When The Daring Kitchen asked me to review “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken” by Laura Schenone, I was excited because I had seen the book before and I have quite an interest in making ravioli. This particular ravioli is made with a special rolling pin that has a checkerboard pattern which makes ravioli very quickly. It's a fun method to try and I think if you are a beginner to ravioli, it is an especially easy method.
Laura Schenone is a food writer living in Hoboken, New Jersey who becomes a little obsessed in her search for the origins of the family ravioli recipe. The ravioli was originally made by her Italian great grandmother, Adalgiza, who immigrated to New Jersey from Italy. Her quest for this recipe leads her to long lost cousins and aunts across the country who finally send her the original ravioli recipe.
When she receives the original recipe, however, it contains a surprising ingredient – Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Laura is stumped by this – why on earth would her Italian ancestor make her ravioli with this very American ingredient? The recipe also contains ground veal and ground pork, but they are left raw in the assembly of the ravioli. She had never heard of leaving the meat raw in ravioli. She even consults Marcella Hazan and Giuliano Bugialli for answers. They are just as mystified. Her curiosity consumes her and in her search for the answers, she travels to Liguria, from where her great grandparents immigrated and learns ravioli making from all sorts of people. She realizes the absurdity of her quest to find the authentic recipe when she finds herself interviewing Sergio Rossi, director of the Genoa chapter of the organization devoted to conserving the culture and foods of the Mediterranean. He is a little confused about her search for such an authentic recipe and tells her, “There is no one taste,” he says. “Each village has its own way. Each family has its own way. Things vary even within a family. I can share with you my tradition, but not the tradition.” And there lies the great lesson of the book – there is no one way to make something.
I made the family’s traditional cream cheese ravioli recipe. I was anxious to know what the cream cheese would be like in the filling. This recipe calls for the raw meat, of course, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that so I did cook it and then put it through my meat grinder so it would be very fine, which is important when making a filling for ravioli. Otherwise, I made the recipe exactly from the book and it was delicious. I loved the tanginess of the cream cheese. I also liked using the checkered rolling pin because I believe you can make ravioli faster this way and my husband liked the fact that there were no “borders” around the individual raviolo and so the ravioli were mostly stuffing.
The meats need to be ground fairly fine for ravioli. I used my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment. If you don't have one, you can use your food processor.
If you would like to read the full review I wrote of the book, please go to The Daring Kitchen.
Adalgiza and Tessie's Ravioli
adapted from The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken
for a printable recipe, click here
Makes 250-300 ravioli. (I cut the recipe in half when I made it and had over 100 ravioli)
For the pasta:
- 5 cups of flour
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- 2 eggs (I doubled the amount of eggs)
- 1-1/2 cups water, approximately (start slow and use judgment)
For the Filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 or 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed, cooked, and all water squeezed out (I used fresh spinach, about 10 ounces, steamed, water squeezed out and then finely chopped)
- 1 pound veal, ground finely
- 1 pound pork, ground finely
- salt and pepper
- dash freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, finely minced, or 1 teaspoon dry (optional)
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3 eggs
Make your pasta dough, wrap in floured plastic, and let it rest.
Brown the meats in a fry pan. Let cool. Run the meat through a grinder (or food processor), so it is very fine.
In a large bowl, cream the cheese with an electric mixer until it is soft. Add the spinach, meats and seasonings. Mix well with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the cheese and eggs.
Roll out the dough very thin (on my rollers, I do not go past #5 for ravioli - otherwise the ravioli can break).
When you have two sheets of dough (or one very long sheet, cut in half) lay one sheet on your workspace, spread some of the filling thinly on the pasta, leaving a half inch border. Lay the other sheet on top. Roll firmly with the checkered pin. Cut the ravioli apart with a fluted pastry wheel.
Place the ravioli on a floured sheet pan. (If you want to freeze these, pop the pan into the freezer and place the frozen ravioli in ziplock bags. No need to thaw when you cook them). If you are not cooking the ravioli within an hour, place them in the refrigerator.
Continue to make the ravioli until all your filling is used.
Cook in a large pot of salted water for about 2-3 minutes. Don't let the ravioli boil too vigorously or they may break apart. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with a little marinara sauce.