Episode 9: Raviolo Bergese (Egg Yolk Raviolo with Spinach-Ricotta Filling)
A giant raviolo, with a soft runny egg-yolk filling that mingles with the butter and parmigiano sauce when you cut into it, is a showstopping way to start off a dinner party. This dish comes from a farm called Ca'Ville in Piemonte. Ca'Villa was another one of those farms that had a professional chef and kitchen crew. The chef, Franco Piumatti was interested in molecular gastronomy and had all sorts of high-tech toys, but he still had a lot of respect for traditional classics.
The egg yolk ravioli are a traditional part of Piemont's cuisine. The addition of a spinach ricotta filling actually makes it a little easier to keep the egg yolk intact while you're shaping the ravioli.
To make the ravioli, you start out with this spinach-ricotta filling: Stem and wash 6 oz of spinach. Melt 2 Tbs. of butter in a wide sauté pan, add the spinach, and cover it, just until the spinach wilts. Then take off the cover and let the liquid cook off a bit, and season with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
Put the spinach in a food processor, along with 8 oz. ricotta, 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree all of this until it's smooth, and then put it in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
For the pasta, we're using our basic pasta dough that we used for the cappelletti and the bergamo ravioli. After you've rolled out the sheets, keep them covered with a towel while you assemble the ravioli.
Take one sheet of dough and pipe 6 circles of the ricotta mixture onto it. They should each be about 1 inch wide and 1/2 inch high. Put one jumbo egg yolk into each circle of filling.
Brush some of the leftover egg white onto the dough around the ricotta filling using a pastry brush. Drape a second sheet of dough over the first, and press the dough together around each circle.
When cooking these ravioli, you want to use a pot that has a lot of capacity but isn't so deep. And you want to bring the water to a boil, but not as hard a boil as you would for most pastas.
Cook about 3 or 4 of the ravioli at a time, so you don't crowd the pan or cause the water temperature to drop. You want these to cook until the pasta is tender, but the egg yolk is still soft and runny-it'll take about 3 minutes. Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon and transfer them directly to individual plates or shallow bowls. When you've cooked all the ravioli, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
These ravioli get the simplest sauce of them all. Just melt 8 Tbs. of butter in a small saucepan. When it begins to foam, whisk in the reserved pasta water and cook until it's emulsified. Place one raviolo in each plate or bowl, drizzle with the butter sauce, and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano.
Other episodes about handmade pasta
|Episode 1: Croxetti (Pasta Coins) with Pine Nut-Butter Sauce||Episode 2: Butternut Squash Gnocchi||Episode 3: Spinach Malfatti (Dumplings)|
|Episode 4: Bergamo-Style Ravioli||Episode 5: Bigoli with Duck Ragu||Episode 6: Pasta Imbottita (Cheese Pillows in Broth)|
|Episode 7: Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Walnut Butter Sauce||Episode 8: Cappelletti with Wild Mushroom Sauce||Episode 9: Spinach, Ricotta and Egg Yolk Raviolo|