Making fresh pasta is the best therapy for me. Whenever I decide to make the dough, I seem to forget all the world's problems. I get lost in the ideas while experimenting with the the dough and cuttings.
One of my favourite fresh pasta is ravioli. I love trying new fillings and matching sauces. It may seem a bit complicated at the beginning, but trust me, with a little bit of practice, you would be able to make ravioli very easily.
This recipe is great for summer. The filling is fresh and light, and the tomato sauce is just delicious and full of flavour.
For this recipe, I got inspired from my visit to Tuscany this summer where I met a great cook, Raffaella. I was lucky enough to be a guest to her lovely country house in Montalcino. Raffaella prepared one of the best ravioli I've ever had. Please have a look at her website, it is beautiful.
OK, let's cut it short. This is how I make my summer ravioli!
300 g Italian ‘00’ flour
3 medium free range eggs
A pinch of salt
200 g soft goat cheese
200 g ricotta
50 g pistachio (roughly pounded)
4 springs fresh thyme (leaves only)
Zest of 1 lemon
500 g ripe, in season tomatoes (if not in season use good quality Italian canned tomatoes)
3 cloves of garlic
A good handful of fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
To make the filling, mix everything in a bowl. Make sure ricotta and goat cheese mix very well.
To make the sauce, peel the tomato skins and put them in a food processor with the garlic and vinegar and liquefy. Transfer the juice to a saucepan and place it on low heat. Simmer for an hour, the sauce will be reduced nearly to half and thickened. Add the basil leaves in the last 15 minutes. Discard the basil leaves when finished cooking.
To make the ravioli, sift the flour onto your workplace like a mountain shape, make a well in the middle and break the eggs into the well. Add salt. Mix the eggs with a fork like making an omelette, slowly drawing the flour into the egg mixture until it forms a coarse paste. Use your hands to get everything mix together and form the pasta dough. Knead the dough for minimum 10 minutes or until you get a smooth and elastic texture. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour. When ready, either with a rolling pin or a pasta machine roll the dough and make two sheets with 15-20 cm width and 2 mm thick. Put fillings on one sheet (big grape sizes), wet all around the filling with water put the other sheet on top. Carefully press the dough all around to expel the air. Cut into squares with a ravioli cutter. At this stage you may experiment with the shapes of the ravioli. You may splice middle points of two opposite sides and press in the middle with your finger to form a farfalle looking ravioli!
Cook the ravioli gently with plenty of salted boiling water for 4 minutes. While cooking the ravioli, pour the tomato sauce on the plates. When al dente, scoop the ravioli and put them on top of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle some Parmesan or Pecorino on top and enjoy!
The above picture is from my dinner at Raffealla's! Thank you for the inspiration!