Ever since I bought my pasta machine two years ago I have dreamt about making ladybird ravioli. I don't know why, it just seemed like a natural pairing, so much so that I was shocked that nobody else had done it ...or at least done it and posted it on the internet. I like crossing things off of my various to do lists and now I can cross this off, cute bug pasta - done.
Don't overdo it when using water to glue the bug parts together or you will end up with a gloopy mess stuck to your worktop. I've stuffed these with a spinach/ricotta mix but you can choose what ever you like. Sausage meat mixed with apple, garlic, shallot and sage works well as does sweet potato, garlic and spring onion mash. I'll do a post on ravioli/tortellini stuffings/fillings at some point.
- 500g ricotta cheese
- 150g spinach
- 1 tbsp pinenuts
- Finely grated rind of one lemon
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and freshly milled black pepper
Optional to serve
- Spinach pasta (for grass)
- To make the filling, dry fry the pinenuts in a saucepan until golden and flagrant.
- Put the spinach in a pan with two tablespoons of water, cover and heat until wilted. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid.
- Saute the shallot and garlic in the olive oil until transluscent.
- On a large chopping board, chop together the pinenuts, spinach, shallot, garlic and lemon rind. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ricotta. Season to taste with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- It is easiest to make your ladybirds in batches as the pasta dough dries out very quickly. I suggest splitting each colour of dough into three or four.
- Run your beetroot, squid ink and egg pasta dough through the lasagne slot of your pasta machine working from the largest setting to the smallest.
With a 4 cm circle cutter, stamp holes along the top edge of your beetroot lasagne in about 4 cm intervals
Stamp holes with a 1.5cm circle cutter just below your first line of larger holes
With the same 1.5cm cutter stamp circles into the egg pasta and place in the holes you just made in the beetroot lasagne, gently press together to ensure the two colours are sealed using a water (very sparingly) if needed to glue them together.
Take a 4cm cutter and recut the first series of holes you made.
Place your beetroot dough on top of your squid ink dough, painting a thin layer of water inbetween the two doughs to ensure they stick.
To make the heads, cut out 4cm circles of your squid ink pasta. In each head cut a 1.5cm hole either side, and insert 1.5cm circles of egg pasta. Use your 4cm cutter to recut the head and then place in the void in the beetroot lasagne. Cut strips of the squid ink pasta and press them into the beetroot dough from the bottom of the head to the tail.
Cut 1.5cm circles out of your squid ink dough and place them on the ladybirds back to make its spots.
Divide your ladybirds by slicing with a knife, you now have ladysquares. Take sheets of squid ink pasta the same size and spoon in the ricotta filling. Sandwich together using a little water, making extra sure that you have no air bubbles and that they're fully sealed. Cut with an 8 inch circle cutter.
Cook in salted boiling water until they float to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. I served mine with spinach linguine drizzled with lemon butter and garlic.