Ravioli con Ragù Napoletano
This is one of my mother-in-laws creations. Since she has moved to the coast of Liguria and away from Naples, she has started to experiment with pastas that you find in Northern Italy and has moved away from more traditionally Neapolitan pastas. She has recently started making a lot of fresh pasta, and has taken the fantastic leap to stuffed pastas, like these meat-filled ravioli that she made for us on our last visit to Lavagna.
The sauce that the ravioli were dressed with had a touch of Southern soul, she prepared a traditional Neapolitan ragù with pork ribs and sausage, the smell of which lingers through the streets of most of Naples and Southern Italy on Sundays.
Like the genovese, a ragù napoletano serves as both primo and secondo, with a frittata di maccheroni to enjoy the next day. Not with ravioli though, that would make a very heavy frittata.
Though my mother-in-law told me how she filled the ravioli, I unfortunately did not write it down, I am instead offering Mario Batali’s recipe for Tortellini, which are a meat-filled pasta. I will make ravioli with my mother-in-law one of these days and share the recipe with everyone.
Basic Pasta Dough from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano
Makes about 1½ Pounds
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
- 5 large eggs
Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden board. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs. Using a fork, beat the eggs together and then begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). When half of the flour is incorporated, the dough will begin to come together. Start kneading the dough, using primarily the palms of your hands. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, set the dough aside and scrape up and discard any dried bits of dough.
Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 10 minutes, dusting the board with additional flour as necessary. the dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.
When you unwrap the dough it will have softened – that is what you want, so do not be tempted to knead it into tension before rolling it out.
To make the tortellini, divide the pasta dough into 4 portions. Roll out each one through the thinnest setting on a pasta machine, and lay the sheets on a lightly floured surface. Working with 1 sheet at a time, cut into 2-inch squares.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 oz ground turkey
- 6 oz ground veal
- 6 oz ground boneless pork shoulder
- 6 oz prosciutto, finely diced
- 6 oz mortadella, finely diced
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 cups freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a small Dutch oven or a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it foams and subsides. Add the turkey, veal, and pork shoulder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well browned but still juicy, about 20 minutes. Add the prosciutto and mortadella, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Add the egg and Parmigiano to the filling mixture and mix well. Season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place 1 teaspoon of the tortellini filling in the center of each square, fold two opposite corners together to form a triangle, and press the edges together firmly to seal. Bring the two bottom points of the triangle together, overlapping them slightly, and press to seal. Transfer the tortellini to a baking sheet dusted with flour and cover with a damp towel.
Fill a large pot with water for the tortellini. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Drop the tortellini into the broth and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the tortellini with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, toss with ragù (tomorrow’s recipe) and serve with grated parmigiano reggiano and freshly cut springs of basil.