Ingredients for 5/6 people:500 g plain flour4 eggs1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 pinch of salt400 g wild asparagus (alternatively, cultivated asparagus)1 clove of garlic3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil120 g Parmigiano Reggiano350 g fresh ricotta (if possible made with sheep’s milk) nutmeg salt and pepper
Pile the flour up on a wooden pastry board (if you don’t have one, use your worktop or kitchen table), create a “well” in it and break the four eggs into the centre, with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of oil. Use a fork to beat the eggs and oil delicately, then take the flour from the edges and move it towards the centre, a little at a time, as you continue mixing. Once the dough is quite firm, begin to knead it with your hands so that the eggs absorb all the flour. Knead the dough energetically, using the weight of your whole body, every now and again sprinkling a little flour on the work surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Continue for 10-15 minutes, until you obtain a smooth, elastic ball. Wrap it in cling film and put it in a cool place to rest for half an hour.
Now prepare the filling. Clean and wash the asparagus; blanch them for a few minutes in boiling, salted water and then “toss” them in a frying pan with hot olive oil, a clove of garlic (which you must remove afterwards) and a pinch of salt. Let them cool down and chop them very finely.
Put the chopped asparagus in a bowl with the crumbled ricotta, the grated Parmigiano, a sprinkling of nutmeg (taste and adjust the quantity according to taste) and a little salt and pepper (once more according to taste). Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Taste again, and add more seasoning if you wish.
Roll out the pasta dough with a rolling pin (to simplify the operation, roll out half of the dough at a time). Roll the rolling pin backwards and forwards over the dough, using the open palm of your hand, sprinkling with a little flour both on top of it and on the work surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Repeat this operation until you have a very thin sheet of pasta, then cut it into strips approximately 12 cm wide. Take one of the strips and place spoonfuls of the filling all along it in a row, keeping it to one side, at a distance of roughly 6 cm apart. When you have done this, fold the strip over lengthwise, so that the “empty” pasta completely covers the spoonfuls of filling. Press the dough down with your fingers around the filling and then separate one ravioli from another, cutting them apart with a sharp knife or a pastry cutting wheel. Press the prongs of a fork all around the edge of each one, to avoid the filling leaking out when you cook the ravioli. Repeat with the other strips of pasta dough.
Now heat the water for the ravioli in a large saucepan (the bigger the better, because they need to be “comfortable” while cooking). When the water comes to the boil, add a large pinch of salt and delicately drop the ravioli in a few at a time. Use a perforated spoon to push them below the surface from time to time, because they tend to float. The ravioli should take 8-10 minutes to cook, however fresh pasta can play tricks on you, so after 4-5 minutes try tasting one to see if it’s ready. If necessary, add more salt. When they’re cooked, use a perforated spoon to remove 2 or 3 ravioli at a time, straining them well.
You can serve them with melted butter and sage, or with meat ragu – two of the most classic and tasty sauces for ravioli stuffed with vegetables and ricotta.