Tuesday, May 15, 2007

a rich ravioli (or agnolotti)

Continuing our ravioli riff: in our last post we talked about a very simple, cheese only, ravioli. Now to do a 180 degree turn, here's our favorite "rich" ravioli.

Before that, however, an observation. We bought some ready-made ravioli last week at the A. G. Ferrari Foods store on Mission in San Francisco. This was their "agnolotti Piemontese" (more on Piemontese later), and consisted of 48 small raviolis, about one inch square at the most.

The ingredients list on the package said that the ravioli filling consisted of:
"choice beef, onion, potato flakes, parmesan, italian plum tomatoes, pancetta, carrot, celery, egg, red wine, olive oil, sea salt, garlic, porcini mushrooms, canola oil, black pepper, herbs and spices."

That seems to us to cover just about everything possible ingredient-wise! The filling had been well processed, into a paste really. It was tasty, but getting a taste of the ingredients, the overtones, was impossible, even though the overall flavor was fine. While very good, we felt it lacked a little zing.

Here is our "rich" favorite. It also comes from the Piedmont area: hence the identification of the shape as "agnolotti", the Piedmont designation for a meat-filled ravioli. We have adapted this recipe from "Molto Italiano" by the super-chef Mario Batali.

The ingredients, which should make about 100 ravioli,each about one and one-half inch square:
  • eight tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • one medium onion, finely diced (one cup plus)
  • six ounces of boneless chicken breast, finely diced
  • four ounces of sweet italian sausage, removed from casing, finely chopped
  • two tablespoons ricotta
  • one quarter cup of grated Italian Fontina
  • three tablespoons of fresh goat cheese
  • one quarter cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • two tablespoons fresh marjoram (or one teaspoon dried)
  • one quarter teaspoon nutmeg
  • one egg
  • salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. After a minute add the onion and cook for four to five minutes, until soft. Add the chicken and sausage and cook until totally browned, about ten minutes. During this time, stir regularly with a wooden spoon to break up the meat into as small pieces as possible. Remove and let cool.

In a food processor, put in this meat mixture and pulse until it is finely chopped (not quite a paste!)

Put the pulsed meat into a bowl. Add the egg and stir. Add the Fontina, the goat cheese, the ricotta, nutmeg, marjoram, parsley, a teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper, and mix thoroughly. Taste for salt and pepper and set aside ready to fill the ravioli.

Just taste this filling! See if you don't think it might be the "best ever".

In tomorrow's post we will talk about constructing the ravioli themselves, and also a sauce to complement the rich taste. To get more complete details on making and serving ravioli, see: www.classicpasta.com and click on pasta and then ravioli.

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