Eggplant walnut ravioli
Did you know that ravioli’s origins, one of the most worldly know kind of Italian pasta, may be more widespread than anyone thought?
The earliest written mention we know about it is in the letters of a merchant of Prato (a Tuscan city near Florence) in the 14th century, but ravioli may be older than that: in Sicily and Malta there were some kind of pasta, the ravjul/ravioli, stuffed with local ricotta before they appear in northern Italy.
However, southern and northern Italy have different climates reflecting in their cusines: for example, the dry kind of pasta we know today was invented in Sicily, while Tuscany developed fresh pasta like the ravioli the world loves so much today. A kind of pasta we make traditionally at our cooking classes.
Ingredients (serves 6):
For the Pasta:
refer to recipe in our Recipe Book (you can have it for free)!
For the Filling:
• 300 g fresh sheep ricotta
• 6 tablespoons grated parmesan
• 2 eggs
• salt and pepper
• 2 large eggplants
• 100 g shelled walnuts
• 1 cup of hot water
Peel the eggplants and cut into slices of about 1 cm thick. Heat a frypan with a thin layer of salt covering the bottom. Do not add oil, only the salt. When the frypan is hot, add the slices of eggplant and grill until they are light brown. Place on a plate and cover with a drizzling of olive oil. With a kitchen aid or a blender crush the walnuts with the eggplant, ricotta, parmesan, salt and pepper to form a creamy filling. Do this QUICKLY, don’t over process. You need to do this just enough so that the ingredients blend together but too much! Roll the fresh pasta very thinly on a pasta board (or similar surface) and place teaspoons of the mixture in a line about 5-6 cms apart. Fold over the half of the pasta without the mixture onto the other half that is holding the ricotta/eggplant mixture. With your finger press down firmly between each ‘mound’ and then use the pasta cutter to separate each ravioli. In a large frypan melt the butter with 10 fresh sage leaves, then add 1 ladle of the pasta water. The water is added to prevent the butter from burning and helps it ‘cling’ to the pasta. When the ravioli are cooked gently remove from the water with a large strainer (never tip out into a spaghetti strainer as they will break) and add to the frypan with the butter/sage. Sautè together for about 2 minutes. Place on the plates, sprinkle with grated parmesan & black pepper. If you like truffles this is the time to also grate onto the ravioli!
**Alternatively, you can substiute the eggplant and walnuts and replace with artichokes (see the Carciofi Trifolata recipe) to make ‘Artichoke Ravioli’**