Saturday, January 16, 2010
Pasta for Breakfast?
Ok, so maybe we've taken our love of pasta a bit too far this time, but when we saw this preparation on iron chef, we knew it would be perfect for our upcoming dc10 theme of "brunch". So here's the deal. We've put our own spin on the recipe and made large ravioli stuffed with the usual ricotta and herb filling, but then topped it off with a fresh egg yoke before covering it with the 2nd sheet of pasta. We boiled them, just like you do regular ravioli and then plated them drizzled in melted butter and a little pancetta. Sunnyside up with a side of bacon, Italian style!
My standard pasta recipe is Lidia Bastianich's from her book Lidia's Italian Table. It is simple, delicate and comes out perfect every time I've made it. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for the initial blending and then add the attachments when it is time to roll it out. I use farm fresh eggs (the fresher the better) that we buy from Justin Pitts at the Crescent City Farmer's Market when possible.
Make the dough first. I've taken the time to type Lidia's recipe word for word and added photos of the steps. You will have lots of left over dough to make regular ravioli or cut it into fettuccine. Click here for Pasta all'Uovo
I did the dough, Kerry came up with filling and we assembled them together. A fun, albeit a bit stressful, Sunday morning in the kitchen... I think the dc10 brunch was our best event yet!
2 medium shallots
10-12 oz. fresh spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter
1 t. freshly chopped dill
10-12 oz. fresh ricotta
12 fresh egg yokes (reserve a little of the whites to brush the edges of ravioli
6 oz. pancetta, cut 1/2" slices
Freshly grated Piave or Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
Fresh pasta sheets, see link to recipe above
Chop shallots and saute in 1 T. of the butter with a few generous grinds of black pepper and a pinch of peperoncino. When shallots are clear, add spinach and stir until spinach is wilted. Add dill and salt to tasted. Be sure all of the water has cooked out of the spinach, but be careful not to over cook.
Transfer cooked spinach to a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes. Place ricotta in a bowl and grate a small amount of nutmeg in (to taste, and you don't need much). Add cooled spinach and shallot mixture and blend well. Add more salt to taste. If mixture seems to "spinachy" add a little more ricotta. Proportions are not too critical here, you just need to have a good consistency to make the nests for the egg. Taste and add more pepper if desired.
Now you are ready for the fun part! Find a glass or something you can use to make roughly a 5" in diameter circle. Take your sheets of fresh pasta that have been resting for the past 15 minutes, and cut them in half so that each sheet is roughly 6" x 15" (this will make them a little easier to work with). Flour your surface to keep the sheets from sticking. Take your glass and gently mark out 4 ravioli on a sheet. Spoon about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mix in the center of each of the four circles. Form the mixture into little, equally shaped nests using a teaspoon or your fingers, their rims have to be high enough to keep the egg yolks from escaping.
Carefully divide the eggs (the egg yolks must stay whole) and gently place one yolk in the center of each ricotta nest. Take one of the unused egg whites and brush the pasta around the ricotta, in order to make the pasta sheets stick together well. Gently place another pasta sheet over the ricotta/egg yolk arrangements and tightly seal each one to avoid any air trapped inside. Stamp out the individual ravioli with your glass or mark and cut with a pasta cutter. Repeat 2 more times until you've made 12 ravioli.
Cook the ravioli in a large pan of salted, slightly boiling water for two to three minutes until just al dente, but with the egg yolks still runny. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and brown for a few minutes if desired. In another pan brown the pancetta. Drain the ravioli using a skimmer, place on a warm dish, then top with the butter, freshly ground pepper, a little extra grated Parmesan and place the pancetta on the side. Prepare for an amazing gastronomic experience!