Saturday 10 January 2009

Recipe: Fish Stuffing for Ravioli

For years, by far my favourite pasta was the black ravioli filled with Cod that Claudia sold in Vettovaglie; cooked as soon as the water came back to the boil, and served with just a coating of melted butter, the flavour was always excellent. Even after I began to make my own pasta again, last year ( after Claudia had disappeared and her beautiful shop had been transformed into an anodyne aladdin's cave selling sweets and over-decorated cakes) I held off trying to replicate this particular dish... probably from an undue sense of diffidence.

I shouldn't have done.

The following recipe is straightforward, and absolutely delicious. Even better, I think, than Claudia's version used to be. You don't have to use black pasta, if no squid ink is available, but it's better if you can, as the result is better aesthetically, and the ink imparts a slight tang to the pasta which works well against the creamy fishiness of the stuffing.

The quantities given here will leave you with enough stuffing to fill ravioli for four, with sufficient left over to make fish pithiviers as a starter for dinner later in the week.

For Four:

Ingredients: Black Pasta, made with 2 cups of '00' Flour, 3 Eggs, a generous pinch of Salt, a teaspoon of of Olive Oil, and a teaspoon of Squid Ink; 1 medium White Onion; 1 oz Butter; 2 large Anchovy Fillets; 14 oz Cod Fillet (or similar fleshy white fish); 1 cup White Wine; 5 oz Ricotta; 1 Egg; Salt & Pepper.


1. Make the Pasta dough in the food processor, and leave it to rest as you prepare the stuffing.

2. For the stuffing: sauté finely diced onion in melted butter for three or four minutes until it is translucent, add the Anchovy and cook for a further couple of minutes, stirring, to break up the fillets. Add Cod Fillet, cut into half-inch dice, raise the heat, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes, then add the Wine and reduce until the liquid has almost all gone. Remove from the heat, and leave to cool down for a few minutes before you stir in the Ricotta and the Egg. Before using, taste the stuffing and add seasoning as necessary.

3. Roll out the Pasta Dough into sheets about a foot long, and use each one to make five ravioli, using a teaspoon of stuffing in each one.

4. Bring to the boil a large pan of salted water, and add the ravioli to this. They're cooked as soon as the water returns to the boil, and the ravioli rise to the surface.

Serve, tossed in melted butter.

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