STEPS 6, INGREDIENTS 8, TIME 70-90 MINS
This scrumptious ravioli recipe was officially the second recipe I invented myself (the first being this super-simple red pepper spaghetti dish).
I made this page’s buttery ravioli, served them to Mamma Marisa (who was staying with us at the time), and much to my relief she proffered the immortal words, “Molto buono”. The result? One stupidly proud Brit son-in-law… 🙂
The truth is though – that what Marisa munched was my second attempt at this dish, as the first time I tried to create this ravioli recipe it turned into a real sticky icky mess.
We literally had to scrape the gooey parcels off the plate, to the extent where half of them weren’t even cookable.
The lesson I learned? When making meat-free ravioli parcels, you should either cook or freeze these straight away.
If not, and instead you leave them on a plate or worktop to dry for later in the day (even if the surface is covered with flour or non-stick paper,) they will stick to it like limpets, their internal mixture gradually seeping through and turning the outer pasta into soggy sticky mush. (According to an Italian colleague, this doesn’t happen with meat-stuffed ravioli.)
Therefore I suggest you attack this ravioli recipe either with freezing in mind, or around an hour or so before you want to eat dinner. You’ll produce a really special lttle dish… small half-moon ravioli (strictly speaking pansotti) with glorious mashed sweet potato filling, the leafy aroma of sage, and coated in a simple yet luxurious buttery sauce with the subtle final crunch of toasted pine nuts.
The cooking and preparation process, as with most ravioli recipes, is not actually super complicated. It just takes a little time. So pop your patient hat on, breathe deep and plod through the actions below step by step. I promise… anyone who gets their laughing gear around these sumptuous little pasta parcels afterwards will love you for it!
500g/8.8oz general purpose/plain white flour (ideally super-fine or type ’00’ double zero)
3 good sized sweet potatoes
2-3 full tablespoons of fresh/dried sage leaves
5 tablespoons of soft butter
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
Extra virgin olive oil
STEP 1 – First, we need to get our sweet potatoes baking (softening their insides to we can make our ravioli fillings). We will also toast the pine nuts at the same time.
– Rinse each sweet potato and prick each a few times with a fork.
– Pop in a pre-heated oven at 180C / 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 mins.
– After 20 mins, pop the nuts in there too (on a baking tray or in a baking dish).
When’s it all ready?
– When you can slide a knife the potatoes easily, they are ready. Take out, chop each in half and leave to cool.
– You want the nuts to be lightly browned. Just keep your eye on them though – they go from normal to burnt quite quick!
STEP 2 – While the potatoes cook, I find this the perfect time to make the fresh pasta (but if too stressful for you, just wait until your nuts and potatoes are ready and out of the oven, no worries).
– To make your fresh pasta, simply follow the directions on this page.
– Be sure to roll the pasta out as flat as possible (ideally right down to 1mm thin).
Tip: If you have access to a pasta maker, this can be a great help and will really speed up the rolling process.
STEP 3 – When you have your flat rolled pasta dough, take a perfectly round cookie cutter (or an upturned glass), measuring around 2-inches across, and use this to chop your pasta dough into circles. These circles will form our pasta parcels.
STEP 4 – For the ravioli filling, take a teaspoon and scoop out the softened insides of the sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl.
– Drop in one teaspoon of the butter, ideally a little soft.
– Rinse the sage leaves, take half of these and chop finely. Then add these chopped bits into the bowl too, along with a pinch or two of salt.
– Use a potato masher or fork to mash this filling until it has an almost smooth consistency.
STEP 5 – Now we’ll fill and close our ravioli parcels.
– Blob a good half a teaspoon of the mixture onto the center of a few dough circles.
– Fold each over in half – keeping the mixture inside with your finger if required – then use a fork to seal the edge of the circle, creating a neat little raviolo (or pansotto).
– You will gradually work out the perfect amount of potato mixture you can fit in your parcels, depending upon their exact size.
– Place your finished parcels on a large and very well-floured plate (or inside a plastic container if going in the freezer).
– Repeat until all the ravioli are made.
STEP 6 – Since the ‘sauce’ is simply melted butter with the remaining full sage leaves thrown in, your best bet is to start this and then immediately get your pasta cooking.
– First, bring a large, deep and well-salted pan of water almost to the boil (for the ravioli). Add a glug of olive oil too, which helps avoid fresh pasta sticking together.
– While this sits ready, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan on a medium heat hob. Add the remaining full sage leaves to this. You are aiming to melt the butter, then crank down the heat a little to it just warm and liquid while the ravioli cook and add the nuts now too.
– Bring the pasta water to a full boil, add the ravioli and cook until they all rise to the surface, plus a minute or two more. (If in doubt, spoon one out and check its pasta is nicely softened).
– Last up, drain your pasta parcels, then delicately plop them into the buttery pan, and mix through.
To serve: if you have any extra sage leaves, you can garnish with a couple atop each bowl of pasta. I like to also have some bread handy for mopping up all that naughty buttery sauce.