Danielle Alvarez is head chef at Fred’s in Sydney. She shares her recipe for ravioli.

 

Handmade ravioli

This is Italian cooking through and through – simple, but reliant entirely on the freshness and quality of ingredients you use. Rolling and filling the ravioli yourself is a lot more work than buying premade ones, but the results are worlds apart. Although labour intensive, many of the elements here can be made ahead, and brought together with relative ease later on. A beautiful dish to enjoy in summer, when tomatoes and basil are at their best, but to remember all year.

 

Serves 4-6

 

For the dough

  • 375g 00 flour
  • 3 whole egg
  • 3 egg yolk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2tsp olive oil

 

For the filling

  • 200g ricotta
  • 60g grated parmesan
  • Pinch of salt

 

For the sauce (makes more than you’ll need)

  • 4kg fresh raw chopped tomatoes (Roma work well)
  • 4 sprigs of basil picked (stalks and leaves reserved)
  • 4 cloves garlic finely sliced
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Generous pinch of salt

 

To make the dough:

Place the ingredients for the dough into the bowl of a mix. Using the dough hook attachment, mix gently until the ingredients begin to combine. If it seems to dry, just allow it to work for a few more minutes – sometimes a drop of water is needed to bring it all together, but more often than not a little patience sees it transform into a smooth and elastic dough, with a gentle spring to it. After five minutes of continuous kneading, remove the dough from the mixer bowl, and divide it in two, wrapping each piece tightly in cling film, or baking paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

 

 

To make the filling:

Place the ricotta and half the parmesan in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Season to taste, and set the remaining parmesan to one side to sprinkle on the finished dish later. Refrigerate the filling until ready to use.

 

To make the sauce:

Heat the olive oil a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the garlic and basil stalks and stir for two minutes, until sweetened and fragrant. If it looks too hot, and the garlic is at risk of burning, reduce the heat. Add  the chopped tomato and season generously, cook, stirring, for five minutes. Resist the temptation to add any water at this point; the tomatoes themselves contain a lot and will soon release it. Once it looks as if the tomatoes are beginning to break down , turn down the heat to gentle simmer and place a lid on the pan, with a little gap at the edge to allow some of the steam to get out. Simmer for at least an  hour, stirring and tasting from time to time. Once done, remove from the heat and pass through a food mill or wide meshed sieve to achieve a smooth sauce. Refrigerate until needed.

 

To roll the ravioli:

Take the dough from the fridge about 15 minutes before you are ready to roll. Remove the wrapping and with a little flour. Using a rolling pin, flatten it to match the width of the opening of your pasta machines the machine at the widest setting and turn the crank to feed it through. It will emerge much longer as it passes through. Now take one end and fold it towards the centre, so that the length of the fold matches the width of the machine. Using this distance as your guide, make successive olds until the entire length of the pasta sheet has been folded. Rotate the dough 90 degrees clockwise and pass through the machine again at the same setting, repeating this process. After three passes, continue feeding the dough through the machine, decreasing the thickness each time by a single It is begins to be become tacky, dust with flour lightly.

Once rolled to the second thinnest setting (usually the thinnest is a little too thin!), cut sheet in half and lay the halves on a lightly floured surface.

Cut each sheet in half along its length, using a sharp knife, and then create squares (roughly 10cm each) by making a series of cuts along the width of each sheet.

Remove the filling form the fridge, and place a generous teaspoon of it in the middle of each sheet. Using a brush and some water, dampen each square along its border, around the filling. Then take one corner of each square and fold it towards it’s opposite, so that you form a triangular pouch. Gently press down around the filling and to remove air and seal the parcel. Using a pasta wheel cutter or just a sharp knife, trim the ravioli to create neat looking parcels.

Follow this process until all of the pasta dough and/or filling are used up.

If not using immediately, the ravioli can be stored in a single layer on a tray, lined with baking paper and dusted with a little semolina flour in the fridge for a few hours.

 

To finish

To serve, boil a large pot of water to the boil and season generously. Cook the ravioli for three minutes, until tender but holding their shape. While they are cooking, gently heat a few ladlefuls of the sauce in a wide sautee pan or frying pan. Using a slotted spoon add the ravioli to the pan and gently swirl to coat them in the sauce. Add a generous knob of unsalted butter, and once it has melted and enriched the sauce, check the seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Plate up the ravioli – about 5 per person makes for a nice starter – spooning over the sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of the reserved grated parmesan cheese, a scattering of picked basil leaves, a crack of black pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil. Serve immediately.

 

You find out more about Danielle Alvarez? Check out her amazing interview!