This is a guest post from Flavours Holidays – one of their favourite Italian recipes, written by Vivienne Neale.
I have to confess my first brush with ravioli emerged from a tin! I can barely type that sentence, but at the time it all looked very exotic and appealed, smothered on buttered toast, much more than traditional canned sardines had done. Call me impoverished but I have made up for my poor start, rest assured.
In the 1960s my mother started work as a secretary in London and consequently would often come home armed with all kinds of goodies she had purchased from markets and specialist shops near her office. I will always remember the day she arrived with a packet of ‘real’ ravioli. I watched with interest as she unwrapped the greaseproof paper and then seeing sheets of perfect ravioli packets gently dusted, with what must have been semolina, to keep them from sticking together. This was taking things to another level indeed!
After this our family was obsessed with fresh pasta and became regular visitors to Italian delicatessens whenever the opportunities presented themselves. I then went on to learn to make pasta and perfected the art on a cooking holiday in Italy which brought things to a neat conclusion for me.
It seems I am not the only one who has a love affair with ravioli and Flavours holidays agreed when selecting the very best recipe for a quick but delicious light meal.
Italians do not, in the main, spend hours in the kitchen surrounded by drying pasta sheets these days and we have all come to appreciate the quality and convenience of top notch dried pasta these days, which, if I am honest, can knock spots off badly made fresh pasta.
Yet there is something very special about ravioli and it is hypnotically soothing to make. Anyway the time you use making this perfect packet of lusciousness the less time you will have to spend on the actual cooking, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
Therefore, imagine the scene: a marble top and a view of distant cypress trees dotting a Tuscan landscape. A waft of warm breeze blows through the kitchen as you mix the liquid into that Vesuvius cone of flour. Soon the floury texture has vanished and you gently roll any pasta from your fingers and start to knead the dough. The smell from the cooking holiday kitchen is intoxicating and a faint scent of Jasmine enters now and then as the light wind rises and falls.
This is the memory I brought back from the Flavours Italian kitchen and there are many more tales to tell of kindred spirits spending a passionate week experimenting with Italian flavours, techniques and food traditions.
If you want to replicate that day in your own kitchen then try out the recipe we have here. If not, then check out the cooking courses in Italy for 2013 here and come home armed with skills which will serve you forever.
RAVIOLI DI RICOTTA
- 250g semolina flour
- 1 egg
- 1 spoon oil
- olive oil
- salt and water
For the filling:
- 500g fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 spoon parmesan and Caciocavallo cheese
- 1 egg
- Make a well in the flour, place a small amount of oil, egg and tepid water then mix in.
- Knead dough well until it is glossy. Let sit for one hour.
- Roll out the dough until flat and thin.
- Mix the filling ingredients together. Place a teaspoon of the filling on the pasta sheet, fold pasta over the top and seal well, pushing out any air pockets. Cut the ravioli to shape.
- Cook in boiling water for about 5-10 minutes to cook the ricotta.