My ravioli fell apart. And when my ravioli fell apart, little bits of herbed Laura Chenel goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone slipped out, clouding the salted water I was boiling them in and coating the inner-edges of the pot with tufts of cheese that looked like dirty snow.I’m going to blame it on the wonton wrappers, but in all likelihood it was just me. I’d never made ravioli by hand before I taking on the Goat Cheese Ravioli with Bell Peppers and Brown Butter recipe from Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Restaurant Bonne Soirée, featured in the September 2007 issue of Bon Appétit.
Bell peppers:2 small red bell peppers2 small yellow bell peppers1 small green bell pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil1/2 cup chopped onion1/2 cup diced seeded tomatoes2 teaspoons red wine vinegarThis part of the recipe was really easy. I broiled the peppers until theirs skins were charred and blistering, then threw them into a gallon size Ziploc to sweat for about a half an hour while I prepared the raviolis.
Ravioli:Cornmeal for sprinkling8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for sprinkling1/4 cup mascarpone cheese2 tablespoons chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as basil, chives, mint, and tarragon)18 wonton wrappers4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butterToasted pine nutsThinly sliced pitted Niçoise olivesChopped fresh chivesDirections: In a large bowl I mixed the fresh cheeses with fresh chopped basil, mint, tarragon and parsley from patio garden, then laid out the wonton wrappers on a cutting board sprinkled with cornmeal. I scooped small spoonfuls of cheese into the center of the wonton wrapper, painting its edges with water and pinching the four corners together in a pyramid shape.
The raviolis before I seal them up…
Little packages of goat cheesy love!
With the ravioli ready to cook it was back to the peppers. The skins easily peeled off the now pliable peppers, which I flattened and chopped into two inch pieces. I also chopped the onion and canned San Marzano tomatoes, put a large pot of salted water on to boil and started heating olive oil in a sauté pan for the peppers. While the onions and tomatoes were softening, I toasted a handful of pine nuts in a small sauté, put them aside and began melting the butter. I added the peppers to the onion/tomato pan, stirring then finishing with vinegar, salt and pepper. Perfect. I plated the vegetables and turned my attention to the ravioli.
Dropping the raviolis into the pot…
And that’s when it all started to go awry. I threw the ravioli into the water and watched, frustrated, as a few of my gently sealed packages broke apart. Using a slotted spoon I coaxed the surviving ravioli into the brown butter. Another ravioli exploded and bits of cheese hit the hot pan, melting and forming brown crusts in the butter. I turned off the heat and spooned the ravioli over the peppers, drizzling them with butter and finishing the dish with a quick grate of parmigiano and pine nuts. I skipped the olives and chives, though in retrospect I would have included the olives, as their brininess would have been a nice counterpoint to this sweet and tangy dish.
Goat Cheese Ravioli with Red Peppers
Results: Despite my flimsy pseudo-pasta, the dish was delightful. The aromatic herbs and smooth texture and piquancy of the goat cheese, combined with the creaminess of the mascarpone and saltiness of the Parmigiano-Reggiano made a sublime filling. The peppers, tomato, onion combination was deliciously sweet and sour, cutting through the cheese and the little pine nuts added nuttiness and depth to the dish’s otherwise soft texture. I definitely recommend the dish though I would suggest making pasta sheets, or if you can find fresh lasagna at your local market, cut that up into small squares and use it instead of the wonton wrappers. In the end, they were a bit gummy and, as I mentioned, a bit flimsy. Oh yeah, and really, really, really seal your ravioli’s edges.Wine: I’d recommend pairing this with a refreshing, mineraly white like one of my new favorites: Château d’Epiré Savennières Sec from the Loire. At about $15 a bottle this chenin blanc has delightful apricot and plum fruit on the nose, racy acidity and a fresh, slate-like finish.