What’s for Dinner?

How about bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin served alongside prune and walnut filled ravioli? That’s right–prune, p-r-u-n-e. And no screwing up of faces please. Don’t knock what you’ve never tasted. Trust me. Two or three of these Italian agnolotti will give you a whole new perspective on good eats.

 Prune and Walnut-Filled Ravioli My Way, Loretta Giacoletto

 (Note: This is a variation of my basic ravioli recipe. Filling and sauce ingredients have been changed for the Prune and Walnut version. These ravioli pair nicely with turkey or pork.)

Here’s the Ravioli My Way tools you’ll need, the ingredients, and step-by instructions for 50 ravioli, give or take, depending on their size.

Tools

  • Food Processor (unless you prefer to hand-mix your dough and hand-grind your filling)
  • Rolling pin (D prefers with handles; I prefer without)
  • Large work surface for rolling out dough and assembling ravioli
  • Pastry crimper or ravioli cutter to seal ravioli (no need to moisten the edges first)
  • Cookie sheet or two (on which to set ravioli while they dry out and/or later while they freeze)
  • Plastic freezer bag or two (unless you plan to cook right away)

Ravioli dough

  • 2 C all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 C fine 00 semolina flour
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ C water
  • ¼ C olive oil (I prefer extra virgin)
  • 3 extra large eggs

From the above ingredients, add to your food processor:

  • 1 C of the all-purpose flour
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ C water
  • Pulsate and then blend into a wet dough

Add the remaining ingredients to the wet dough:

  • Flour, semolina flour, olive oil and eggs
  • Pulsate again and blend until dough combines and moves away from the side of the processor, eventually forming a soft, pliable ball.
  • Remove dough from processor, knead briefly into a disc about 1” thick, wrap loosely in plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside.

Ingredients for prune and walnut filling

  • 1 C pitted prunes
  • 1 C walnut pieces
  • 1 C ricotta cheese (drained)
  • 6 amaretto cookies or ½ C wafer crumbs
  • ½ C raisins or currants (optional)

Add the above ingredients to food processor and pulsate until well-combined without turning into a pate.

Remove filling from processor and add:

  • 3/4 C good-quality grated cheese and/or
  • 1 or 2 T olive oil, if needed to hold mixture together.

Put filling in a container and store in fridge while rolling out dough.

Note: I don’t use a pasta machine but if you have one, go for it.

Rolling out dough

  • Lightly flour a large work surface. Your ergonomic preference may vary but mine is waist-high.
  • Divide dough in two pieces, unless you are really good at rolling out a monstrous piece, which is why I use Hubby D for this task.
  • Lightly flour rolling pin.
  • Lightly flour the disc of dough, only if it’s sticky.
  • Start rolling from the center toward you and from the center away from you.
  • Use light pressure to keep the dough even as you roll.
  • Roll to the edge of the dough, using the same amount of pressure with each stroke.
  • Lightly flour top of rolled dough, gently lift the dough and again flour the work surface underneath to prevent the dough from sticking. Increase pressure on rolling pin to achieve a thin layer of dough.
  • When dough is rolled to about 1/16 of an inch, it’s time to assemble the ravioli, one row at a time.

Assembling Ravioli

  • Starting one inch from the bottom of the rolled out layer and ½ inch from the left edge, place one teaspoon of filling every two inches until you reach the right side. (Lefties, reverse.)
  • Fold the one-inch border over the row of fillings and lightly press down with your fingers all the way across.
  • Still using your fingers, press firmly between each filling, making sure to release any air pockets. Again with your fingers, press firmly along the entire row, again making sure to release any air pockets as you go.
  • Using a pastry crimper, or ravioli cutter, cut across the row and then between each section. Bingo! You have made your first row of ravioli.
  • Set those ravioli on a lightly floured cookie sheet and continue the process until all the filling has been used.

If you don’t plan on cooking the ravioli that same day:

  • Set the cookie trays of ravioli in the freezer.
  • Hours later, or the next day, place the frozen ravioli in plastic freezer bags and return to the freezer until ready to use.

Cooking the ravioli

(About 8 ravioli per serving)

  • Drop ravioli in a large pot of gently boiling water containing 2T salt.
  • When ravioli float to the top, they’re done (about 3 minutes)
  • Remove ravioli from water, using a strainer or spider wire or large slotted spoon.

While the ravioli are cooking, make a simple sauce

  • Melt in a large skillet ½ C (one stick) unsalted butter
  • Add ½ C raisins or currants (Optional: soaked in rum or brandy)

Stir cooked ravioli into sauce, assemble both on a large platter.

Or:

  • Arrange cooked ravioli without sauce on a large platter and
  • Drizzle with a mixture of melted butter and honey.

Too much trouble, you say? Come on, you won’t know for sure unless you try.

###

About Loretta Giacoletto

Loretta Giacoletto is an American writer of family sagas, mysteries, and contemporary fiction, all of which contain elements of crime. She divides her time between the St. Louis Metropolitan area and Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks where she writes fiction, essays, and her bi-monthly blog, Loretta on Life, while her husband Dominic cruises the waters for bass and crappie. Their five children have left the once chaotic nest but occasionally return for her to-die-for ravioli and roasted peppers topped with garlic-laden bagna càuda. An avid traveler, she has visited numerous countries in Europe and Asia but Italy remains her favorite, especially the area from where her family originates: the Piedmont region near the Italian Alps. - See more at: http://www.loretta-giacoletto.com
This entry was posted in Cooking, Dining, Family, Food, Italian American, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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