Friday, December 26, 2014

Sunday Recipe: Christmas Ravioli Filled with Prosciutto, Figs and Marscapone

Every Christmas and every Easter, I make ravioli, maintaining my great-grandmother's tradition. As long as I can stand and have the strength to knead the dough, I expect I'll make the ravs. I grew up on ravioli filled with ricotta (recipe below). That's the mother recipe for me and all subsequent recipes derive from that.

Still, now that I'm the boss of the kitchen, I always make a second type of ravs, just to keep things fresh and fun for myself. In the past I've tried them with swiss chard and chicken livers, with pears and marscapone, with mushrooms, with swiss chard and potato, and this year I'm giving them a new twist -- prosciutto, fig and cheese.

Let me give you this caveat -- making the dough is not as hard or as daunting as it may seem, but you do have to get a good bit of elbow grease into it. Also, it's not the sort of thing you can rush. My dough recipe and secrets can be found here, in my original ravioli post -- Gram's Christmas Ravioli. It's important to make the dough before you tackle anything else. It really helps if it can rest at least 20 minutes and I usually let it rest for about two hours while I have some coffee, make the filling and do any other prep. Most importantly, when kneading the dough, do try to work it until it's good and elastic. It should be soft and not quite tacky, but not dry either.

For the filing, you will need:
about dried 8 figs
1/4 to 1/3 of a pound of imported prosciutto
1 cup of marscapone cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup of grated or shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated romano cheese
healthy dose of freshly cracked black pepper

Here are the detailed instructions on the dough and assembly of the ravioli.

For the fig and prosciutto filling, it's pretty simple. I coarsely cut up the figs and the prosciutto and ran that through the food processor. In a large bowl, I mixed in the fig and prosciutto with the marscapone, ricotta, parm, romano and black pepper. You can adjust the ratios to suit your own palate, but I felt like the black pepper really added something to this, so I went kind of heavy in that regard.

I served these with my traditional Christmas sauce, but I think they would be fantastic with some sauteed greens (like chard or rapini), or just tossed in some butter.

Last note -- be careful not to overcook the ravioli. Nobody likes a mushy rav. Enjoy!