Raviolo di ricotta with Tomatero Farm egg, nasturtiums and opal basil
When I visited its new location back in January, I tweeted: “The new Quince is like that nephew you remember as a baby and one day see him all grown up. But unlike him, Quince still looks adorable.” The restaurant’s Jackson Square location is a far cry from the original Pacific Heights spot. Michael and Lindsay Tusk left behind the quaint neighborhood atmosphere and created a gorgeous, elegant dining space that lives up to its fine dining cuisine. But most importantly, they did so without losing Quince’s charm.
The beautiful new space has enough room for a welcoming lounge, a long bar and much larger tables, comfortably spaced out. But while some things changed, some remained the same. Michael still runs the (now much larger) kitchen with the attention to details he always had. His pastas are still some of the best in the city and one in particular has survived a lifetime of menu changes and moves. Tusk’s Raviolo di ricotta with farm egg—a dish he makes by hand since it appeared on Quince’s first menu.
Flour and eggs are mixed together in a process that has been repeated thousands of times by the chef’s hands. Dough is formed, rested and shaped as thin, translucent pasta sheets. Milk and cream are slowly heated then quickly broke with lemon juice. Strained, the lush ricotta is mixed with Parmigiano-Reggiano before formed into a nest for a bright-orange egg yolk. A single raviolo is served with beurre monté artfully peppered with the colors of squash blossoms, Japanese and purple basil leaves. As the diner’s fork cuts through the delicate pasta, the beautiful yolk oozes out creating a delicious sauce à la minute. The recipe is below, enjoy.
Raviolo di ricotta with Tomatero Farm egg, nasturtiums and opal basil. By Michael Tusk — Serves 6
½ Gallon Strauss Farm whole milk
1 quart Strauss Farm heavy cream
12 g salt
12 g sugar
25 g lemon juice
7 g citric acid
1 cup oo flour
1 cup all purpose flour
8 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
6 Tomatero Farm egg yolks
4 oz unsalted butter
1 cup nasturtiums
¼ cup opal basil
¼ cup squash blossoms
Make the ricotta the night before by lining a perforated hotel pan with cheesecloth, with a drainer pan below.
In a saucepan, combine the whole milk, heavy cream, salt and sugar and bring slowly to a boil.
Combine the lemon juice and citric acid and add to the milk mixture.
Remove from heat and let rest for 1 hour.
Strain the ricotta by pouring the mixture into the perforated hotel pan. Let drain overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove the ricotta the next day using a plastic spatula and place in a mixing bowl.
Season it if necessary with salt and parmigiano reggiano to taste. If the ricotta is too moist cut in some ricotta that has less moisture such as Bellwether Farm or Marcelli Brothers smoked ricotta.
To make the pasta dough, combine the two flours and make a well. Add in the egg yolks and whole eggs, olive oil and a pinch of salt. With a fork, mix up the yolk and then start cutting some flour into the well until the majority of the flour has been absorbed. The amount of flour will vary according to the size of the eggs being used. Knead the dough for five minutes and then wrap in cling-film and leave to rest for 1 hour.
Roll the dough out, at the thinnest setting possible, into rectangular sheets 3 inches wide by 24 inches in length. You will need two sheets this size. When completed cover the dough with cling-film so it does not dry out.
Spoon the ricotta out into approximately 2.5 oz balls leaving 1.5 inches between each ricotta addition. With a spoon or a shell-on egg make a nest into the ricotta in which you will place the farm egg yolk. Take the shell-on egg and gently push it into the ricotta.
You will form a nest into which the egg yolk will lay. Make sure not to push down too hard. The egg must rest gently with ricotta on all sides and below it.
Crack the eggs and save the whites for a different use. Keep the yolks in their shells, resting in their cartons. Gently tilt the yolk out of the shell into the ricotta nest. Do all six ricotta nests. If a yolk breaks discard it and crack a new yolk open.
Spray the dough with an atomizer filled with water, and drape the second piece of pasta over the first. Press around the outer ridge of the cheese with your index fingers until all air has been removed. It is essential that you do not push down too hard at this point and disturb the yolk. Cut out the raviolo di ricotta into circular raviolo using a circular pastry cutter. If you do not have a circular cutter, just cut into squares.
Sprinkle semolina on a half sheet pan generously and use a pastry bench scraper to transfer the raviolo to the sheet pan.
Heat six 12 inch dinner plates.
In a large sauté pan melt the butter and add a bit of pasta water. Add the nasturtiums, basil and squash blossoms and season with a bit of salt. Remove from heat while you cook the pasta.
Bring a rondoe large enough to hold all six raviolo up to a boil with water. Season with salt and turn down the water to about 190 degrees. Add the raviolo to the water and poach for about 3 minutes. The outer edge of the pasta should be tender but the yolk should remain molten.
Spoon out the raviolo onto the dinner plates using a spider or large perforated spoon. Drain excess water off the raviolo and place all on the warm dinner plates. Rewarm your butter and spoon the warm butter over the raviolo. Serve immediately.
In the fall shave white or black truffles over the raviolo. No additional cheese is necessary.