Every Tuesday, Italian local Emiko Davies is taking us on a grand tour of Italy, showing us how to make classic, fiercely regional dishes at home.
Today: The perfect, punchy little ravioli dish.
I recently strolled through my favorite market in Florence and came across some intriguing ravioli all'arancia—small squares of ravioli holding a delicate filling of ricotta and orange zest. I was immediately hooked.
These orange-scented ravioli are a bit of a twist on very basic ricotta ravioli, and they are really as simple as can be. So simple, in fact, that you don't want to dress these ravioli with anything that will overpower the orange filling. You can eat them simply with some olive oil and Parmesan scattered over the top, or, for those who love their orange, add a few drops of orange juice and some very thin strips of orange zest, which give a bit of color. This recipe would also work very well with your other favorite citrus fruits—blood oranges, lemon, or clementine, in particular.
Don't be daunted by the thought of making your own ravioli. It's really pretty straightforward, if a tad fiddly your first time. If you don't have a pasta machine, just use a rolling pin—you'll need a bit more elbow grease, but it works just fine. Also, enlist the help of someone else—if you've got four hands, it's much easier to prepare the dough, not to mention quicker and more fun.
With such simple recipes and clear flavors, it goes without saying that you should go for great, quality ingredients. For the ricotta, seek out the very fresh kind that you can buy by the weight at a deli—it's firmer, less watery, tastes better, and will hold really well as a filling. For the oranges, go for ones without a waxy coating and preferably organic; the orange's skin is what is delivering the flavor here, after all. Finally, dress with good Parmesan, grated right at the table. And that's it—the perfect, punchy little ravioli dish.
For the pasta:
1 2/3 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 medium eggs
Pinch of salt
For the filling and assembly:
14 ounces (400 grams) fresh, firm ricotta
1 cup (100 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, separated
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Strips of orange zest, for garnish
Juice of half an orange
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Photos by Emiko Davies