Smoked salmon ravioli: an Italian recipe inspired by Scandinavia. Cold-smoked salmon is mixed with cooked potatoes and fresh dill into a delicious pasta filling. Serve your salmon ravioli with brown butter and pink peppercorns and make fish ravioli the star of your Christmas dinner.
An expat’s holiday food
Potato and salmon filled pasta as a combination may sound strange. Yet nothing’s random about this smoked salmon ravioli recipe. In case you didn’t know, I am a half-Italian half-Polish girl in Sweden. If growing up with two identities was not enough, moving to a third country as an adult added up to this confusing puzzle. There are many perks of having three different cultures living within your household, like three languages being spoken at the same time. But there are some drawbacks, too. One of them is the lack of one proper Christmas or Easter tradition to follow.
Yep, in my house we don’t have a regular Christmas or Easter tradition. No traditional foods that we make every year that only resonate with that festivity. In that sense, I feel very disadvantaged as a food blogger. Every food blogger I know has their favourite Christmas recipes. I don’t. I’ve been really trying to teach myself some traditional dishes especially since I moved to Sweden, like the Swedish saffron buns or the Christmas rice porridge. Still, it’s not like they’ve become my regulars. But after all, I never really had regular holiday foods growing up either.
What does this all have to do with these fish ravioli, then? Well, this is a dish we made last year for Easter. My take at a “traditional” food served during a festivity. Hand-made ravioli – mezzelune to be precise – made with love from fresh egg pasta would be the Italian component. Salmon and dill are two very Scandinavian flavours, especially when paired with potatoes, so here’s the Swedish factor. To make the salmon filling wonderfully smooth and flavourful, we mixed it with potato and ricotta. Boiled potatoes and cheese are a common filling of famous pierogi ruskie, so here comes the Polish touch. This is how these smoked salmon ravioli landed on our Easter table. The perfect celebration meal to encompass my three identities. My way of creating my own tradition.
Homemade salmon ravioli recipe timeline
When making everything from scratch, it is always good to have a good timeline to follow in order to get everything done in the most efficient of ways. Homemade ravioli are very quick to cook once in the pan, as they only take about 5 minutes in boiling water. What takes time is the pasta making, and of course boiling the potatoes.
To optimize the times when making these smoked salmon ravioli from scratch, I’d recommend following this timeline:
- Boil the potatoes and cook until tender.
- In the meantime, make the pasta sheets and let rest.
- Drain the potatoes, mash and let cool; sauté the spring onion; chop the smoked salmon.
- Make the ravioli filling.
- Roll out the pasta sheets and fill it.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the ravioli, in batches.
- Brown the butter and pour over the ravioli.
- Plate, add pink peppercorn and dill, and serve.
More detailed instructions about these steps are described in the post below as well as in the recipe card.
How to make the smoked salmon and potato filling
To make the filling for these smoked salmon ravioli, the first step is to boil and peel the potatoes, and let them cool to a temperature where they are easy to handle. So it’s a good idea to start with this, and take care of the pasta while the potatoes are cooling down. This filling is flavoured with sauteed spring onion, so while the potatoes are cooking, set a small pan on the stove and sautée the spring onion with some butter.
When the potatoes have cooled, combine the coarsely smashed potatoes with the sautéed spring onion, the ricotta cheese, ground pink pepper and a little salt. Thinly cut the smoked salmon into small bits and add that to the mixture. Give this mixture a good stir. Now, depending on how thin you’ve minced your salmon, at this point you may or may not want to give this mixture a quick blend. I like it slightly coarse, so we’re not looking for a totally smooth mousse-like filling. But we want to make sure the potatoes and ricotta are smooth. Coarser bits are to be found in the salmon and spring onion. See if your stirring does the job, or just buzz it for a couple of seconds in a food processor.
How to make mezzelune ravioli
Mezzelune is a kind of half-moon shaped ravioli. The shape is what gives this type of ravioli its name: mezzaluna means half moon in Italian – mezzelune being the plural form. Making homemade ravioli is a very easy procedure, and in order to make mezzelune you don’t need any special equipment safe from a round cookie cutter. Yup, a cookie cutter can be a ravioli cutter. Don’t have one? The rim of a glass will do the job. But if you have a cookie cutter or a pastry ring, I’d recommend using that.
Now, in order to make mezzelune ravioli, there are two methods. Once you have your pasta sheets rolled out and ready to use, you can choose which way works best for you. One method is to work every mezzaluna individually. You cut out the pasta circles, fill them in the middle and close them by joining the edges. I like to call it “the hand pie method”. Option number two would be to drop dollops of filling in a line over a pasta sheet, then fold the pasta sheet over to cover the filling. Then you cut out the mezzelune with the cookie cutter. This is more of a batch work. When I made this recipe, we went for this second method.
