the mint love letters with the lamb sausage pasta sauce.


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