One of my favorite parts of summer cooking is collecting my farmshare from Greensgrow Farms. Every other weekend, I get a beautiful, diverse harvest of fruits & veggies along with a local cheese and my choice of protein. Alot are basics I’m used to working with (eggplant, tomatoes, onion, squash, salad greens) but sometimes I need to do some research on how/what to prepare with an item. Early in the summer, I got a fresh bunch of crisp dandelion greens. I know they work pretty well in a salad, yet I wanted to do something a bit more fun with them. I poked around the interwebs… but the real inspiration was right there in my memory.
I was blessed with a family who made a point to expose us to great food & restaurants and encourage us to expand our palettes. One of my most ingrained food experiences takes me back to an out-of-the-way, before-its-time spot off the Manatawny River in Pine Forge, PA – Gracie’s 21st Century Cafe. As a kid, I loved the experience of just being at Gracie’s – the zen gardens Kerry & I would play in while we waited for our table, the cooky toys & games on the bar, the jokes my dad made about “writing” his name in the shaved ice in the men’s urinals. It was always a treat when we were headed to Gracie’s.
But the true beauty of Gracie and her restaurant was the creativity she put into her menu – the unapologetic art to her food. I can close my eyes and recall the first time we ate there, the first time I felt true inspiration in a dish. That day’s special was a dandelion ravioli. Dandelion? Like the flowers Gramps is always trying to kill in his yard? Well, kind of, my dad explained… dandelion greens in this case. He happily ordered and shared them with our curious palettes. Love!
So that brings me to what I prepared with my dandelion greens – a light ravioli that I’m sure would make Gracie proud. They were simple, elegant, and beautifully flavored w. a toss in melted black truffle butter. I invite you to give them a try!
My fresh ricotta + dandelion ravioli recipe after the jump!
Fresh Ricotta + Dandelion Ravioli
the quickest, easiest way to do it yourself
adapted from Serious Eats
makes 1/2 cup
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2T distilled white vinegar or fresh lemon juice (or a combo)
- 1/4T salt
- microwave-safe glass container (at least quart-sized)
- instant read thermometer
- paper towels
- mesh strainer
- large mixing bowl
- large slotted spoon
- plastic wrap
- medium bowl or storage container (at least pint-sized)
- Combine milk, vinegar/lemon juice, + salt in microwave safe glass bowl.
- Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.
- While in the microwave, line a mesh strainer with 2-3 layers of paper towels and set over a large mixing bowl.
- Remove microwave contents (HOT!) and stir to separate the curds (solids) from the whey (liquids). Check temperature with instant read thermometer . If desired 165°F is not reached, return to microwave for 30 second intervals until it is.
- Stir contents of bowl to further separate curds + whey . Spoon curds onto paper towel strainer and cover w. plastic wrap.
- Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Remove curds and place in medium bowl for immediate usage or storage container for up to 5 days.
- Repeat recipe 3 more times to acquire enough ricotta for ravioli recipe.
Filling + Ravioli
makes approx. 40-50 ravioli
- 4x ricotta recipe above
- 2 medium shallots – minced
- 2T butter
- 1lb raw dandelion greens* – washed, dried, chopped fairly small
- 50 dumpling/gyoza/potsticker wrappers**
- 2 eggs, beaten
- large non-stick pan or wok w. lid
- large mixing bowl
- 3.75″ dumpling press***
- pastry brush
- Heat butter in large non-stick pan or wok on medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender, but not brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add dandelion greens and cover. Stir occasionally until wilted.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once cool, carefully fold into ricotta in a large mixing bowl. Season w. salt + pepper.
- Place dumpling wrapper on dumpling press. Spoon about a tablespoon of filling into middle. Brush edges w. beaten egg and press closed to seal. Voila!
- Repeat until you are out of filling.
- Freeze flat on parchment-lined baking sheet and then store in air-tight freezer bags for future usage.
- For cooking instructions, I’ll refer to expert, Susanna Foo’s cookbook.
- Once cooked, add to a warm saute pan and toss w. black truffle butter (like I did) or a beurre blanc. The lighter the sauce, the better IMO.
- Finish w. chives.
* Dandelion greens are in season during early spring. If they aren’t available, substitute arugula, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, swiss chard, or a combo to = 2 cups cooked.
** You can find them in 50-ish stacks at Asian supermarkets + as some specialty grocers. Or you make your own w. Chow’s simple 2-ingredient recipe.
*** A dumpling press only costs a few dollars so pick one up sooner than later. It’s really worth it to make pierogies/empanadas/dumplings. Try this one to fit a pre-made wrapper size or buy a set w. multiple sizes.