I have to say a pasta machine and ravioli press are the two best kitchen gadgets. I’m not a fan of kitchen gadgets, but these two combined, make magic. Before owning a pasta machine, I had persisted, making pasta by hand with a shoddy rolling pin. It was delicious, but VERY very hard work. I can’t believe how much easier it is with this relatively simple machine. I even wimp out on a lot of the kneading and let the machine do most of the work. It’s great! When I bought the ravioli press (to make salmon and dill ravioli) my partner said to me on the phone, “you know what I’d REALLY love? Traditional Italian beef ravioli.” Now that’s a challenge, not least because beef is such a luxury it’s rarely used to stuff ravioli in Italy. Anyway, I did a bit of research and then adapted my own recipe. It came out beautifully and I served with a simple tomato sauce and grated Tom cheese from Bruny Island. This cheese worked particularly well, but another hard cheese, including parmesan would be fine. I used beef mince from my favourite suppliers, Gilmore Braes Heritage Beef. I do think it’s important to use a really tasty mince for this, so it would be worth asking your butcher to mince some rump or something with loads of flavour.
|1 1/2||cup||pasta flour|
|1||small onion, finely chopped|
|1||small carrot, finely chopped|
|1||small stick||celery, finely chopped|
|50||grams||pancetta, finely chopped|
|1||slice||stale bread, torn|
|1||small fresh red chilli (optional)**|
|1||tablespoon||verjuice or white wine|
*replace with a quarter of an onion
**a couple of pinches of dried chilli flakes would be a suitable substitute
To make the pasta, make a mound of flour on a large board or clean work surface. Make a well in the mound and add the eggs. Using two of your fingertips mix the eggs, gradually drawing in flour from the mound. Once you have a relatively firm paste, pull all the flour into the mixture and combine with your hands. If it’s a little dry, add a tablespoon of water. Knead the dough to combine. You want it to start feeling smoother. Leave the dough to rest under a damp tea towel, while you prepare the filling.
To prepare the filling, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan til hot. Add the onion and pancetta, sautéing till the start to colour, then add the celery and carrot. Cook till the vegetables have wilted and turned golden. Deglase the pan with the red wine and add the torn slice of bread. When the liquid has evaporated and the bread is soaked, remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the mix is cold, tip it in the blender with the beef mince, egg whites, pepper and oregano. Blitz to make a finer paste.
To assemble the ravioli, divide your dough into two balls. Work with one at a time, keeping the other under a moist tea towel. This will stop it drying out as you work through the production process. With your pasta maker ont he widest setting, roll your dough through the machine. Fold it back on itself and repeat this a couple of times till the dough becomes very smooth. Then fold your dough into a long thinish rectangle and roll through the pasta machine on gradually thinner settings until you are at the thinnest setting.
At that point, assemble the ravioli according to the directions on your ravioli press. If you only have a ravioli cutter (or a sharp knife for a no frills ravioli), scoop small teaspoons of the filling onto the strip of pasta about 5-10cm apart, than lay another sheet of pasta on top, pressing down around the filling, and cutting them in between.
To prepare the sauce, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the finely chopped chilli, garlic and shallot and cook gently for a few minutes. When the onion becomes translucent, add the verjuice to the pan, waiting a little before adding the passata. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the ravioli and cook till they rise to the surface. Remove from the pan and drain. When you are ready to serve, tip the ravioli into the sauce, stir to coat and serve with grated cheese. Enjoy!