|Right Food for the Season - Early Summer|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
At this point, when I go to the farmers' market, I generally don't have any goals in mind other than to see what's available, pick up a few things, and meet some good people. Last weekend, however, I had a specific purpose...gimme those garlic scapes! I have been anticipating their arrival with bated breath ever since last spring when Kate and Jude from The Neighborhood Farm in Needham, Massachusetts sold me some of their scapes at the Roslindale Farmers' Market. They were a new ingredient for me last year, but after using them the first time, I was hooked. I could go on and on about garlic scapes, and last year I did...read here. Happily, as I arrived at the Roslindale Market once again, I was pleased to see that The Neighborhood Farm tent was up and that their offerings were robust. From about 20 feet away, I saw jars full of the coiled, green goodness I was in search of.
After touching base with Kate and Jude, Jude walked me over to give me the garlic scape rundown. On hand were three different varieties of scapes, and three of the SEVENTEEN varieties of garlic The Neighborhood Farm plans to offer this year! I picked up my scapes, some Russian Red garlic, and a beautiful head of green leaf lettuce. I also picked up some arugula from Two Field Farm (Weston, MA). I cruised around a bit more, but was ultimately happy with my loot and headed for home.
I wasn't certain what my plan was for these fresh ingredients, but I did know that it would involve getting those scapes sautéing in a pan so that I could have the benefit of their aroma in the kitchen. I happened to look up above my stove, where the cookbooks are, and just caught a glimpse of the spine of Michael Ruhlman's Ratio. I almost grabbed it for inspiration, but instead, I remembered what I would find embedded in the early pages of the essential volume. The ratio for pasta dough. While I am no where near remembering all of the ratios, the 1 1/2 cups of flour to 3 egg ratio is firmly in my mental culinary database. I quickly perused the pantry and refrigerator to help bring my brainstorm into focus. Fresh basil, ground Italian sausage, fresh asparagus, and, thankfully, eggs and flour were all on hand. Below is the end result...you'll see I had to run to the store for one more ingredient; ricotta cheese.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pour flour into a medium bowl and make a cup in the center. Add all three eggs to the cup, as well as the minced arugula and basil. With your fingers, stir the eggs, slowly working them into the flour. Shortly, the dough will start to come together and will be crumbly in texture. At this point, pour dough onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth consistency is achieved; about 5-10 minutes. Set aside. NOTE: This dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic scapes, and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes then add ground sausage. Cook mixture until the sausage is cooked through. Place in a bowl and set aside and allow to cool.
While the sausage mixture is cooling, flour a large surface and roll out the pasta until thin, about 1/16 inch. Using a cookie cutter, or, as I did a cup with a 2 to 3 inch diameter, press down to create pasta rounds. Continue until you can no longer make rounds, gather remaining pasta, and roll it out again. You will be able to make at least another 5 or 6 rounds from this second "batch."
On one round, add a 1/2 teaspoon each of ricotta cheese and the sausage mixture. Place another round on top and pinch edges together. Then, using a fork, crimp the edge all the way around. Your ravioli is now ready to cook.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. While the water is coming up to a boil, add two tablespoons of olive oil, the asparagus, and butter to the same pan that was used for the sausage. Bring up to a medium-high heat and sauté the asparagus, making sure to incorporate the remnants of the sausage. Cook until the asparagus is warmed through, but still crisp.
Add your pasta to the boiling water, and cook until it floats to the top. This will only take a matter of minutes as the pasta is fresh.
Remove pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and spoon sauce over it. Serve immediately.