FOOD: Simple asparagus and spinach ravioli with creamy garlic sauce

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Dumpling wrappers are used as stand-ins for freshly-made pasta in this week’s delicious recipe below.  When you stock up on your Asian staples, make sure dumpling wrappers are on your list. I always have packs either in the fridge, where they usually last about a week, or have some in the freezer for emergency cravings! Don’t be constrained by the wrappers’ intended use, these are perfect for making all sorts of pastas, including ravioli and tortellini. I’ve stuffed these with a tasty mix of in-season asparagus, spinach, parmesan and ricotta, smothered in a garlicky cream sauce. The result’s a divine meal for either lunch or dinner, and something my kids also loved. Enjoy this taste of spring!

PREP TIME:  25 MINS

COOK TIME:  15 MINS

MAKES:  ABOUT 40-50

INGREDIENTS

RAVIOLI
50 dumpling wrappers (I got mine from U-Plus at The Landing)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 x 120g bags of baby spinach, roughly chopped
250g fresh asparagus
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
3 asparagus spears, shaved into ribbons with a peeler

SAUCE
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
3 tablespoons chopped chives to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

1. Remove woody stems from the asparagus. Thinly slice them into approx 0.75cm-wide slices.

2. Take a large pan and heat olive oil to a medium heat. Add in the shallots
and cook for 2 mins, until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for a further
1-2 mins.

3. Add in the chopped asparagus and cook for a further 2 mins, then tip in
the spinach. Combine and cook until all the spinach is completely wilted.

4. Tip into a bowl and add in the spring onion, ricotta, parmesan, chilli (if using), garlic salt, salt and pepper and thoroughly combine. Taste and add a little more salt if needed.

5. To fold the dumplings, take one teaspoon of filling mix and place in the middle of one of the wrappers. Dampen the edges of the wrapper with water, using your fingertips.

6. For the simplest of techniques, fold one side of the wrapper over to the other, ensuring to get all the air out of the dumpling when you push to seal it. If you leave too much air in it, they’ll burst if you boil them. Either leave the dumpling as a half-moon shape, or bring the two bottom corners together and press them together just at the overlap.

7. Once the dumplings are all folded, cover with a slightly damp tea towel and start on your sauce. Simply melt your butter in a pot on a medium heat and add in the diced garlic. Cook for 2-3mins until softened, not browned. Next pour in the wine and let it evaporate by about two-thirds.

8. Pour in the cream, parmesan and chicken stock and stir until all the cheese is melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

9. Next, bring a large pot of water to the boil, place the shaved asparagus onto a slotted spoon and gently lower into the water for about 20 seconds. Remove and set aside.

10. Add in half the dumplings, gently stir as soon as they’re in the water so they don’t stick together, and boil for about 4 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon and add in the next lot. Repeat.

11. Next, divide the ravioli among 5-6 bowls, divide the shaved asparagus evenly across the bowls and place gently on top. Then pour over the sauce and garnish with the chives (I also used some of the chive flowers which add pretty colours and taste great). Serve immediately.