Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas ravioli

My cousin loves my handmade veal ravioli. She is now seriously ill and on a restricted diet:  no salt or dairy products. I wanted to surprise her with a gift of fresh ravioli. 

I consulted with Marina, in Cremona. Could I make her veal ravioli without the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese? She said yes. The cheese could be added at the table by those who desired it. 

I lost my confidence in ravioli making several years ago. No matter which flour I used or what technique I tried, they just did not taste good and they fell apart during boiling. 

My November class with Elisa in Firenze rejuvenated my love for preparing ravioli. She showed me where I had gone astray from Marina's ravioli lessons, 10 years ago. 

The day before Christmas, on my new cotton tablecloth, a gift from Marta in Cremona, I set out all the tools and ingredients I needed to prepare ravioli. Both the tablecloth and organization had been stressed by Elisa. 

Fresh egg pasta

300 g flour
3 large eggs

Sift the measured flour into a bowl.
Form a hole in the center of the flour. 
Break eggs into the indentation. Beat the eggs with a fork. 
With fingers, work the eggs into the dough for 10 full minutes. 
(Add a tablespoon of water if a nice dough ball us not formed.)

Move the dough to a lightly floured wooden board. Knead an additional 10 minutes. 

Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap. Let dough rest one hour on the table. 

I began to make a modified veal filling:

200 g veal scallopini 
70 g escarole 
1 large shallot, finely minced

(1/3 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano)

I had frozen the veal the day before. I broke up the frozen meat and ground it in my mini Cuisinart. (I wanted to be 100% sure there were no additives in the found meat.)

Wash the escarole, then steam until tender. Dice into small pieces. 

Sauté shallot in good olive oil. Add veal and stir until cooked. Place mixture into a bowl and blend in chopped escarole. 

Refrigerate until the ravioli are ready for filling. 

Roll dough once with 4, then 5 and lastly 6 settings. Do not overfill each ravioli. This first tray, I set aside for myself. I had used too much filling. 

Trimmings, I wrapped in plastic and cut into tagliatelle, after all ravioli were finished. Place finished ravioli onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Place tray in freezer overnight. The next morning, break ravioli into I individual pieces. Store in freezer until ready to eat. 

Drop into a generous pan with boiling (salted) water. When ravioli float to top, cook an additional two minutes. Test for doneness. Can serve in hot broth, with marinara sauce, butter and sauté fresh sage or a simple drizzle of good olive oil. 

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