This recipe is more a guide to spring produce rather than something you need to follow exactly. Spring is all about crisp, green vegetables like peas and asparagus and pungent fresh herbs – basil, chives, mint and dill can all be thrown in by the handful. If I had a green thumb, I would plant herbs in my garden because I use them abundantly in everything I cook this time of year, but my skills with food do not extend to actually growing it.
Agnolotti is like a ravioli, a small pillow of pasta filled with seasonal ingredients and ricotta cheese. I use my Basic Egg Pasta recipe to make the agnolotti, making the pasta from scratch is easier than you think, so carve out an afternoon and try it out. It is one of my favorite ways to spend a languid day with friends. If you would never attempt to make a fresh pasta at home, this would taste almost as delicious with a store-bought fresh pasta and a dollop of ricotta cheese on top.
For this recipe, pick your favorite herbs and stir them in with the ricotta, and then garnish the agnolotti with beautiful whole leaves and stems of the same herbs. I like to quickly cook the fresh vegetables in the butter sauce, until they are bright green and still have that yummy crunch for a contrasting texture. The creaminess from the ricotta balances the punch from the herbs and the zing from the lemon zest.
Pro tip: Always reserve one cup of starchy pasta water for your sauce.
all units: U.S. Imperial
- 12 oz Ricotta Cheese (I love Bellweather Farms)
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- 3 finger-fulls of dill
- 1 cup sweet peas or sugar snap peas
- 8 asparagus spears, cut on bias
- 2 lemon zested
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 batch Basic Egg Pasta dough
- Fine & flaky sea salt to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 1 egg (to help seal the pasta together)
- Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
Make the pasta dough and give it at least one hour to rest. Separate half the herbs for garnishing the agnolotti. Then remove the stems and finely chop the herbs and place in a medium sized bowl. Zest one lemon into the same bowl. Pour out any excess water from the ricotta cheese and mix in the ricotta. Add a pinch of flaky sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Roll the pasta dough into long sheets and place a dollop of the filling every 2 inches. Fold half the dough over, and lightly press around the filling to remove excess air. Using a brush lightly paint the egg around the filling, and fold the other half of the dough over. Then cut the pasta into rectangles, leaving a thin border of pasta dough around the filling. Lightly press the edges of the dough to ensure the agnolotti is sealed.
Heat about 3 inches of water in a large pot, adding 1 tbsp sea salt to the water. In a separate skillet, I use this Staub skillet, melt the stick of butter. Once boiling, cooking the agnolotti for 60-90 seconds depending on how thin the dough is.
Once the butter is melted, adding a 1/4 c at a time pour "starchy" pasta water into the pan with butter, this will help to create a sauce from the butter. Then squeeze 1/2 a lemon into the mixture and add a pinch of flaky sea salt. Let the butter sizzle and be careful not to brown. If you need more water, add it, and continue to cook down. The texture of the sauce should be silky and coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Toss the sweet peas and asparagus in and then add the pasta, and another pinch of salt.
Plate the pasta in low-bowls, garnishing with whole leaves of fresh herbs, lemon zest, fresh peas, cracked pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve the pasta immediately.