Sunday, July 22, 2012

Recipe: Ravioli with a tomato & pork sauce

Ravioli con sugo di maiale alla Modicana

(Ravioli with a tomato and pork sauce -  a speciality of Modica)

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

For the ravioli400gr plain flour
4 eggs
400gr fresh ricotta cheese
a small bunch of marjoram, chopped
Salt and pepper

The pork sauce100gr pork chopped into small pieces
200gr pork sausage (preferably with fennel seeds)
300gr tomato extract
1 medium onion
1 glass red wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

The sauce: chop the onion and fry gently in a large pan, traditionally a terracotta casseruole dish. When the onion is nice and soft, add the pork and the sausage. Brown these and then add the red wine. When the alcohol is burned off, add the tomato extract and a glass or two of warm water. Mix well, cover and leave to cook for about 3 hours on a low heat. Check occasionally and add water if necessary, though your sauce should be quick thick.

After the sauce has been bubbling away for a couple of hours, you can make your ravioli (unless you''ve bought them!). First make a well of flour and break the eggs into the middle. Season with a little salt and pepper and then start mixing until you have a homogeneous, pliable dough. Work it well, then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for between half and hour and an hour. While this is in the fridge, mix the ricotta with a little chopped marjoram and, if you like, a little lemon zest. Taste, and season if you think necessary Take out the dough, lay on a floured surface and start rolling out in a rectangular shape, until it is a few mm thick.Then, on half of the dough, place spoonfulls of the ricotta mix, leaving a couple of centimetres between each. You should aim to have about 7-8 ravioli per person. Then pick up the other half of the pasta and gently drape on top of the part with the ricotta mix. Press around the mix, to get out any air and make sure the two layers of pasta connect well. When you are happy with this, take a pasta cutter and cut the pasta into  individual ravioli. Dust with flour so they don't stick.
The ravioli making should ideally coincide with the end of the sauce's cooking (after 3 hours). To cook the ravioli, simply add to a pan of boiling salted water. When they float to the top (probably after a minute or two) they are ready. Carefully drain and plate up. Then add a piece of sausage and a spoonful or two of the thick tomato-pork sauce. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan or other tasty cheese and watch the dreamy faces of your guests!

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