Swiss Chard, Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Raviolis in Herb-Garlic Broth

For the following recipe I was able to purchase sheets of fresh pasta packed in plastic at a local grocery store. At the same time there are a number of pasta shops in the Boston area that sell fresh sheets of pasta. The store-bought pasta tends to be a bit thicker than homemade but overall it worked well, saving many steps.

Makes 6 servings.

Ravioli Filling:

2 bunches Swiss chard, stemmed, washed and torn into 3-inch pieces

2-3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups diced sweet onion

2 small garlic cloves, cut in half

1 tablespoon chopped sage

2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and ground fine

2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and rough chop

¼ cup currants or golden raisins, rehydrated in water and drained

2-3 ounces Great Hill Blue Cheese, crumbled fine

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Heat a large sauté pan on high. Add the water and bring to a boil to create steam. Add the Swiss chard, mounding it in the pan. Rotate the chard with tongs, allowing the steam to gradually wilt the chard. Once wilted, remove chard and drain in a colander. Let cool. Squeeze the water out by pressing in a colander, repeatedly turning it and pressing. Lay the chard on a kitchen towel, roll it into a log and press to remove the excess water. This can be refrigerated up to a day ahead of time.

In a small sauté pan heat the butter on medium-high. Add the onion, garlic and sage and sauté the onions for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and continue sautéing the onions until they lightly brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Place the Swiss chard on your cutting board and roughly chop. Add the onion mixture and continue chopping the filling until the pieces are fine and blending together. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and add the ground hazelnuts, chopped hazelnuts, currants, blue cheese and cracked black pepper. Combine the filling, breaking up some of the blue cheese with your hands to form an almost-bound filling. Taste and season as needed.

Making Raviolis:

8 sheets fresh pasta, 4-5 inches wide

1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water

1 cup semolina for dusting and storing

Ravioli filling

Set up your workspace with the pasta sheets, semolina for dusting, egg wash and a container to hold the raviolis in a layer.

Lay a sheet of pasta dough on your workspace and dust off any excess semolina. Brush the pasta with enough egg wash to just cover the surface. Spoon the ravioli filling in large teaspoon-size dollops (with two-finger widths between the dollops) on the bottom half of the pasta sheets leaving a ½ inch border. Fold the top portion of the pasta over the chard filling. Starting at the folded edge, gently press the dough together as your fingers seal the dough around the filling. Continue pressing toward the outer edges, allowing the air to escape. Make sure the edges are sealed and that there are no air pockets in the filling. Use a ravioli cutter or knife to cut between the raviolis and trim the edges. Lay the completed raviolis in a container with ¼-inch layer of semolina. As you add layers of raviolis, add plenty of semolina between the layers, to ensure that the dough won't stick together.

Refrigerate or freeze the raviolis prior to cooking.

Herb-Garlic Broth:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 shallots, peeled and sliced thin

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 tablespoon chopped sage

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ cup dry sherry or white wine

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano

¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Heat a medium sauté pan on medium-high and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots are softened. Add the herbs and red pepper flakes and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the sherry or white wine and reduce the liquid by half of its volume, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and continue to reduce the liquids by half, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter. Season the broth with salt and pepper and set aside.

In the meantime, in a large pasta pot bring plenty of water seasoned with salt to a boil. Drop the raviolis in the pot. Stir. The raviolis will float to the top of the water. Once they come to the top, let them cook for 3-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough. Remove one and test an edge for doneness. Reserve some of your pasta water for the sauce.

Add the raviolis to the broth with ¼ cup of the pasta water to help thicken the broth. Gently toss with the toasted hazelnuts and half of the grated Parmesan. Transfer the raviolis to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.