Making pasta with friends is one of the great pleasures of the kitchen. Like so many Italian dishes, making pasta is simple but it does require patience. Rolling out dough over and over until it’s stretched out across the kitchen is an act full of history and folklore. The secret of pasta has been handed down generation after generation for thousands of years, and as you make it, there’s a sense of upholding tradition, rather than bowing to modernity.
The whole dish takes a good few hours from start to finish, but most of it can be made ahead. The applesauce will keep for months in a jar, the dough will survive a few days in the fridge and the filling will happily keep overnight. Rolling pasta can be fiddly and infuriating, so invite some friends over and make use of their extra pair of hands.
—Sean St John
- Serves 4
- Pork & Apple Ravioli
For the Apple Sauce:
Apples - peeled & diced
lemon - zest
For the Filling:
Parmesan - Grated
For the Butter:
Chestnuts - Cooked & Peeled
Fresh Sage Leaves
- For the Pasta
Egg - Beaten
- Pork & Apple Ravioli
- Make the pasta.
- Core, peel and dice your apples. Add to a saucepan with the lemon zest and water. Cover and cook over a low heat until the apples are soft and mushy. Depending on apples, it can take between 10 and 30 minutes. Once soft, beat in the butter and sugar to taste. You want the sauce to be quite tart so it can cut through the pork and butter in the final dish, so don’t be tempted to make it very sweet. Set aside or jar up if making ahead.
- For the filling, heat the butter and sauté the onions and garlic on a low heat without browning for about 5 minutes. Add the pork and increase the heat. Brown the meat and break up the lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the oregano, chilli and season very well with lots of ground pepper and salt. After a couple of minutes, stir in the tomato paste and add the white wine. After another minute, add the chicken stock. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat. Then remove the lid and cook on a high heat again until the filling is quite dry.
- Remove from the heat and stir out any lumps. If the mix is coarse, pulse in a food processor. Once the filling is cool, stir in the egg yolks and parmesan.
- Remove the pasta from the fridge. Either roll out the pasta on a well-floured surface with a rolling pin, or use a pasta machine. With a rolling pin, work from the centre outwards, rotating the dough often. Roll until it’s very thin (about 2.5mm). If it tears, repair with pasta from the outter edge and water. With a pasta machine, start with the widest setting and feed the dough through to make sheets. Repeat the process, decreasing the width by one stop each run until you end up with a long, almost translucent sheet of pasta. Repeat with each ball of dough. It’s a lot easier to do this with someone than by yourself.
- Once rolled, cut into more manageable lengths. Place one sheet on to a floured surface. With the first sheet, lightly score into rough squares to mark the ravioli. We like them quite big, but others prefer smaller ravioli – it’s a personal preference. Place a teaspoon or so of filling in the centre of each ravioli square. Depending how wide your sheets are, you may get two alongside, or three, or even four. Then add ½ teaspoon of applesauce to each filling too. Once each square is filled, brush the beaten egg along the scored lines around the filling.
- Take another pasta sheet and place it on top on the other. Hopefully they will be almost identical in size and shape. Run your finger firmly around the fillings and along the scored marks.
- Using either a pastry cutter, or sharp knife, cut each ravioli. Repeat the process with the other two balls of dough if necessary.
- Set the ravioli aside on a parchment lined tray, ensuring the ravioli are well spaced out and not touching. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, chop the chestnuts and heat the butter on a low heat. Once the butter is hot, add the sage leaves and chestnuts and fry for a couple of minutes. Also get a saucepan of boiling salted water on the go. Once water is boiling add the ravioli to the water and cook until al dente – with fresh pasta it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, more like 3.
- Then serve with the butter drizzled over and perhaps a peppery rocket salad.
- For the Pasta
- Make a mound of flour on a large surface. Make a deep well in the middle of the flour and crack the 4 eggs into the centre.
- Whisk the eggs with a fork, gradually bringing in a little bit of flour. You may need to add a bit of cold water too as you bring the dough together. Slowly the dough should become soft and pliable but not sticky. If sticky, add a bit more flour, or if too dry, add a touch of water.
- Divide the dough into four pieces, wrap in cling film or tea towels and refrigerate for about an hour or until needed. The pasta will last a few days refrigerated.