Sicilian Ricotta Ravioli
You might be wondering what makes this recipe unique to Sicily. Well, while in Sicily, I learned that Sicilians (1) use durum wheat flour to make their pasta; (2) use fresh ricotta cheese (and it was the freshest cow’s milk ricotta that I’ve ever had in my life); (3) add nutmeg to the ricotta filling; and (4) serve the ricotta-filled ravioli dressed in a very delicious pork-flavored tomato sauce. I couldn’t wait to try making this recipe when I returned to the US. I was very pleased with the results - mine were as good as the ones we made there.
Makes about 60 ravioli
For the pasta dough:
- 400 grams Italian superfine 00 flour
- 300 grams of semolina flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 to 1 cup of water
- 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- pinch of kosher salt
For the ravioli filling:
- 800 grams fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Step 1: To make the pasta dough: Weigh flours and sift together. Mound the superfine and semolina flour mixture in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs, olive oil, salt and some of the water.
Step 2: Using a fork, beat together the eggs, oil, and water and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape.
Step 3: Gradually add the water so that the dough will come together. Knead until you have a cohesive mass.
Step 4: Once there is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up and discard any leftover bits. Lightly re-flour the board and continue kneading for 6 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky.
Step 5: Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 to 60 minutes minutes at room temperature.
Step 6: While the dough is resting, combine the fresh ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt and nutmeg together. Set aside. If you have trouble finding the fresh ricotta at your local supermarket, try looking for it in an Italian specialty store or one of the larger supermarkets, like Wegman's or Whole Foods Market.
Step 7: To assemble the ravioli, cut the pasta dough in quarters. Re-wrap the remaining 3 of the 4 pieces in plastic wrap and set aside. Begin working with the 1 unwrapped piece of dough. On a lightly floured work surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the pasta dough until it is 1/8-inch thick (you can also use a pasta machine and roll out the dough to setting 6, the next to last setting on your machine). Lay the resulting pasta sheet on a lightly floured surface with a long side facing you. Trim the edges so they are straight.
Step 8: Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling onto the pasta in one long line, about 1 inch from the edge of the long side closest to you. With a pastry brush, dipped in water, moisten the pasta on the other side of the filling (to help seal). Then, carefully roll the dough over and around the filling. Repeat with the remaining pasta.
Step 9: Using your two index fingers spread 1-1/2 inches apart, make indentations along each roll of pasta, starting at one end and continuing all the way down to the other, to form little pillows.
Step 10: Crimp the pillows where you've indented them by pinching them closed at every crimp, carefully sealing the dough so that they don't burst open while cooking. Using a pastry or pasta wheel, cut between pillows at each crimp.
Step 11: Place the ravioli on a cookie sheet sprinkled with flour. Place the ravioli in the refrigerator (or they can be frozen) until you are ready to cook.
Step 12: When you are ready to cook the ravioli, add them to boiling water. When the ravioli float, about 2 to 3 minutes, they are finished cooking.
Step 13: Serve each portion with a pork-flavored tomato sauce and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving.