Easter Recipe of the Day: Antonio Carluccio’s Surprise Giant Raviolo
It took me only one glance to steal this idea (yes, this happens sometimes) from the chef of the legendary San Domenico restaurant in Imola about twenty-five years ago. I used to serve this dish in my Neal Street Restaurant some twenty years ago, with the addition of truffle, and ex–customers of the restaurant still remember it with pleasure. Obviously you will have to make fresh pasta.
1/2 recipe fresh egg pasta:-
150g Italian ‘00’ flour
1 medium egg
a pinch of salt
salt and pepper, to taste
40g Parmesan, freshly grated
600g fresh spinach
300g mascarpone or ricotta cheese
15g Parmesan, freshly grated
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4 bright yellow egg yolks (from very fresh, ideally organic eggs)
50g unsalted butter
10 fresh sage leaves
Sift the flour onto a work surface, forming it into a volcano-shaped mound with a well in the centre. Break the eggs into this well and add the salt. Incorporate the eggs into the flour with a fork and your hands, gradually drawing the flour into the egg mixture until it forms a coarse paste. Add a little more flour if the mixture is too soft or sticky – or a little water if the mixture is too dry. Using your knife (or a spatula), scrape up any stray pieces of dough.
Before kneading the dough clean your hands and the work surface. Lightly flour the work surface, and start to knead the dough with the heel of one hand as you might bread dough. Work the dough for 10-15 minutes until the consistency is smooth and elastic. If you have dough sticking to your fingers, rub your hands with some flour. Wrap the dough in clingfilm or foil and leave it to rest for at least half an hour.
When ready to (rock and) roll, lightly flour your work surface again, and your rolling pin.
Roll out the pasta dough, by hand or machine, to 2mm thickness. Cut out 8 circles of 11cm in diameter (this is easy if you have a bowl the right size). Cover with a tea towel until ready to use and cook.
Prepare the filling by boiling the spinach very briefly in salted water. Drain very well (squeezing to get out as much water as possible), then cool and chop very finely. Mix this in a bowl with the mascarpone, parmesan and nutmeg. Put into a piping bag.
Make a circle of filling with the piping bag on the centre of one pasta circle, leaving enough space in the middle for the egg yolk. Squeeze another circle of filling on top of the first, still leaving the space for the egg yolk. Together these should be about 1.5cm high. Place the egg yolk, very carefully, in the space left for it. Brush the pasta with water all around the filling. Place a second circle of pasta on top and gently press around to bond the sheets together without squashing the centre, or use a fork. You will have a giant raviolo. Repeat with the remaining pasta circles and filling, to make four giant ravioli in all.
Cook the ravioli by gently placing in a large pan of boiling salted water – one or two at a time – and simmering for 5 minutes. After this time the pasta will be cooked and the egg yolk still soft.
Put the butter and sage leaves in a small frying pan and heat gently until the butter foams. Put one raviolo on to a warmed plate, pour the hot foaming butter on top. Season and then sprinkle with some Parmesan. The surprise is the ‘explosion’ of the brightly coloured yolk when you tuck in with your fork.
Recipe from Antonio Carluccio’s new book, Pasta (Quadrille, £20)
Photography: Laura Edwards