Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
MAKES ABOUT 8 TO 9 DOZEN
Guest chef Dr. Ken Ciongoli learned to make these tempting ravioli from his grandmother, who was definitely a hands-on cook. No machines were used in her kitchen and she taught Ken all the fine points to recreate this dish, and he in turn shares it with us, using only a materello, glass, and fork as well as his hands.
4 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
4 eggs, at room temperature
Mound the flour on a work surface. With your fist make a hole in the center of the mound. This is the fontana, or well. Crack the eggs into the center of the well and beat gently with a fork or your fingers to break up the egg yolks. Using one hand and moving in a clockwise fashion, begin bringing the flour from inside the four wall into the eggs. Use your other hand to keep the outside of the wall together. If the wall breaks, the eggs will seep out.
Continue mixing until a ball of dough is created that is not soupy and holds its shape. Add a bit of water if the dough is too stiff and knead the dough until a smooth, soft ball is obtained. Don't make the dough too dry; adding too much flour will result in a tough dough. On the other hand, if the dough is still sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is obtained. Knead the dough until a smooth ball is obtained, then let the dough rest for 30 minutes on a floured surface covered with a bowl or a damp kitchen towel. This will allow the gluten in the dough to relax and allow you to roll it out with ease.
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 links sweet or hot Italian sausage (If serving the ravioli as a main course, add more sausage.)
3 large basil leaves
Cook the sausage in a single layer in a frying pan. Set the sausages aside, pour off the fat and wipe out the pan.
Coat the frying pan with a thin layer of Filippo Berio olive oil. Heat the oil over medium heat and cook the onion until it is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and sugar and combine well. Add the basil leaves, submerse the sausages in the sauce and simmer for at least a half hour or up to an hour, so the sauce is infused with the flavor of the sausage.
1 pound ricotta cheese, well drained
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 ounces Prosciutto, thinly sliced and diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley or 1/2 pound spinach, cooked, squeezed dry, and diced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl and chill if not using immediately.
Divide the dough in quarters and work with one piece at a time, leaving the rest covered so it doesn't dry out. Roll the section of dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a juice glass, or any tool that will produce 2 1/2 to 2 3/4-inch circles, cut as many circles as possible from the section of dough. Place a teaspoon of filling on each circle and flatten it a bit. Cover this with another circle of dough. Seal the ravioli well using a fork to crimp around the outer edges. Place on a floured board or towel until all ravioli are formed.
Cook in salted boiling water in a pasta pot until al dente, about 5 minutes. You may need to do this in batches. Drain and place in the center of a shallow bowl or platter, cover with sauce, and arrange the sausage around the edges. If serving as a pasta course, cut the sausage into bite-size slices. Serve immediately.
This recipe is featured in show 1707 — Grandmother's Pasta.