Leek-Parmigiano Ravioli with Brown Butter

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Photo by Michael Piazza

Sweet, long-cooked leeks and two different cheeses combine with a hint of thyme for a bright, springtime ravioli. Sautéing the cooked ravioli in browned butter crisps the pasta edges ever so slightly and gives them a warm, caramelized flavor. The filling can also double as a sauce for long pasta cuts—just add cooked noodles to the pan of leeks along with a ladle of the seasoned cooking water and simmer 1 minute before adding the two cheeses, which can be folded into the sauced pasta off the heat.

Makes about 40 ravioli, serving 6–8

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, well washed and dried, sliced into half moons
1 clove garlic, grated
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 recipe fresh pasta dough, rolled and portioned into sheets for ravioli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a skillet large enough to hold all the leeks, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the leeks, garlic, thyme and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper to taste; and sauté until the leeks have softened and are beginning to brown at the edges, about 5–8 minutes. Remove from the heat and scrape into a bowl; allow to cool before proceeding.

Stir the two cheeses into the leek mixture and taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Set aside.

Cut the pasta sheets into strips double the width you’d like the ravioli to be. Spoon on the filling, use your finger dipped in a bowl of water to wet the space around and between it, then fold the sheet over the filling and press to seal. Slice the ravioli apart using a knife or a pizza wheel, using a fork to press and seal the edges. Place on a well-floured board or towel-lined baking sheet, covered, until ready to cook. Or freeze until firm, then transfer to a zip-top bag for longer storage in the freezer.

When ready to cook, put a large pot of water on to boil and add enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Melt the butter in a skillet and slowly caramelize into brown butter, being careful not to scorch it. Lower the ravioli gently into the boiling salted water and cook until they float, about 3–4 minutes. Using a hand-held strainer, transfer the ravioli as they’re cooked to the melted butter in the skillet, shaking to remove excess water and tossing the ravioli in the skillet to coat.

Season with salt, pepper and extra Parmigiano and fresh thyme at the table.

This story appeared in the Spring 2019 issue.