Spaghetti, risotti, gnocchi, ravioli are the dishes I prefer, representing the stereotype that wants Italians keen on “primi piatti“.
The fulfilling carbohydrate, nowadays pretty disliked by nutritionists, is able to stimulate the creativity, keeping an eye on a cost-effective way of cooking.
When I experiment in my kitchen, I love to trace a connection among the ingredients, and interlace seasonality and terroir to my travels and the knowledges I’m gaining into the food field.
In this recipe I wanted to combine excellent products from the territory I live: chestnuts from Alta Versilia (I spoke about them in the previous post) and a rich sheep’s milk ricotta from Garfagnana.
I have been using for years the same recipe and procedure for the perfect fresh egg pasta from the Sorelle Simili (Simili Sisters), who are really famous teachers for egg pasta and bread. I chose a flour of ancient grain (the Gentil Rosso, a stone-milled and low gluten variety) which gave the pasta a great texture and flavour. If you use a high-gluten flour, you risk to get a too smooth pasta that won’t properly combine with the sauce. (if you want to learn something more about ancient wheat, here my post about the conference “Grani&Pani” which took place in Florence recently).
When I imagined these ravioli, I immediately thought to add a special pepper to the sauce: the Voatsiperifery pepper of Madagascar. Less pungent than the traditional black pepper, it’s a very aromatic pepper, with a slightly resin and musk aftertaste. It matches perfectly with the sweetness of chestnuts, recreating a tasty sensation of underbush.
The recipe is vegeterian, but I would suggest to the omnivorous like me to try and substitute sage with crispy guanciale (cheek lard), whose savouriness create a nice balance with the slightly sweet ravioli filling.
RICOTTA AND CHESTNUT RAVIOLI, BEURRE NOISETTE, SAGE AND MADAGASCAR WILD PEPPER
Ingredients for four
Fresh egg pasta
220 g stone-milled Gentil Rosso flour (or flour type 0)
250 g sheep’s milk ricotta from Garfagnana
150 g chestnuts, already boiled and peeled
30 g grated Parmesan
salt of Cervia, nutmeg
80 g good quality butter
salt of Cervia
Madagascar Wild pepper
Sift flour on a wooden board, make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork and start adding a little flour at a time. As soon as the flour is complitely absorbed and you have a nice lump of dough, wash your hands and remove the sticky pieces of pasta from the board.
Now, with clean hands and board, knead the egg pasta some for minutes, until it gets nice and smooth. Cover the dough and let it rest for half and hour at room temperature.
In the meanwhile prepare the filling.
Drain the ricotta to remove extra liquid.
Press half the chestnuts (already boiled and peeled) through the food mill and press the other half with a fork, so you get a rougher puree.
In a clean bowl, mix the ricotta, the chestnut purees, the grated parmesan and season with salt and some grated nutmeg. Cover and let it rest in the fridge.
Using a pasta machine, roll the egg pasta very thin, one piece at a time. Remember to cover the pasta you’re not rolling every time, otherwise an unpleasant hard skin will appear on the dough.
Put a teaspoon of filling at regular distances, cover with pasta and shape the raviolis. Place the ravioli on a tray, properly floured with semolina. When you finish all the ravioli, cover with a rag.
Boil the ravioli in salted water and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes. Cooking time could be longer, in case you prepare the ravioli some hours before.
In the meanwhile prepare the sauce. At medium-low heat, melt the butter into a saucepan together with sage and chestnuts broken into pieces. Let it gently cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the butter gets a nice nutty colour and sage gets crispy. Remove the pan from the heat and add a pinch of salt of Cervia.
Stir the ravioli gently into the sauce of beurre noisette. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly crushed Madagascar Wild Pepper.
This post is also available in: Italian