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Author Notes: This was inspired by Charcutepalooza's May challenge in which we had to make bulk sausage. I opted to make merguez sausage, which originates in North Africa. After looking over common ingredients from that region I came up with this fusion dish. It is not something you can just throw together at a moments notice, but the flavor is worth every minute it takes. —Dabblings
Serves 10 (but the sauce and the ravioli can be portioned and frozen for a smaller meal)
Ravioli (Makes about 50 ravioli)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups semolina flour
- 1 piece salt
- 7 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound bulk merguez sausage
- 7 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint; finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dates; finely chopped
- 3-4 shallots; finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon harissa
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper; to taste
- 1 tablespoon water
- Sift together the flours and the salt in a large bowl. Make a deep well in the middle of the mixture. Crack the eggs and add the oil into the well. With a fork begin to work the eggs into the flour. When the mixture comes together around the fork, place it on a clean, well floured surface and begin to knead it.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes until it feels smooth. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 1/2 an hour. Put it in the refrigerator if you want to let it rest longer than that. If you do place it in the refrigerator give it a little time to come to room temperature before you use it .
- While the pasta dough is resting make the raviloi filling. Brown the merguez sausage in a ten inch skillet over medium heat, breaking it up with a fork. Once browned, remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
- In the remaining fat cook the shallots, the dates, and the harissa until the shallots have softened. Add this mixture to the sausage.
- To the sausage and the shallot mixture add the ricotta and the fresh mint. Mix it all together and check it for seasoning. (Mine was salty enough but I did end up adding a little black pepper.)
- Place ravioli filling into the refrigerator to cool. (This is where you are allowed to start getting excited.)
- Once the ravioli filling is cooled roll out the fresh pasta dough to the desired thickness using your pasta machine. Lay the pasta sheets on a lightly floured surface. Place slightly rounded teaspoon fulls about one inch apart on the rolled out sheets of pasta. I take one sheet of pasta and place the filling centered, on one half of the pasta sheet lengthwise. Brush in between the ravioli and down one edge with the egg wash (the egg and the tablespoon of water mixed together). Then fold the other half of the pasta sheet over the filling side. Gently press out any air pockets. Press firmly around each ravioli to seal and cut them into squares.
- Place the finished ravioli on a parchment lined baking sheet. At this point you can use them immediately, place them in the refrigerator if you are going to use them shortly, or freeze them for later on.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium sized onion; finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic; minced
- 3 ounces red wine
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes; 28 oz.
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano; finely chopped (Or 1 tsp. of dried oregano)
- 2 teaspoons ceylon cinnamon (Or start with 1 tsp. of cassia and add more until you can taste the cinnamon without it being overwhelming. You want the people eating it to say "Oh, there's cinnamon in that?".
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper; to taste
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup pine nuts; toasted
- 4 ounces feta cheese; crumbled
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is transparent.
- Add in the oregano and the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook stirring constantly for one minute.
- Add in the red wine. Cook until it is reduced by half.
- Add the crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered. Stir the sauce occasionally. Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil for the ravioli.
- When the sauce is done reducing add the almond milk. Test for seasoning. I added in the other 1/2 tsp. of salt at this point as well as some freshly ground black pepper. Do not let the sauce come to a boil after you have added the almond milk.
- When the water for the ravioli has come to a boil add in the ravioli. I gave each adult 4-5 ravioli. Because they are fresh, they will cook in just a few minutes. Remove them to plates once they are all floating at the top.
- Ladle sauce over the ravioli. Top with toasted pine nuts and feta cheese crumbles. Serve immediately.
- Pat yourself on the back.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Charcuterie / The Charcutepalooza Grand Prize Challenge