Ravioli stuffed with ricotta & lemon

Ravioli stuffed with ricotta & lemon

By
From
Sicily
Serves
4 as a main course or 6 as a starter

We watched the experienced hands of Valentina – the pasta maker at Taverna Nicastro in Modica – work her magic on a huge sheet of bright yellow pasta. Between the rhythmic movements of flouring, rolling, filling, folding and cutting, she produced puffy parcels of lemon-scented ricotta wrapped in pasta. It was a joy to watch the timing and carefully choreographed kitchen performance of the cooks. In many restaurants this lemony pasta is served with a pork ragu, which is actually just the sauce from the traditional slow-cooked ragu. It is also good with the Cherry Tomato Sauce, or simply tossed in butter and sage like the Sunset Agnolotti.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Fresh pasta
coarse semolina or ‘00’ flour, for dusting
1 quality see method for ingredients
or sauce from the slow-cooked ragu
a little your best extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
250g ricotta
1/2-1 lemon, finely grated zest, plus extra to serve
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Method

  1. Start by making the filling. Drain the ricotta then combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Go easy on the lemon zest as it can be quite overpowering, but season to suit your taste. This is very important as you want the flavour to shine through the pasta and sauce.
  2. Bring a large pan of salted water two-thirds full to the boil.
  3. To make the ravioli, roll out half the fresh pasta, keeping the other half wrapped in cling film (plastic wrap). Dust the work surface with flour, but don’t dust the top side of the pasta or it will be hard to seal. Roll out the pasta using a rolling pin or a pasta machine until you can see your hand through it. Set the machine on the second to last setting – the very last setting makes the thinnest pasta but this is often too fragile for ravioli
  4. Now dot a heaped teaspoon of the filling at even intervals (two fingers-width apart is ideal) on to a sheet of pasta and place another sheet of the same length over the top. Press down around the filling to expel the air and seal the pasta sheets together. Using a pasta wheel or a sharp knife, cut the ravioli into even 5 cm squares. Set the shapes aside on a surface dusted with flour or semolina (semolina is good as it doesn’t stick to the pasta).
  5. Cook the ravioli in the boiling water for 4–6 minutes, until al dente – test by trying the edge of one. Warm your chosen sauce in a large frying pan and toss the just-cooked ravioli into it, allowing a little pasta water to fall into the sauce as they are added. Shake the pan to amalgamate the water and sauce. Serve immediately in warmed bowls or plates with a little lemon zest grated over the top and a swirl of your best olive oil.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
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