Monday, August 22, 2005


Ravioli with Potato, Watercress and Cheese

Hi ev'body! Here is my very own entry for The (First) Really Big Cookoff. As noted (many times) earlier, the recipe was for the Jamie Oliver treat Ravioli with Potato, Watercress and Cheese. I went a little mad with the camera, so there are lots of pictures to share along with my thoughts. Hee hee.

Along with a few of the other people who took part in this fun little experiment, I started with wonton wrappers, not being in the mood to make fresh pasta. (I never even considered it actually. I have made it plenty in the past and was never impressed. It comes out too, well, actually, too slimy for my taste.) For the optional cheeses I chose to use two very distinct flavors, a Spanish sheeps milk Manchego (I use that a lot. I love it) and a crazy-pungent Amish Blue, (cows milk) cheese both of which I bought at Whole Foods. I was pretty excited about the blue cheese, since after tasting about six differents ones (at an the un-palatable hour of 9 am. No matter how much I love blue cheese, it still doesnt qualify as breakfast food) and this one had a great flavor and it was reasonably priced.

Like Sylvie, I too wanted the potatoes to have a bit of flair, so I went with the buttery yellow Yukon Golds (At first I wanted the pink-ish Rose Finns but I couldn't find them anywhere. Sigh). After that I pretty much followed the recipe as it was written. Filling in all noted gaps. Here it is in case you wanted to see it again. As I mentioned earlier, this was re-printed without any permission what-so-ever.

Serves 4-6

6 sheets fresh pasta (cut out into 36 circles or squares, or use 36 wonton wrappers)
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
4 or 5 good handfuls watercress, large stalks removed, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup butter
10 - 12 oz. cheese, extra for garnish
Grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash and peel the potatoes, put them into well-salted, boiling water with the garlic and cook until the potatoes are just tender (it is very important not to under- or overcook them). Drain them and let them sit for about 5 minutes to enable the excess water to evaporate (if you overcook them or don't drain them correctly they'll be too moist and your filling will be too wet).

When the potatoes have cooled slightly add your butter and your chosen cheeses. Stir and mash with a fork to mix and break the potatoes up (I like to leave the mixture slightly chunky). Add the nutmeg and seasoning to taste. Stir in the watercress, half finely chopped and the rest coarsely chopped.

Place a good heaped teaspoon of this mixture onto the lower half of each of the pasta squares (or circles). To seal, wet the inside edge with a little water or egg wash, fold over and presssing down to seal completely.

Cook in boiling salted water, stirring constantly, for about 3-4 minutes, until tender. The ravioli will float when done.

And then, I ate. I loved how the strong taste of the cheese and watercress came through. I could not detect the garlic at all (I think next time, I will saute the garlic first. Bring out the flavor, and then use it as a garnish) and was pleasantly suprised at how the flavor of the potato came through too. It was nice. I had worried it would be too pasty, but it stayed light. The suggestion to leave some chunky was also a good thing, adding variation to the texture. Like a lot of other participants I also had a lot of extra filling, but that may have been my fault for under filling the pasta. Since it was in essence, blue cheese mashed potatoes, it was a great treat the next day. Mmm.

So overall, I was thrilled with the results. This isn't something I would have thought up on my own, but I am ecstatic I tried it. Next time, I think I will serve it with a watercress pesto, jazz it up a bit.

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