These impressive ravioli aren’t as difficult to make as it may at first seem. [Photograph: Niki Achitoff-Gray]
Picture this: gorgeous oversized ravioli filled with a ring of creamy ricotta surrounding a perfectly intact, perfectly runny yolk. They’re rich, delicious, and freaking beautiful. This is the kind of dish that people talk about for years. Little do they know, it’s actually pretty effortless.
Why this recipe works:
- The ricotta filling creates a buffer that prevents the yolk from breaking during cooking.
- Draining the ricotta keeps the filling firm but creamy.
- Using starchy pasta water helps create an emulsified sauce.
- By rolling the dough thinly—but not too thinly—the ravioli holds their shape without sacrificing texture or flavor.
- Boiling the ravioli in unsalted water helps ensure that the dish, which includes salty pancetta, does not end up too salty.
Notes: Look for a high-quality ricotta that contains no gums or stabilizers, such as Calabro. If stabilizer-free ricotta is not available, you can make your own using this technique. Because these ravioli are large, it is necessary to finish the dish using 2 skillets, dividing the pan sauce ingredients and ravioli between them.
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- For the Ravioli:
- 5 ounces fresh ricotta cheese (see note)
- 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 recipe Classic fresh egg pasta
- 10 large eggs
- For the Pan Sauce:
- 2 ounces pancetta, roughly chopped, divided
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, divided
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 teaspoons fresh juice from 1 lemon, divided
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, for garnish
For the Ravioli: Lay a clean kitchen towel or a triple layer of lint-free paper towels on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread ricotta evenly over surface of towels. Top with a second clean kitchen towel or triple layer or paper towels. Press with hands or a second rimmed baking sheet and let stand until excess moisture has been absorbed, 5 minutes. Transfer ricotta to a medium bowl (it should come right off the towels).
Stir Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice into ricotta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. With a spoon, transfer filling into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip or a zipper-lock bag with a 1/4-inch hole cut from a bottom corner. Refrigerate.
Meanwhile, divide dough into 2 even sections. Working one section at a time, with remaining section tightly wrapped in plastic, roll dough through machine until sheet is just under 1/16th of an inch thick (typically second-to-last setting on roller). Cut sheet in half to create 2 pieces of dough roughly 15 inches long and 5 inches across.
Lay dough sheets out on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3 /12-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles as close together as possible; you should have 10 rounds of dough from the 2 sheets (if you don’t, re-roll dough scraps and cut more circles). Cover 5 of the dough rounds with a kitchen towel to keep moist and discard any remaining dough scraps.
Use pastry bag to gently squeeze out a ring of filling approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto each of the 5 uncovered dough rounds. Then pipe a second ring directly on top of each of the first ones.
Working one at a time, separate 5 egg yolks from whites and gently slide yolk into center of ricotta fillings.
Remove towel from the other 5 dough rounds, and, working one at a time and using a pastry brush dipped in water, very lightly wet the edge of each dough round. Set dough rounds on top of each raviolo, moistened-side down. Slowly working your way around each raviolo, press and stretch the top dough rounds to make the edges meet with bottom dough rounds. Press down gently on each filling to remove air bubbles, being careful not to press on yolks themselves, then press edges to seal. Transfer ravioli to floured parchment paper, cover with kitchen towel, and repeat Steps 3 through 7 with remaining portion of dough.
For the Pan Sauce: Bring unsalted water to a boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, in 2 large sauté pans, heat half of pancetta in each over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pancetta is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a plate. Add half of shallot to each pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add half of wine to each pan and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until wine is almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and return pancetta to each pan.
When water is boiling, gently slide ravioli into pot. Boil for 1 minute 30 seconds (ravioli will be slightly undercooked). Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Meanwhile, return skillets pan to low heat and melt half of butter in each. Evenly divide lemon juice, pasta water, and ravioli between both skillets. Swirl pans gently to until sauce is emulsified, approximately 1 minute.
Transfer 2 to 3 ravioli to each plate and spoon pan sauce on top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
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