I remember the day Wednesday June 2, 2010 like it was yesterday. Ok, that might be stretching the truth, but I do remember the day the video of Yotam Ottolenghi making this ravioli was posted on the The Guardian site. I just looked it up, and that day was June 2, 2010. I remember watching that video and thinking that I couldn't wait to make this. It was a few months later when I acquired a copy of the book Plenty, where the recipe also appears, and then I couldn't wait to make everything else in the book too. In the video, Ottolenghi calls the ravioli "little sunshines on the plate." And, they are. The lemony pasta with zest mixed into the dough, the fresh and tangy goat cheese filling, and the pop of pink and mildly spicy flavor from the peppercorns make the ravioli bright and springy. As I always say, making fresh pasta is one of my favorite kitchen tasks, and this time was no different.
Since making pasta is one of my favorite things, of course, I have my preferred way of doing it. I never used a food processor, and I never make a well out of a pile of flour on a work surface. I put the flour in a bowl, make a hole in the center, add the eggs, and mix with a fork. That way, I don't have egg running all over my counter, but I can feel the dough and decide if it needs more flour or not. For this pasta, the dry ingredients included flour, a little turmeric for added yellow in the dough, and lemon zest. Three whole eggs were added with three tablespoons of olive oil. The dough came together nicely, and it was divided into four pieces, each piece was flattened into a disk, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the filling was made by mixing together soft goat cheese, some sea salt, crushed red chile flakes, and black pepper. After the pasta dough had rested, one piece at a time was passed through a pasta machine several times while setting the rollers closer together after each pass. To streamline the process of filling and cutting the ravioli, I left half of each long piece of pasta dough intact. That half was brushed with egg wash and topped with dollops of goat cheese filling. The other half of each sheet was cut into circles about three inches wide. The circles were set over each dollop of filling, and then the cutter was used to separate each piece. Once cut, the edges of each were pinched to seal. You can cook the ravioli right away or cover and refrigerate them overnight. After boiling for a brief couple of minutes and draining, the ravioli were topped with crushed pink peppercorns, chopped parsley rather than tarragon in my case, more lemon zest and lemon juice, and some olive oil.
Each part of this dish is simple but just right. Pasta is plain by nature, but here it gets a boost from lemon zest. The filling was just a few ingredients added to goat cheese, and the toppings couldn't have been easier to add to each plate. But, all those simple parts resulted in something as fabulous as I knew it would be when I first saw the video.