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X Italian Pasta Dishes
Ravioli (Square envelops, folded over, with curds and spinach)
Originated from: Italy
Occasion: Special times
Contributed by: Taken from "Simple Italian Cookery," by Antonia Isola (Harper and Brothers, 1912)

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2 1/2 cups of flour
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of cold water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Ravioli of Curds and Spinach
1 small bunch of spinach
1/2 pound of curds
One egg
Salt and pepper
Dash of nutmeg
A little grated cheese

Tossing Sauce
Tomato Sauce, or butter and grated Parmesan cheese


"Sift flour and salt together. Place on a board and make a well into which break the eggs. When you have kneaded them into the flour, add the softened butter, and gradually sufficient luck warm water to make a dough. Knead until smooth and easy to handle; cover and allow to stand for ten to fifteen minutes before dividing into two portions and rolling very thin on a lightly floured board, remembering to flour the pasta lightly between each of its several rollings.... But when your pasta has been rolled as thin as possible (remember, thin enough for you to be able to read the newspaper ? or at least the headlines ? through it), instead of rolling it into a roll as you have done when making tagliatelle, keep it in two large, flat sheets, or, supposing your pastry board is on the small size, a greater number of small sheets of thin pasta. As each sheet is rolled to the desired thinness, spread it on a clean cloth, and keep it covered with another cloth, so as to prevent its going crusty and becoming too breakable to handle. When your pasta is made and the filling you intend using is prepared, spread a sheet of the paste on to a floured pastry board, and dot with the filling at regular intervals, say a teaspoonful of filling at intervals of about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Cover lightly with the second sheet of pasta, after having brushed the 'walks' between the lines of filling with beaten egg to ensure that the second sheet of paste will close down over the filling. You may then either use a small round cutter, or, less tastefully, run a pastry wheel between the fillings so that you have a series of little filled envelopes of pasta. Transfer these to a floured dish, being careful not to let them overlap, and cover with a floured cloth or paper until you are ready to cook them. These can be made overnight if wished. To cook, have ready a large pan of boiling salted water and transfer your envelopes of pasta one at a time, until all are in the water, allowing them to cook for four or five minutes or until they rise to the top of the pan. Remove them one at a time with a perforated spoon or slice, place in a heated dish, and serve with a generous helping of melted butter and grated Parmesan, or with any preferred sauce. These little filled envelopes are equally delicious served in a clear consomme, as one more form of pasta in brodo."


This recipe was taken from "Italian Cooking" by Dorothy Daly. It was published in 1900 by Spring Books in Great Britain. For the complete copyright-free cookbook see www.archive.org. For a variety of recipes from this cookbook see Italy Revisited/"XXX Italian Cookbook by Antonia Isola"........ In the introduction to the ravioli section Daly says:"Having mastered the cooking of pasta of the macaroni and spaghetti variety, let us now proceed to the more involved types known broadly as 'ravioli' and 'gnocchi. Both may be made at home, and after a little practice made well, and although it is possible to purchase both types ready-made and needing only to be heated and added to a sauce, if there is time available to make one's own ravioli or gnocchi, the results are well worth while. Ravioli is the term loosely applied to the several varieties of little envelopes of paste filled with various forms of stuffing, and served either, like 'pasta asciutta', with a tomato or meat sauce, or, like 'pasta in brodo' in a clear consomme rather after the style of the Jewish 'kraplech', or the Chinese *pork pellets'. Once you have become expert in the art of making tagliatelle at home, you may, if you wish, use the same recipe for your ravioli, agnolotti, anolini, tortellini, or cappelletti, to give a few of the various names given to the many types of filled pasta." P.S. What's incredible about this recipe (at least what's incredible to me) is that the filling used for the ravioli is almost identical to the filling my own mother uses to make canneloni. I associated this style of cooking with Molise, the region my mother comes from, but it seems that when it comes to pasta, the recipes from the Northern and Southern regions are more similar than different (except, of course, for the tossing sauces, with the Northern regions favoring cheese-based sauces, and with the Southern regions favoring tomato-based ones). Photo and notes: Mary Melfi.

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