When I went to Misi in Brooklyn we ordered the “sheep’s milk ricotta filled occhi, bottarga, lemon,” cleaned the plate in about 5 seconds, and then proceeded to do the same thing 2 more times. It was, and remains, one of my favorite pasta dishes ever. Simple but BRIGHT!!! It was like these little “occhis” were exploding in my mouth and I couldn’t get enough. When I spotted a mini ravioli in the freezer aisle of my local Best Market, lightbulbs went off like little lemons dancing around my mind.
SHOPPING LIST: 1 lb. mini cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen), lemon, butter, olive oil, salt, white pepper (optional)
The first step is going to be zesting the entire lemon. When the lemon is zested, it is time to cook your pasta. Honestly, mini ravioli, regular-sized ravioli, tortellini – go crazy! – this dish is about the vibrancy of the lemon, so for the sake of recreating the Misi dish I used mini cheese raviolis but regardless of what you use, you want to PAR-COOK your cheese-filled pasta. If you have frozen ravioli, drop them in your boiling and SALTED water for about 3 minutes. If you have fresh ravioli, you will only need about 30 seconds. Reserve 1 tsp. of your cooking liquid, strain your ravioli, and set aside.
In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, add 1 heaping tB. of butter, 1 tB. of olive oil and the tsp. of reserved cooking liquid. Let the butter fully melt and taste with the back of the spoon. Season with salt and white pepper IF NECESSARY. *** The use of white pepper is necessary in this dish because you want a hint of peppery flavor without interfering with the simple yellow beauty of the plate *** Add 3/4 of the zested lemon, stir into your sauce, increase to medium heat, and re-add your raviolis to finish cooking in the lemon butter sauce. You do not want to heat the lemon butter sauce TOO HIGH because your butter will start to brown. After about 3 minutes cooking on the stovetop, your raviolis will be ready to be plated. Finish the dish with a sprinkle of the remaining 1/4 of the zested lemon.
If you want to be extra fancy and go there extra mile to re-create this dish, find yourself some bottarga to grate on top as well — they DO NOT carry bottarga at Best Market 🙂 Also, if you think you DON’T like bottarga, like my friend who said “she hates bottarga” but loved this dish and ate it 3 times with me in one night, give it another chance. HOWEVER, if you don’t love lemon, this dish is probably not for you. If you hadn’t noticed.