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Homemade Ravioli with Sage Butter

Oct. 16, 2009
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This is a recipe which requires a fair amount of time and effort, but it is well worth it.  Commercial ravioli are bland, too perfect versions of the real thing.  Good homemade pasta is nutty, toothy heaven and you can make so many different fillings from savory to sweet.  I sometimes make dessert ravioli with butternut squash and honey that is wonderful.  This particular recipe calls for calves’ liver, something which may sound a little strange at first but really makes a nice counterpart to the sweetness of the ricotta cheese.  You can replace the liver if you find it objectionable with any richly flavored meat you prefer, or if you want a vegetarian version, you can use some nice, fresh mushrooms.  Good luck to you in your endeavor.

For the filling, you will need:

One medium sweet onion, diced finely

lb fresh calves’ liver

8 ounces of fresh ricotta

1 clove of garlic, minced

Finely diced fresh parsley, enough to add flavor to the mix

Finely grated Parmiggiano Reggiano, approx. 2-3 ounces

Sauté the onion until browned, then add the liver and season with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, add the ricotta, parsley and mix together with the liver and onion, adding the parmiggiano until the mix has enough salty flavor.  Set aside and let cool until your pasta is rolled out.

For the pasta, you will need:

2 cups semolina flour for pasta

3 extra large eggs

A pinch of salt

On a large cutting board, make a “bowl” with the flour, and crack the eggs in the middle.  Rapidly mix the egg and flour together, and then knead the dough until well mixed and firm, about 5-6 minutes.  Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.  When ready, roll out the dough very thinly, adding a little flour when needed.  Your pasta should be as thin as possible without breaking, almost transparent.  If you have a ravioli cutter, cut out squares as large or small as you prefer.  I like my ravioli to be about 1 inches square.  If you don’t have a ravioli cutter, use a glass about 2-3” in diameter and cut out the circles.  Place a tablespoon of filling in each circle or square, and wet the edges with egg wash.  Place the matching piece of pasta on top and seal the edges, making sure there are no holes or gaps, because when cooking these spaces will open up and run the individual pieces of ravioli.

Allow pasta to dry a little bit, maybe another 20-30 minutes.  During this time, boil your water.  It is very important to use a lot of water, because you want the temperature of the water to change as little as possible when adding the ravioli. 

To finish the dish, you will need:

1 stick (1/4lb) of the best quality salted butter you can afford

As much freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano as is pleasing to your palate

1 bunch fresh sage

Coarsely ground fresh black pepper

 Take your fresh sage and remove the leaves from the stem.  Chop the leaves coarsely and set them aside.  When the ravioli have been cooked al dente, drain them leaving the pasta wet (don’t let them drain too much, you want a little of that pasta water) and immediately toss with the butter and sage and pepper.  Serve in a big bowl and accompany with a nice salad and some fresh bread and a big glass of vino.  Let somebody else clean up after they have enjoyed the fantastic meal you just prepared for them!


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