What do you do in Italy on Sunday?
You make ravioli of course!
Ok, it’s not always ravioli, but it is always true that in Italy, family and friends want to come together to enjoy a Sunday feast. So, usually something is made that takes care and time and more than one pair of hands to prepare.
The best part is that everyone gathers around to take part in the preparations or to throw in their good advice (wanted or not)! and it creates a jovial atmosphere of anticipation (Italian food seems to do that).
Last Sunday, at Loredana and Alessandro’s house, we made ravioli filled with ricotta. But only one type of condiment isn’t enough for a proper Sunday lunch, so Loredana (who is a very knowledgeable and passionate Italian cook) decided to make half with a basic tomato sugo and the other half with mushrooms and pancetta (the fresh variety, which is pork belly strips).
She pointed out to me that it is very important to use Tipo 1 grade of flour (photo shown below) instead of the fine Tipo 00, to make ravioli. This is because the Tipo 1 has more of the germ of the wheat added (about 4%) to the flour and the germ is more course and provides a stronger hold for the filling.
Give it a try!
For the pasta:
- 100kg Flour – try to get Tipo 1
- 1 Egg
- Pinch Salt
Note: We used 600g Flour to get 76 ravioli
For the filling:
- 1kg Ricotta – here in Abruzzo we use ricotta made from sheep’s milk, which is much tastier than ricotta made from cow’s milk
- 1 Egg
- Plenty of grated parmesan and pecorino cheese
- Salt to taste (don’t forget that the cheese is salty too, so don’t add too much extra)
For the pasta, pile the flour in a mound on a clean board and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and salt into the well then carefully mix in the flour using a fork. Once the egg has been incorporated into the flour, use your hands to mix it all together to form a dough. Kneed for about 5 mins then cover the dough with foil and let it rest for 30-40 mins and it will become softer.
For the filling, drain the liquid away from the ricotta using a colander (you can let it rest in there for 5-10 mins if it contains a lot of liquid). Add the egg, parmesan and pecorino and mix until combined and creamy. Taste it and add more cheese and salt if needed.
Back to the dough, cut off workable chunks of dough and flatten them out with a rolling pin (just enough so that they can be rolled through the pasta machine). Roll each piece through the largest setting, 5 times, then roll it through the size you want for the ravioli once. Make sure that the final thickness of the pasta isn’t too fine, otherwise the filling will fall out when it is boiled!
To form the ravioli, place heaped teaspoons of the ricotta mixture, spaced out along the sheets of pasta. Use a cup of water to dip your finger in and run it around the ricotta so that the dough will stick when you fold one side over the other. Press the dough down around the ricotta, making sure that you get all the air out. Then use a rolling crinkle cutter to cut out the ravioli (see photos below). Place each ravioli on a floured board so that they don’t stick to the board or each other.
To cook, get a large pot of salted water boiling and carefully add the ravioli (it helps to slide them off a plastic chopping board into the water) Once they are cooked, drain them in a colander. Put them in a serving plate and add the sugo or mushrooms and pancetta before they dry out and start sticking together.
- If you have a manual pasta machine, get someone else to act as the motor, like Loredana did to Alessandro in the photo shown below.
- Keep the dough covered by foil (or tea towels) while you work, so that it doesn’t dry out and ruin.
For the tomato sugo:
- ½ cup Red wine
- 3-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 small or half a carrot chopped
- 1 small stick of celery chopped
- 1-2 pieces of beef (about 250g with the bone)
- 1 bottle of Passata
- 2 tins of Chopped Tomatoes
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Once caramelised, add a little bit of water so that the vegetables stay moist. Once the water has evaporated, add the beef and lightly brown all over. Add the wine and cook gently until the wine is reduced and a glaze forms on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes to the pan, stir and then let it cook slowly, partly covered for about 40mins. Pour the sauce over cooked ravioli and gently stir through.
For the mushroom and pancetta:
- 5 strips of pancetta (see photo below) 250g
- 300g mixed mushrooms
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 small carrot grated
- Olive Oil
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and grated carrot. Once softened, add the mushrooms and put a lid on the pan to cook the mushrooms through. Chop the pancetta into long pieces (see photo below) and fry in a little olive oil in another frypan until crispy. Add the pancetta to the mushrooms and pour on top of the cooked ravioli.
Katri Pagliaro – Italian Provincial Tours
Do you love Italian food and want to learn how to cook like an Italian? Come and learn to cook with the beautiful Loredana, on our Italy tours and Abruzzo tours.
We have small group Abruzzo tours of 5, 8 and 11 days, or we can design a private tour for any length of time, just for you and your family and friends.