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, then 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 organic if possible; 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.
Note that this dish would normally be served as a first course to be followed by a main, so in this case, the portions indicated below are plenty for 4. —Emiko
- Serves 4
- For the pasta:
1 2/3 cups
(200 grams or 7 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Pinch of salt
- For the filling and assembly:
(400 grams) fresh, firm ricotta
(100 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
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
- Put the flour on a clean flat surface (or in a bowl), and make a well in the center. Crack the eggs in the well. With a fork, begin to whisk the eggs, incorporating the flour little by little until you can no longer whisk with the fork. Use floured hands to combine the rest of the flour. Knead for a few minutes or until smooth. Wrap in plastic and let it rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Combine the ricotta, half of the Parmesan, the egg yolk (save the white for later), the orange zest, and a pinch of salt. Chill until needed.
- To make the pasta, cut the dough into 4 even pieces. Take 1 piece of dough (keep the rest of the dough covered with a tea towel or plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out) and roll it out using a pasta machine, working down to the second most narrow setting. The dough should be thin enough so that you can begin to see your hand through it but not too thin that it can't support the ricotta filling.
- Working on a floured surface and with strips of pasta about 4 inches (10 centimeters) wide and as long as you like, place 1 level teaspoon of filling onto the pasta sheet no more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) apart. Beat the reserved egg white and brush it around the filling. Fold the pasta in half lengthways, and press down gently around each spoonful of filling. Be careful not to trap too much air, as the ravioli can burst when cooking. It helps to work from one side to the other, pushing the air out as you work your way around the filling. With a fluted pastry wheel cutter or a sharp knife, trim the length of the whole sheet of pasta on the open side (not the folded side), then separate each ravioli by trimming evenly so that you have about a 1/3-inch border around the filling. (You can save the trimmed pieces, knead them together, and continue using them; cover when not in use to avoid drying.) Continue until you finish the pasta and filling—or whichever comes first.
- Place the finished ravioli on a baking sheet or flat surface lined with parchment paper, and keep them covered with a tea towel while make the others. They will dry out somewhat the longer you leave them, and this is perfectly fine, but if you are leaving them for a significant amount of time, keep them in the fridge. Once you've made all the ravioli, cook in a saucepan of salted, boiling water over a medium heat until al dente, about 5 minutes.
- When they are ready, drain the ravioli with a slotted spoon into shallow bowls and garnish with the rest of the Parmesan, strips of orange zest, orange juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.