I was sixteen years old the first time I went to Italy. It was my very first travel abroad and I didn’t know what to expect, but I remember how I instantly felt at home walking through the streets of Florence, no need of a map whatsoever. I had the feeling as I just would have been there before and yet everything felt so new and exciting. So many things have changed in my life since then, though my love for Italy has remained untouched and it has become even stronger after the many trips I’ve made during the years. Venice, Rome, Cinqueterre, Florence, heart of the wonderful Tuscany, the Amalfi coast, my beloved Sicily… I am never tired of visiting them. I love the language, the food, the wonderful landscapes, the art, the respect of the italians for their cultural identity… So it’s no wonder that there are times when I miss Italy so much that I have to bring it back to me at least for a while, and what could be a better way to do so than making my own fresh pasta. This time I took the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of the summer and I made the most delicate ricotta lemon ravioli and yes, it’s true, they demand love and patience but I just love the whole process, it has something therapeutic to me… nevertheless if you give it a try you will be rewarded with the taste of the italian summer in your kitchen and that should be enough!
- 300 gr. semolina (you can also use flour)
- 3 free range eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon extravergine olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- 200 gr. ricotta
- 50 gr. mascarpone
- lemon juice of half a lemon
- lemon zest of one lemon
- a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Rice flour (just to handle the pasta and dough more easily), cheesecloth, ravioli cutter
- Mix the semolina with the eggs, water and olive oil to form a soft dough. Knead the dough until smooth. I always use my KitchenAid but if you do it by hand 5-8 minutes kneading should be fine. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave the dough to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the pasta into 3 or 4 equal pieces and dust each of them with a little bit of rice flour. Starting at the lowest (thickest) setting of your kitchen aid pasta roller or your pasta machine, feed one piece of the dough through the machine. Change the setting on the pasta machine to the next-thickest setting, dust your pasta sheet again if needed and feed it through the machine again. Repeat this process 4 more times for each of the dough pieces until you reach level 5 of your KA pasta roller or your pasta machine. The sheets should be thin enough but still easy to handle without tearing.
- Strain a little bit the ricotta using a cheesecloth. This is a step you can ignore but to my taste it helps the filling texture to remain more creamy and moist. Mix all of the filling ingredients until well combined. Leave in the fridge to firm up.
- To make the ravioli, put a pasta sheet on your work surface and place a teaspoon of the ricotta/mascarpone mixture at equal intervals along the pasta, leaving a space of aprx. two fingers between them. As you might have noticed in the pictures, at this step I like to add a little bit of fresh herbs to the ricotta/mascarpone mixture. In this case I used thyme leaves. Brush the sides of the pasta sheet with water then lay another pasta sheet on top and carefully press down around each filling ball to remove any air. Cut in squares with your pasta cutter, then dust the ravioli with rice flour and repeat the process until finished.