It was a bright sunny Winter’s day here in Auckland . . . my favorite kind of day!!
Blue skies and sunshine, with a slight chill in the air, always makes me want to go to the markets. I was looking through a couple of my Heidi Swanson cookbooks over coffee this morning, and this recipe for Harissa Ravioli caught my eye. After coffee I headed to the La Cigale French Market, which is pretty much my favorite Auckland Central market destination. The stalls have such a delicious range of foodie treats, hot coffee, well priced vegetables, and yummy baked goods. Today, there happened to be someone selling fresh ravioli, and I figured something in the universe was telling me to make this recipe. I purchased the spinach ravioli, which I thought should go well with the harissa and broccoli flavors, but in hind sight the pumpkin ravioli probably would have done the trick just as well.
The main flavor component of the sauce is harissa, a spiced chili paste originally from Tunisia. You can usually find this as a pre-made condiment in middle eastern or high-end food stores, but I decided to make my own; click here for the recipe. Supposedly you need to leave it for 24 hours to reach full flavor, but I used it right away and it still tasted great, I can only imagine with delight how much more flavor it will have later on.
This recipe came out quite tasty . . . The flavor combination of harissa, lemon, good quality olive oil, toasted seeds and feta made a delicious sauce for the ravioli and was a great way to spice up the broccoli. I am not an olive person, so I left that ingredient off, but to each their own. I suspect broccoli with this same harissa oil and toppings would make an excellent side dish on its own right. This theory may have to be tested later on this week.
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces or 340g fresh or frozen cheese ravioli or tortellini
- 8 ounces or 225g broccoli florets or broccolini, trimmed into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sliced almonds, or pine nuts (I used a combination of all three), toasted
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 5 or 6 black oil cured olives, pitted and torn into pieces
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
In the meantime, make the harissa oil. Sprinkle the smashed garlic clove with the salt and chop into a paste. Put this aside in a small bowl and stir in the lemon juice, harissa, and good quality olive oil. Taste and add more salt if needed.
When the water boils, salt it generously and add the ravioli cooking them until they float and are cooked through (about 1 to 2 minutes). around 30 seconds before you think the ravioli will be done add the broccoli to the pot, boil for the remaining time, and then drain into a colander.
Place the ravioli and broccoli into a large mixing bowl and toss with a couple spoonfuls of the harissa oil and most of the pepitas/almonds/pine nuts. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Turn out onto a serving platter or plates and top with more harissa oil and the remaining pepitas/almonds/pine nuts, the feta, and olives.