Borage ... the little harbinger of spring.
Last week while working around the garden at Molino, I happened on a nice surprise ... there, growing in the corner -lush and green, and festooned with pretty violet flowers - Borage.
This hearty wild green, native to Tuscany has a habit of taking over. Once seeded, it grows and spreads, much like a weed - albeit a delicious one!
The taste is vagely like cucumber, and it is used in many traditional recipes such as hot and cold soups, frittatas, appetizers, and because of its delicate nature, my personal favorite; for fresh water fish like trout and salmon.
Pasta also benefits nicely from this garden wall flower ... ravioli comes to mind, so I am including a recipe of my grandmother Clorinda's.
RICOTTA AND BORAGE RAVIOLI
For the fresh pasta:
10 oz flour
1 pinch salt
1 Tblsp Extra Virgin olive oil
Make a well in the center of the flour mound. Into the center place the remaining ingredients. With a fork, whisk the center ingredients until pale. Then start incorporating the flour - a little at a time until it produces a firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Wrap in foil and let it rest in refrigerator 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling:
1/2 lb ricotta (preferably fresh sheeps milk)
3 oz blanched Borage (well squeezed dry + finely chopped)
1 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Roll the pasta dough using a crank pasta sheeter. Prepare a sheet of pasta approximately 2 feet long by 4-5" wide. Using a pastry bag filled with the ricotta mixture, place a small dollop of filling every 3" along one side of the pasta sheet. Now, fold over the sheet covering side with the mixture. Close each raviolo well to seal. Cut with a dough cutter, pressing each piece to ensure the pockets are well sealed and closed.
Boil the ravioli in salted water on a low simmer for 3 minutes.
Toss the ravioli in a skillet with fresh melted butter, a few sprigs of fresh marjoram over low heat until warmed through.
Serve with a grating of fresh parmesan cheese.