Courtesy Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian (Knopf, 2017)
Ricotta is a common filling for ravioli in Italy, usually mixed with other ingredients like spinach, Swiss chard or leftover meats. Bastianich uses sausage. If you don’t want to make pasta dough, purchase fresh lasagna sheets and use them to create the ravioli.
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 small celery stalk, cut into chunks
- 1 small carrot, cut into chunks
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ pound sweet Italian sausage, without fennel seeds, removed from casings
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup fresh ricotta, drained overnight
- ¼ cup grated Grana Padano, plus more for sprinkling
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- Marinara sauce (see below)
Jump to our simple marinara sauce recipe.
In food processor, pulse onion, celery and carrot until finely chopped. In large skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Add vegetables, and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
In bowl, crumble sausage into small pieces. Add wine, and work in with your fingers. Add sausage to skillet, and cook, breaking up with spatula, until sausage is cooked through and in very small pieces, 4–5 minutes. Transfer sausage and vegetables into clean bowl. Let cool, then stir in ricotta, Grana Padano and parsley.
Cut pasta dough into four equal pieces, and flatten into squares. Roll through widest setting on pasta machine, fold in thirds, then roll again. Fold and roll once more to smooth and straighten dough. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough.
Roll each strip through progressively tighter settings of machine, stopping at next-to-last setting. Ideally, strips should be 6 inches wide.
Lay strip on floured surface. Place heaping teaspoons of filling at 4-inch intervals down lower half of strip. There should be 6–7 mounds per strip. Brush around filling with water, then fold top edge of pasta over and press to seal, being sure to leave a little airspace. Use pastry-cutting wheel to make even squares between mounds of filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Store ravioli on baking sheets lined with floured kitchen towels until ready to cook.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. In skillet, bring marinara sauce to simmer. Drop ravioli into water, and stir gently to separate. Simmer until al dente, about 2 minutes after water returns to boil.
Carefully transfer ravioli to marinara sauce. Add basil, and toss gently to coat pasta. Add pasta water if it seems dry. Sprinkle with grated cheese, toss gently and serve. Serves 6.
Angelo Ruggiero is the wine and beverage director at Becco, a Bastianich restaurant in New York City. With this dish, he recommends La Mozza’s 2011 Aragone from Maremma Toscana. “This delicious red wine from Tuscany’s Maremma region pairs with the richness of flavorful ravioli in marinara sauce,” he says. “It will hold its own against red sauce, sausage and ricotta cheese.”
At home, he might reach for the Montes 2014 Purple Angel. “The ripe, round fruit in this Carmenère-based wine from Chile pairs perfectly with the natural, mellow flavor of the pork in the sausage, while the soft tannins accentuate the creaminess of the ricotta,” he says. “This big wine is full-bodied enough to stand up to the rich tomato sauce.”