[ NaBloPoMo madness: It is 9:15 p.m. on Sunday night and I have just driven from my home to my office in order to post because my husband is at home working on a deadline (a real work one as opposed to a NaBloPoMo one) using the only functioning computer we have there. Note to self: do something about the household computer situation.]
This was tonight's dinner but due to a recent revelation while reading one of Mario Batali's cookbooks they were prepared yesterday and frozen. I read that at Babbo all of their filled pasta is made within a day of its expected use and frozen. I almost always have concerns about loss of quality when food is frozen but if they're freezing pasta at Babbo, surely it's not affecting the quality of the pasta and it would be acceptable to do it at my house also. Freezing the ravioli makes it far easier to handle. No problems with ravioli becoming weepy and sticky as it sat waiting to be cooked and with the making of the ravioli out of the way this is very fast to put together.
This recipe appealed to me as soon as I read it because I thought the richness of the sauce would contrast nicely with the bitterness of the raddichio. I had a moment of major doubt at thepoint in the proceedings where I tasted the filling for seasoning and found the filling almost unbearably bitter. In an attempt to temper the bitterness of the radicchio, I added a lot more ricotta than called for, but in the end this wasn't really necessary because the richness of the butter and the sauce of cream and egg yolks really does balance the bitterness of the filling. I also skipped the reserved bits of radicchio in the sauce because I was so worried about bitterness and instead used parsley on top. Next time I try this I'll be brave and use the reserved radicchio too.
The only real downside of this is that the filling is the most lurid pinkish-purple which I don't think is the most attractive color when it shows through the pasta which you can see in the picture above. It's only a cosmetic thing though.
Radicchio Ravioli with Parmigiano Cream
Adapted from Molto Italiano, makes 8 servings
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, cut in 1/4 inch dice
4 heads radicchio di trevisio, in 1/4 inch dice, rinsed and spun dry
1 cup ricotta
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-regianno cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
fresh pasta (use this recipe using 5 eggs instead of 4)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter cut into 8 pieces.
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat and cook until translucent and lighly browned - about 6 or 7 minutes. Add all but 1/4 cup of the radicchio and cook until the radicchio is soft - about another 6 or 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
2. Stir in ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of the parmigiano-regianno cheese, the parsley, balsamic vinegar, and the salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
3. Roll out the pasta and fill it. I divided the pasta dough into sections and filled each ribbon as I finished rolling it. Cut the ribbons of pasta into 4 inch squares, place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center and then fold over to form a triangle carefully pressing the edges together. As you finish each ravioli, place it on a piece of parchment paper making sure that the raviolis don't touch each other. At this point you can either free the ravioli by putting it in the freezer on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and then moving it to a plastic bag once it freezes. Or you can go on to the next step and cook the ravioli.
4. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook the ravioli until tender -- about 3 or 4 minutes. If you are cooking frozen ravioli, add an extra minute.
5. Meanwhile, make the parmigiano cream by bringing the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the egg yolks, remaining cheese, and nutmeg.
6. Drain the ravioli, transfer to pan along with butter and reserved radicchio. Simmer gently over low heat for a minute or two, tossing gently to cover ravioli in butter. Place 3 ravioli on each plate. Spoon a little butter over the ravioli, then spoon on about two tablespoons of the parmigiano cream. Serve.