Another treat from Chef Angelo in Pantelleria! This amazing island specialty is found on many a menu around the island however, when visiting in the heat of summer, the fresh homemade ricotta, known as ‘tumma’ spoils quickly. I was having a bit of a challenge finding this treat on local menus but Chef Angelo to the rescue! These were the highlight of the dinner he prepared and so worth the wait. These delicate raviolis are stuffed with creamy ricotta and fresh mint then smothered in a delicious sage-brown butter sauce. Simplicity at its tastiest!
I am sure many of you are saying – ‘homemade ravioli are so much work to prepare!’ Homemade pasta really isn’t hard – a tad time consuming but enjoy feeling like a kid again as you cover yourself and your kitchen in flour. Open a bottle of good wine, put on some opera and pretend you are at your country villa preparing a special treat for your friends. You can decide how much work you want to do to prepare the ravioli. Pull out all the stops and make both the fresh pasta and fresh ricotta (see Recipes) or for a quick preparation, simply use store-bought ricotta and store-bought pasta sheets (or even use prepared wonton wrappers). I made my own pasta dough but used store-bought ricotta for this go-around. The fluffy mint-scented ricotta melts in your mouth and mingles with the slightly salty brown-butter sauce. Knock their socks off with this very special treat!
Ricotta and Mint Ravioli in a Sage-Brown Butter Sauce
For the pasta dough:
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
For the ravioli filling:
1 pound whole milk ricotta (or homemade; see recipe section)
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 small bunch of fresh mint, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
For the sauce:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper
Make the pasta dough:
Place the semolina and all-purpose flour in the bowl of a food processor. Whisk eggs and olive oil together and pour into food processor bowl. Add salt. Pulse until coarsely combined. If dough appears too wet, add a tad more flour and pulse again. If it is too dry, add up to 1 tablespoon of water and process until it forms a moist ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough by hand until a smooth ball is formed. The dough should be elastic and a little bit sticky.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Make the ravioli filling:
Mix the ricotta, beaten egg and parmesan cheese in a medium sized bowl. Mix in the chopped fresh mint. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
If using a pasta machine, place the rollers at the widest opening. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. As you work with one piece, keep the other pieces covered so they do not dry out.
Working with the first piece of dough, flatten the dough and pass it through the pasta machine. Fold the dough in thirds, crosswise, and run it through the machine again.
Repeat this procedure a third time until the dough is smooth. Set the pasta machine to the next smaller opening and run through the machine.
Continue in this fashion, using the next smaller opening each time, until the last or next to the last opening is reached. Dust with flour as needed but be careful not to use too much flour.
Cut the band of dough into two equal lengths. Spoon mounds of filling, roughly 1 teaspoon, onto the strip of dough, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. Paint the exposed areas of the dough lightly with water. Place the second sheet of dough on top and shape the ravioli with your fingers. Press on the air around the filling to help seal the edges. Cut the ravioli apart with a ravioli cutter or stamp.
Place ravioli on semolina-dusted cookie tray until ready to cook.
(If using wonton wrappers, simply fill each square; wet edges with water; place additional wrapper on top. Trim with fluted edge pastry cutter and seal. Place on cookie tray.)
Prepare final dish:
Heat butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until foaming subsides and the butter starts to turn brown. Stir in the strips of sage and cook until the sage is crisp and butter is a nice golden brown color. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the ravioli in a large pot of salted boiling water until the pasta is al dente – about 5-7 minutes. Carefully transfer the ravioli with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain. Gently slide the ravioli into the sage butter and cook over moderate-low heat, stirring very gently, for about 1 minute.
Dust with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy……..