Of course I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Episode where he was whisked away to Emilia Romagna in Italy. There were two sections in this beautiful episode that struck a chord with me in a GOOD WAY! I am awestruck when I see people using old world methods to make something delicious. I love how Europeans, especially the Italians are in love with making things from scratch and love fresh ingredients. I get goosebumps when I see or hear about generations of family members or workers who uphold a tradition for something as simple as making a ravioli, noodles, or some kind of a special dish. Of course I am a sucker for history!
I was especially inspired by the story of Chef Michael White. Chef Michael White decided to travel to Emilia Romagna to study under chef Valentino Marcattilii at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola. He studied and learned how to butcher old world style. He asked every question he could about Italian cooking. He studied the culture, the ingredients and fell in love with daily routines like shopping at the local markets. He got to know the local butchers very well and got to know the local cheese maker in his village. It was through these daily adventures, that he fell in love with the culture and fell in love with old world style food.
The second thing that made me gasp in a good way was the famous San Domenico Uovo Ravioli that he cooked on the show. This ravioli is so famous that it has made its way to Chicago, New York and other major foodie cities. I have yet to try it, but let me try to give you an idea.
Imagine sinking your teeth into a tender “al dente” hand made ravioli that oozes out a creamy orange yolk. Nestled inside this beautiful ravioli frame awaits some ricotta cheese & spinach. Sprinkled on top are decadent thin slices of white truffle, flakes of parmigiano along with dashes of fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt. It sounds heavenly! In fact this dish was originally crafted for an Italian royal, so the phrase “fit for a king” is absolutely true.
I’m sure you can find this dish in a major city like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. I was able to find a similar recipe on the web. Copied below is the recipe for Uovo Da Raviolo via Mario Batali on the Food Network. Hope you can be inspired to put on that apron and cook, if so, let me know how it turns out. Buon Appetito!
- 1/2 small white or black truffle, shaved
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus more for garnishing pasta
- 1/2 cup fresh sheep’s milk ricotta
- 1/2 cup spinach, blanched, drained and chopped
- Scant pinch nutmeg
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 1 recipe basic pasta dough, recipe follows
- 7 very fresh eggs
- 12 tablespoons butter, melted and kept warm
Roll out the pasta dough to the thinnest setting on a pasta rolling machine. From the thin pasta sheet, cut 12 circles with a 6-inch diameter. Set 6 of the circles on a sheet tray dusted with flour, cover withplastic wrap and set aside.
In the center of each of the remaining 6 circles, mound an equal portion of the ricotta mixture. With the back of a small ladle or spoon, hollow out a well in the center of each mound. Carefully break the eggs, 1 at a time, into a small bowl, and transfer 1 yolk and a bit of white into the center of each well. It is imperative that the yolk remain unbroken.
Cover each filled circle of pasta with an unfilled circle, and press the edges together with fingers to seal.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Gently, using a wide spatula, lower eachravioli into the water to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the water and place gently into a 12 to14-inch saute pan with the remaining butter, shave the remaining truffle over, add a generous grating ofParmigiano-Reggiano and carefully put 1 on each plate.
- BASIC PASTA DOUGH
- 3* to 4 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Mound 3 1/2 cups of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs and the olive oil. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and oil and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well.
As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape. The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated.
Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up and discard any leftover bits. Lightly reflour the board and continue kneading for 6 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Roll or shape as desired.