I have always had a love affair with fresh ravioli. It’s possible that on an unconscious level, it reminds me of an Italian equivalent of cantonese dumplings. Having grown up in Hong Kong where there is an abundance of steamed and grilled varieties, these are home foods that are close to my heart.
Unfortunately, good home made ravioli is hard to find in Hong Kong. I have grown tired of spinach and ricotta ravioli, which seems to feature almost everyday, as the ‘homemade daily special’ default item in most Italian restaurants.
There are so many exciting filling combinations! It’s not hard to get creative and experiment with different flavours. This recipe is one my absolute favorites. Indulgent comfort food filled with melt-in-your-mouth salty parma ham and plenty of cheesy goodness.
For the making pasta from scratch recipe, check out my earlier recipe post by clicking here, then check back here for part two of the recipe!
For this filling, I used 200 grams of finely sliced parma ham, 200 grams of ricotta, 100 grams of grated parmesan cheese, a generous handful of finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, with ground pepper to season (no need for salt as the parma ham is naturally already salty). Mix these ingredients together well in a bowl and set aside in the fridge until your ready to work with it (this makes it easier to work with later as the mixer will be firmer).
I use a much treasured pasta machine, a gift from my husband which lay boxed for a few years until I got struck with Italian pasta fever. If you don’t have one, then don’t worry, a rolling pin works well too and is very authentic! Just take a chunk of dough about the size of an apple and flatten it with the palm of your hand into a rectangular shape onto a 00 flour dusted surface, then use a flour dusted rolling pin to flatten out the dough. If you are using a pasta machine, make sure to begin with the widest setting first, then reduce it step by step, to a narrow setting after each time the dough is fed through. Don’t try to rush it through, be patient. Definitely do make sure to take more care over how the pasta is rolled out of the machine, as opposed to obsess over how the dough is fed inwards. For ravioli, you will need to take the dough down to the penultimate setting to make sure the dough is wafer thin. Any dough that you are not working with immediately, cover with a damp dish cloth to stop it drying out.
I haven’t invested in a ravioli mould yet, but it is definitely on the kitchen toys bucket list given how much time is shaves off the process and how much I enjoy experimenting with different fillings. For the time being though, it’s simple enough to use a teaspoon to roll a small amount of the mixture into a ball and place it a few inches apart in a line.
Brush around the filling lumps with water and place another rolled pasta dough sheet on top. Make sure to press out any air pockets, before pushing down around the filling to seal the pasta sheets together. Use a circular cutter / ravioli cutter / knife to cut out the ravioli pieces, then take a fork to press down on the edges, sealing each piece nicely and create the stripy pattern. Lastly place each ravioli piece on a 00 flour dusted tray.
When you have your army of ravioli all lined up, set a large pot of salted and oiled water to boil. Simultaneously, melt on a low-medium heat some butter with a glog of olive oil in a frying pan together with some finely chopped garlic and chopped fresh sage. Turn down to a low heat, after it turns to a slightly darker colour. When the pot of water is boiling, carefully add the ravioli pieces into the water, making sure not to let it get too crowded. When the ravioli is floating at the top (1-2 minutes), use a large slotted spoon to carefully lift out the pieces, hold it for a few seconds to drain out the water and place the ravioli in the frying pan to coat with the browned butter sage sauce. Serve with a little grated parmesan and enjoy while hot! It’s always best to have your peeps waiting for the pasta, rather than have the ravioli waiting for them!