There is no golden rule when it comes to rolling out the pasta dough, but usually the thinner the better. Pasta that is too thick may ultimately result in longer cooking time or a harder bite on the edges of your ravioli. Aim for thin pasta sheets. Just make sure you are working on a well-floured surface and everything will be just fine. Also, keep your homemade ravioli on well-floured surfaces before cooking, as they may stick as they rest. I recommend to work one sheet of pasta at a time: roll out one pasta sheet, fill it, set aside and only then roll out the next pasta sheet and fill, and so on. If you roll out all the pasta first, sheets may dry out too fast and may crack when folding over the filling.
How to serve smoked salmon ravioli
Cook your ravioli in boiling salted water for about 4-5 minutes and delicately lift them off the water with a spider skimmer rather than draining them like pasta in a colander. I generally cook them in batches, and in order to do that you need to keep the boiling water anyway.
As the ravioli cook, in a small saucepan prepare the brown butter sauce. Allow the butter to melt and bring it to a boil. When it boils, keep an eye on it as you want to keep cooking it until the white particles (the milk proteins) floating in the liquid fat will turn light brown. If using a food thermometer, it will be good at 125°C, otherwise just keep an eye on the browning proteins. Transfer browned butter to another container when done, to prevent overcooking from the heat of the pan.
Transfer the drained ravioli into a serving bowl, pour browned butter over them and finally sprinkle some more ground pink peppercorn. Garnish with fresh dill and enjoy. And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later!
What to do with ingredient leftovers?
Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy larger quantities of foods than what recipes call for. Here are some ideas if you have any of the following ingredients left after making these smoked salmon ravioli:
- Smoked salmon: keep it Scandinavian and make these smoked salmon deviled eggs or for an Italian pasta recipe try salmon penne alla vodka!
- Ricotta: how about this crustless ricotta cheesecake with canned peaches?
- Feel like making more homemade pasta? Then you need a trusted Bolognese sauce recipe!
- Fell in love with brown butter? Love it even more as cake frosting!!
Smoked salmon ravioli with potato, dill and brown butter
- 200 g flour
- 100 g durum semolina
- 3 eggs
- 20 ml water (if needed)
Salmon ravioli filling
- 200 g potatoes
- 250 g cold-smoked salmon
- 20 g butter
- 1 spring onion
- 50 g ricotta cheese
- 1/3 tsp pink peppercorn
- salt to taste
Browned butter condiment
- 100 g salted butter
- 2/3 tsp pink peppercorn
- fresh dill
- Clean and peel the potatoes. Add them to a pot with enough water to cover them and set on medium-high heat.
- Make the pasta sheets. Combine the flour and durum semolina over a working surface, make a well in the middle and crack the 3 eggs in. Gently start incorporating the eggs and flour and start kneading when the texture of the dough allows. If using fairly small eggs, add up to 20 ml of water to make the dough come together. When the dough is ready, wrap it tightly in cling film and let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, the potatoes should have reached boiling temperature. Lower the heat and let the potatoes cook until tender (about 10-15 minutes according to potato size). When the potatoes feel cooked through when pricked with a toothpick, drain the water. Mash the potatoes and spread out the mash over a working surface to let it cool faster.
- While the potatoes are cooking and the dough is resting, warm 20 g of butter in a pan, chop the spring onion and sauté it until tender. Set aside. Cut the smoked salmon into small bits and set aside.
- Make the filling. When the potatoes have cooled to room temperature, add them to a bowl and combine with the sautéed spring onion, chopped salmon, ricotta cheese and 1/3 tsp cracked pink peppercorn. Add salt to taste.
- Take a portion of the pasta dough ball and roll it out; about 1 mm thick. Place dollops of ravioli in a line allowing enough space in between according to your pastry ring size. Lightly wet the pasta around the filling, then fold pasta sheet over to cover the filling. Gently press around the dough to get rid of any air, then proceed to cut out the mezzelune ravioli with a ring or cookie cutter, lightly pressing edges to seal ravioli. Keep ready to cook ravioli on a well floured surface. Work in batches to prevent rolled-out pasta sheets from drying out too much before filling.
- Set a large pot of water to the boil and add salt. Cook the ravioli in batches, about 4-5 minutes; they rise to the surface when cooked. Remove ravioli from boiling water with a spider skimmer and proceed cooking the next batch. Do not overfill the pot.
- As you cook the ravioli, melt 100 g of butter over medium-high heat and let reach boiling temperature. Keep boiling until the milk proteins turn light brown from white and the butter releases a nutty smell. Remove from the heat when the particles have turned light brown; or when it has reached 125°C. Transfer to another pot to prevent overcooking.
- Place cooked ravioli in a serving bowl, pour browned butter and add cracked pink pepper. Garnish with extra fresh dill and serve.