Red pepper, feta & tarragon ravioli

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This is one of those meals that comes about because you have a leftover, lonely ingredient in the fridge. I had a red pepper that was just asking to be turned into something. One red pepper doesn’t go very far, so turning it into a stuffing for ravioli seemed like a good idea.

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Another key ingredient – the feta – was also lurking the the fridge, but the tarragon was something I bought specially. It’s a herb I’ve not used much of, but tried it recently with tomatoes, spinach and feta and adored it. It would surely work well with red pepper and feta, I correctly figured.

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Together with a little crushed pine nuts, this filling was so surprisingly flavoursome. The red pepper sweet and smoky from grilling, the subtle anise flavours of the tarragon and the salty tang of the feta… All wrapped up in what I must say is my best pasta yet. So thin! It took all of 30 seconds to cook.

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I’m not really one for perfection. The purpose of this blog is to satisfy my quest for the new- it’s an ideas place, not a place for culinary refinement and nitpicking. However, I really want to be great a making pasta. It’s the most satisfying thing I ever make. I feel like I’ve achieved something. And I want to be a pasta master!

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This dish takes me one step closer towards that goal.

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You will need:

For the filling:

1 large red pepper
60g feta, plus a little extra to serve
Around 20 finely chopped tarragon leaves (plus a few extra whole leaves to garnish)
20g pine nuts, toasted, plus a little extra to serve
Salt, pepper

For the pasta:

200g tip 00 pasta grade flour
2 large eggs
Good pinch of fine salt
Semolina, to dust

For the lemony oil:

3-4 tbspns good quality olive oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon
10 tarragon leaves, finely chopped

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Method:

1 – Start by placing the red pepper whole under a hot grill; cook, turning as you go, until it’s charred and soft
2 – Peel the skin off the pepper, remove the seeds and stalk and chop up very finely into a rough mushy paste
3 – Leave to cool and then add to a bowl along with the feta, half the 20 chopped tarragon leaves and seasoning
4 – Bash up your toasted pine nuts and add these to the bowl; mash all the ingredient together until a homogenous paste forms; taste add extra tarragon as desired (add gradually to your taste as it’s a strong flavour!)
5 – Set aside the filling and make the oil by gently heating it along with the chopped tarragon and lemon zest; remove from the heat once warm and fragrant and set aside
6 – Now start your pasta; tip the flour into a big bowl and create a well in the centre
7 – Crack your eggs into the well, and add the salt to the eggs before breaking the eggs up with a fork and gradually whisking them into the flour
8 – Ditch the fork and get your hands into the bowl, mixing together the eggs and flour until well combined (they’ll be very sticky at first but don’t worry, it’ll come together!)
9 – Knead the dough over a floured surface for around 10 minutes (time yourself), until the dough changes texture from dry and floury to completely smooth and elastic
10 – Wrap the dough with cling film and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to roll it out
11 – Set up your pasta machine and put it on the widest setting; start by rolling the dough through this setting
12 – Roll the dough through the roller’s second widest setting, then back through the rollers on the widest setting; repeat 5 times
13 – Now the dough should be rolled out nicely and silky; roll it through each roller setting once, working down to the very narrowest setting
14 – The pasta will be long and thin at this point; take it and fold it in half, then in half again (and maybe again) until you have a square of dough
15 – Turn the dough round 90 degrees and run it back through the thickest setting, then the second thinnest, and so on until you pass it through the narrowest setting
16 – So now you have a big long strip of lovely thin pasta; cut it into two equal pieces
17 – Grab a small cookie cutter and use it to cut circles out of your dough sheets; discard any leftover offcuts
18 – Take your first dough circle and spoon a small amount of the filling (about the size of a Malteaser!) in the centre of the dough circle; use a pastry brush to dab water around the edges of the circle
19 – Use your fingers to gently press another identical dough circle down neatly around the filling, carefully pressing the edges together and squeezing out any air bubbles around the filling as you do
20 – Set aside onto a lightly semolina dusted tray
21 – Repeat steps 18-20 til all your pasta is filled
22 – Get a large saucepan of salted water on to boil and tip your pasta carefully into the gently bubbling water you’ve been heating; don’t let it bubble too vigorously
23 – Cook the pasta for a minute or so only; once the ravioli float to the surface they’re ready to drain
24 – Now dish the pasta up into two bowls and tip the oil over the top; scatter the fragrant olive oil, decorative tarragon leaves, reserved pine nuts and a little feta over the top before serving immediately

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11 thoughts on “Red pepper, feta & tarragon ravioli

    1. Oh thank you!
      I’m not sure if I really fit the criteria here as although I’ve not cooked this dish before, I’ve made ravioli and cooked with the filling ingredients (although not in that combo) quite a few times! If new flavour combinations are permitted then I might enter :-)

  1. This is amazing! The filling sounds fantastic (oh how I love tarragon, and together with those ingredients it must have been perfect), and you obviously already master the art of pasta making, your ravioli look perfect!

    1. Thanks Darya, too kind! I’m definitely not a master, but I can make it quite reliably now. At first I never kneaded the dough enough, but think the 10min kneading rule is a pretty good guide for a beginner. The trickiest bit is keeping the pasta not too wet and not too dry once you’ve rolled it all out! Tarragon is new to me really but I’ve got a huge bunch and will be experimenting this week :-)

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