MC TX12 - Asparagus Soup with a Chicken Mousse Raviolo

Niamh Mannion's recipe from the episode 12 pasta challenge


  • pasta dough:
  • 250 g ‘00’ flour
  • 5 or 6 egg yolks
  • chicken mousse:
  • 1 large chicken breast (approximately 200g)
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1heaped teaspoon of finely grated mint
  • generous pinch of salt
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • asparagus soup:
  • 850 g asparagus
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 white onion
  • spring of thyme
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • salt and white pepper
  • lemon and mint oil:
  • 200 g mint
  • 50 ml flavourless oil
  • to finish:
  • caviar
  • grated lemon rind
  • some small mint leaves


  1. Cut the chicken breast into chunks and lay out on a plate separating the chunks. Cover with cling film and put into the freezer for 20 minutes to bring the temperature of the chicken down. The intention is not to freeze the chicken, but to cool the meat down quickly.
  2. Next make the pasta dough because this will need to rest in the fridge for a short while after it has been made…
  3. Put the flour into a food processor and slowly add in the egg yolks until a firm dough is formed. Wrap in cling film and rest in fridge for about half an hour.
  4. Now start the soup…
  5. Chop the celery and the onion. Put a little oil and a generous knob of butter in a large saucepan and add the chopped celery and onion and a sprig of thyme. Sweat gently without colouring for about 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile prepare your asparagus…
  7. Remove the woody stalks from the asparagus by holding each spear in both hand and gently bending. The asparagus will naturally break in two leaving you with the woody end and the asparagus tips. Put the woody ends into the pan with the celery and onion (but you will be removing these later.
  8. Reserve a few of the smaller asparagus tips for garnishing the dish later.
  9. Chop the rest of the asparagus into small chunks and add to the pan. Allow sweat for about two minutes and add the stock. Bring soup up to the boil and then allow simmer for about 5-6 minutes. Do not cover the pan as you want to retain as much of the beautiful green colour of the soup.
  10. Take pan off the heat and put the bottom of the pan into a large bowl (or kitchen sink) of iced water. You want to cool the pan down to arrest the cooking so that the colour is retained. Remove the woody stalks and the thyme and discard. You will finish off the soup later.
  11. Now prepare the chicken mousse…
  12. Put the chicken breast and a generous pinch of salt into a food processor. Start the motor running and once the meat is broken up slowly start adding the double cream in a steady stream. You need to do this in about 45 seconds at most otherwise you will heat up the mixture and it is liable to split. Add the other mousse ingredients mixing through with a wooden spoon. Pass the mixture through a metal sieve to create a smooth paste.
  13. At this stage, you can put a teaspoon of the mixture in some cling film and boil it in some water for about four minutes to check the seasoning. Adjust as necessary.
  14. Put the mousse into a disposable piping bag and leave in the fridge until required later.
  15. Blanch the mint leaves in some boiling water for about 1 minute. Immediately take off the heat and draining away the boiling water and plunge the blanched mint leaves into a small bowl of iced water to arrest the cooking.
  16. Take out the mint leaves and squeeze to extract as much of the water as possible. Put into a mini blender with the oil and process to a loose liquid. Pour this mixture into a mini tea strainer balanced over a cup and allow the mint oil to drip through. You can press it through but then you will have a cloudy oil.
  17. Now make your ravioli.
  18. Cut dough into 4 as this will make it easier to feed through pasta machine.
  19. Using a pasta machine, roll out your pasta at the highest setting, feeding it through a couple of time. Keep reducing the settings gradually making a thin sheet of pasta on the lowest (thinnest) setting
  20. Lay out the pasta sheet on a lightly floured work bench. Cut out circles of the dough using a 8 cm round cutter. Pipe about 1 ½ teaspoons of the mixture into the centre of the circle in a little mound. Brush a little water around the edge of thr pasta circle and place another circle on top, making sure that you ease out any air pockets. Set aside on a lightly floured plate. Repeat with the remainder of the dough and chicken mousse.
  21. Now finish the dish…
  22. Bring a medium/large pan of generously salted water to the boil and then keep at a rolling simmer. Blanch the asparagus tips that you had set aside for about two minutes and then take out and cut into half lengthways.
  23. Meanwhile puree the soup ingredients in a blender until you have a smooth soup. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Gently heat up in a saucepan, but do not boil or you could spoil the flavour and colour.
  24. Next cook your ravioli. Put into the large pan of simmering water and cook for about 4/5 minutes. Once cooked. Take out of the water and briefly drain on some kitchen towel
  25. Pour some soup into a small bowl. Decorate around the edge with some of the sliced asparagus tips. Sprinkle over some grated lemon rind and place a few of the small mint leaves on top. Put a few drops of the mint oil on top of the soup, but not too many. Place a cooked raviolo on top and then put a small amount of caviar on top of the raviolo.
  26. Serve.

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