These delicate little half-moon stuffed pasta bundles (virtually the same as ravioli but for its name and shape) are fun to make and perfect for a light springtime meal or first course. Though best made with homemade egg pasta, alternative choices are to use fresh lasagna sheets or dumpling wrappers. Or feel free to make standard square ravioli, or even mix and match shapes, as long as they’re the same approximate size. To keep the project manageable, complete some of the tasks in advance: Make the pasta dough and filling a few hours ahead. The mezzelune (in English the plural is mezzalunas) may be filled and refrigerated well in advance of dinner — up to 3 hours ahead.
- ½pound spinach, pea shoots or nettles, tough stems removed
- 2cups fresh ricotta
- ½cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
- Salt and pepper
- 1teaspoon lemon zest
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1tablespoon chopped mint
- Fresh egg pasta dough (see recipe)
- Semolina or rice flour, for dusting
- 3tablespoons butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- 6ounces thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1cup shucked fresh peas
- ½cup finely chopped scallions
- Bring a saucepan of generously salted water to a boil. Blanch spinach briefly, about 15 seconds, then plunge into an ice bath. Drain, squeeze dry, and chop finely.
- Put ricotta in a mixing bowl and add Parmesan, chopped spinach, lemon zest, nutmeg and mint. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Roll pasta dough into thin sheets. Using a sharp cookie cutter, punch out 3-inch rounds; you should have about 36 pieces. Dust lightly with semolina flour, then cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with semolina.
- Working in batches, fill 6 pasta rounds at a time: Lay pasta flat on a work surface and place about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each round. With a pastry brush or finger, moisten outer edge sparingly with water and fold over to make a half-moon, pressing to seal. Transfer to baking sheet. Continue until all rounds are filled. Dust tops lightly with semolina and store, uncovered in the refrigerator, until ready to cook.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil for pasta.
- Put a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the shiitakes. Season with salt and sauté quickly until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. Add 2 more tablespoons butter to pan. When it sizzles, add peas and scallions and a little salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup water and cook uncovered for about 3 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and turn off heat.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta: Drop mezzelune in boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a warm platter. Reheat peas and mushrooms and pour over the pasta. Garnish with chives.