Writings on curious recipes, food I've tasted around the world and the quest for finding the perfect blueberry muffin.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade ravioli all' amatriciana - and a very bold statement


So on Sunday I was sitting at my desk, diligently working on my portfolio, making lists of recipes and putting them into categories, thinking up different menus for different occasions, and to be honest, I was feeling quite smug. Things were moving swiftly and, for once, I wasn't getting distracted. I'd be done within the hour, I thought. But then, of course, as I was working on the category of South Tyrolean Cuisine - my workflow stopped. I came across a recipe for tortelloni all'amatriciana by South Tyrolean chef Herbert Hintner, and suddenly I was in the kitchen measuring flours and egg yolks. 


I couldn't help myself. We've been doing a lot of pasta at school recently and I wanted to see how his recipe compared to what we had been shown at school (which hadn't convinced me). My instincts told me it'd be a lot better. I also told myself that the more recipes I tested for the portfolio, the better. 

I need to stand behind the recipes, after all.


Finally, I rationalized that since pasta dough needs to rest, I'd simply continue with my portfolio right after I had whizzed up the dough in the food processor, which would merely be a few moments later.

But once I was in the kitchen I decided to try Hintner's cinnamon ice cream as well. After that, I needed to run to the shop to buy the ingredients for the pasta filling and then... oh it was suddenly 4pm and my laptop had long gone into sleep mode.



Ironically, only as I started shaping the tortelloni did I suddenly feel a sense of time - so after making three tortellini, I decided that if I ever wanted to get back to work, I'd have to make ravioli, which are much quicker to make.



Still, by the time all of them were shaped and cooking away in plenty of boiling, generously salted water, all I could muster as a sauce was some melted salted butter with a bit of (very coarsley chopped) parsley.


Turns out, that's exactly what they needed. The dish was perfect. 



Possibly the best ravioli I'ver ever tasted. 

They were so  good, that I immediately had to write down my adaptations as to not forget. And I had to call my friends and report. And then I had to write this post about them. In fact, they were so good, that it's almost 24 hours later and I've still not managed to get back to my portfolio.


But at least, when I finally do, I know which recipe won't be missing.

And that must count for something, right?

Ravioli all'amatriciana
adapted from Herbert Hinter (if you are ever in South Tyrol, I highly recommend his restaurant, Zur Rose)

Pasta dough
The original recipe calls for yolks only - I found that I needed some egg white to make the dough come together - about 1 tablespoon's worth.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. This makes about two appetizer portions.

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100g // scant cup 00 flour
25g // 2 tablespoons semolina flour
4 egg yolks (the recipe didn't specify how large - I used medium ones and then added 1 tablespoon worth of egg whites to make it come together)
8g  // 2 scant teaspoons olive oil
3g // scant teaspoon of salt

Like a typical Italian grandmother - place everything in the food processor and pulse a good few times until dough is starting to come together. Before it does, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface, gather the bits into a ball and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate for at least a 1/2 hour, ideally 2 to 3.

In the meantime you can make the filling.

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Filling
100g // 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
150g of good quality smoked bacon or pancetta
80g // 2.8oz of your favorite tomato sauce
10g // about 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 spring of rosemary
1 spring of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce
Knob of your favorite butter
Some curly parsley, roughly chopped
Parmesan cheese

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Fry onion in a little bit of olive oil on medium heat until it has softened and is beginning to color. Add garlic, fry for a minute, then add bacon or pancetta, and fry, stirring frequently, for a further 5 minutes or until crispy. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, rosemary and thyme, reduce heat and let it simmer slightly for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Leave to cool.

When you are ready to roll out the pasta, divide dough into two parts. Keep one half well wrapped in foil, and shape the other half into a rectangle. If you are rolling by hand, roll the dough as thinly as you can on a very lightly floured surface. You are aiming for a very long, thin strip, about 12cm // 4 1/2 to 5 inches wide.

If you are using a pasta machine, start on the widest setting and roll your dough through a few times, folding the dough in half after each time before rolling it through again. After about 4 or 5 rolls on the widest setting, you can then roll your dough through once on each of the other settings, until you reach the penultimate one. Once there, roll dough through 2-3 times. And you'll be ready to fill.

Place the long strip in front of you and place a teaspoon worth of filling in 2.5cm // 1 inch intervals on the top half of the strip, leaving a space of about 1 cm from the top. Brush top with water. Fold bottom half of pasta over the filling, pressing down on the rim you just brushed with water. Cut between the fillings so that you obtain more or less perfect squares of ravioli. Using a fork, press down on the sides. (And because this might have sounded very confusing, just look at the photos above - it will become clear!)

Cook in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. In the mean time, melt a knob of your most favorite butter, roughly chop some parsley and grate parmesan cheese.

Once the ravioli are cooked, toss with melted butter, sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese and enjoy immediately!


1 comment:

Eva Maria said...

it's a pity that you couldn't spend the afternoon with us, but I see it was worth it.. looks delicious!! :)

xx eva

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