Today’s Fava Bean Ricotta Ravioli is the second ravioli recipe to grace this blog. Remember this sundried tomato number? Well, after I made those, um, rustic ravioli I acquired a set of ravioli stamps because I’m a very shallow person…At least as far as ravioli is concerned. The sundried tomato ravioli was delicious and those little parcels deserved to look as delicious as they tasted. But, sadly, I can’t go back in time to write this wrong and, to be honest, I don’t think I’d waste a trip on a ravioli. So, instead, I’ve decided to move forward and make beautiful ravioli today and into the future. I’m moving up in the world or at least my ravioli is.
The grocery store near my house recently started stocking fresh fava beans. Sure, you can get the dried beans any old time, but fresh is an experience. They always show up around this time of year and then promptly disappear. Now that I know fava bean season is only two weeks long, this makes total sense. But last year I was ignorant and totally missed them. So, when I saw them a few weeks ago I pounced, panicked and bought five packages worth. It was fava overkill. The temporary insanity that convinced me I had to buy all the fava beans dissipated and left me with a problem. By the time I woke up, I found myself in my kitchen with five containers of fresh fava beans staring up at me and zero ideas. Well, not staring, they’re not potatoes. Ugh! Bad joke, I’m disappointed in myself.
Anyway, I was left without a plan for my fava bean haul. Thankfully, my brain, sensing the stress it was creating, decided to throw me a bone in the form of these Fava Bean Ricotta Ravioli. The second they strolled into my head, I was done for. I’ve only been eating fava beans for a few short years, so they still make my heart flutter in that fresh-romance-kind-of-way.
Yep, I said fresh romance. Don’t judge me! How familiar are you with fava beans? Sorry, that was defensive. And I imagine the answer to that question is largely culturally/geographically dependent. My white bread Canadian upbringing rendered me ignorant of all fava-bean-related things. Fava beans are as exotic to me as fiddleheads are to a large portion of my Instagram followers. But still, I’m not really sure how I avoided them for so long. You can get them canned, for pants’ sakes! I don’t know how I missed them.
It took me a preposterously long time to actually (knowingly) eat a fava bean. I’d never really encountered one until I met a dear friend of mine 3 years ago. My friend and his wife are super awesome and, more importantly, he and his wife are, like, the only people who invite me and bf over for dinner. I don’t know why more people don’t invite us over, I always bring wine. Anyway, my friend was born in the UK but his family is of Iranian descent. So, when we come over he often makes this saffron rice dish called baghali polo that just kills me. It’s laced with dill and, you guessed it, fava beans. This was the dish that formally introduced me to fava beans.
I am so obsessed with baghali polo that I refused to try making it myself because I’m convinced mine would never approach the deliciousness of the original. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make something else with fava beans. Like, and I’m just spitballing here, these Fava Bean Ricotta Ravioli for instance.
Fresh fava beans, when cooked properly, are quite creamy in texture. You often find them blended into dips or pureed to form falafel. I thought that fava beans might marry well with creamy ricotta cheese in a textural sense. And I was confident that ricotta was a mild enough cheese not to cancel out the delicate flavor of the bean altogether. With a puree settled on, it only made sense to stuff it into fresh pasta because when does fresh pasta not make sense?
As with any finicky hand-formed pasta exercise, these Fava Bean Ricotta Ravioli come with a disclaimer. This is not a quick recipe, nor a stress-free recipe. Don’t attempt these for company on the first go around. This recipe has chill Sunday kitchen project written all over it. So, grab a bottle of wine, you’re favorite kitchen hand/family member and start cranking out the ravioli! You might be drunk before dinner hits the table, but what’s the harm in that?
Fava Bean Ricotta Ravioli with White Wine Lemon Sauce
- 170 g 6oz semolina flour
- 170 g 6oz 00 or all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt divided
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 eggs divided
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups fresh fava beans pods removed
- 1 1/2 cup ricotta
- 3 cloves garlic minced, divided
- 1/4 cup fresh mint finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes divided
- Juice of 2 lemons divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 black radish thinly sliced
- Fresh mint leaves
- Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- Place flours and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and crack two of the eggs in the center. Add the yolks and water. Using clean hands begin to push the dry ingredients into the wet. Continue mixing until a dough begins to form. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a tight ball and wrap in plastic. Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, place a large pot of water over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil add the fava beans. Boil the beans from 30 seconds, then remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the beans out of the water and transfer them to an ice bath.
- Remove the outer skin from the beans and return them to the pot. Place the pot back on the heat and boil the beans until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Drain the beans and transfer 3/4 of them to a large food processor. Set the other 1/4 aside. Add the juice of 1 of the lemons, one of the cloves of garlic, the ricotta, the remaining egg, the remaining salt, half of the crushed red pepper flakes and the mint to the food processor. Blitz until smooth. Transfer the filling to the fridge until ready to use.
- Divide the pasta dough into 8 pieces. Roll the dough out into 8 thin sheets. I rolled my dough out to setting 4 on my KitchenAid Pasta Machine. Be sure the sheets are nearly the same width as the roller itself.
- Transfer the chilled filling to a pastry bag and pipe 4-5 dollops of filling 2-inches apart along the long edge of each sheet. You should use roughly 2 teaspoons of filling per ravioli. Fold the naked half of the pasta sheet over top of the filling and gently press all around the filling to form a light seal. Using a ravioli stamp, stamp out the ravioli and transfer them to a well-floured baking sheet.
- Place a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the remaining garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet. Add a sprinkling of salt and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and the remaining lemon juice. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Once the water comes to a boil. Liberally salt the water and add the ravioli. Boil the ravioli until tender, about 3 minutes. Spoon the ravioli into the simmering sauce along with the reserved fava beans. Stir in the heavy cream and a ladle-full of pasta water if the sauce is too thin. Toss to coat the ravioli.
- Divide the ravioli amongst four plates and garnish with thin slices of black radish, parmesan cheese and mint leaves.
- Serve immediately.