i’ve been seeing this dish around. and then i spotted it on ruhlman’s blog . and that was pretty much it for me. call it a defining moment - but i’d already been tempted, and now this pasta had to happen in my kitchen – and soon.
i immediately began mentally preping the raviolo’s by going through the ‘mise’ in my mind. first came the cheese situation. because if i was going to make these beauties, i was going to have to use sheep’s milk ricotta, with a much more compelling flavor than the sweeter and widely available cows milk version. and it’s hard enough to procure this ricotta in a major metropolis – but in middle tn? fuhgeddaboudit. and believe me when i tell you that i gave it all i had. n/a.
so as i am wont to do, i clicked my way to ricotta heaven by simply relinquishing my amex # – yet again – for a pricey foodstuff. but i’ve got to tell you that tony at pastacheese.com came through for me. i love this guy. he’s like the italian uncle you always wanted. sooooo nice. sooooo willing to do whatever it took, working with my schedule, packing it extra cold, calling me back after checking with his supplier. all that for 3 measley pounds of ricotta. it’s flown in from italy, and then it flies out, right to your doorstep – still as fresh as if you were sitting in sardinia sipping a limoncino waiting for your raviolo to arrive. and yes, shipping kills. but damn if it wasn’t worth the airfare…
final talley? $60. and i’d do it again.
so, on a martha re-run (that freakin’ woman gets on my very last nerve – but has undeniably the best guests) odette fada, chef at san domenico’s, whipped up a more wintry version of her raviolo’s using spinach, ricotta, parmigiano and nutmeg, and about $500 (not kidding) of white truffles from alba. so be sure to run and get yourself some this autumn. mmmk? oh, and while you’re getting that, get this – martha actually had the audacity to say "we save up for this one dinner…" and i literally felt myself seethe. it was a very unzen moment for me and i’m not proud… BUT REALLY MARTHA… please spare us the bullcrap as we all know you can shit white truffles from alba, ok?
i stuck with ruhlman all the way. i wasn’t able to get any espellete on the quick, but next time i’ll have it in my pantry (it’s on order). i made do with a sprinkle of cayenne, some organic valencia orange zest, finely minced shallot and chive and salt. my eggs were bought the day before from the amish at the nashville farmers’ market and the pasta was made with ap flour, whole eggs and a touch of water. we rolled it thin and here’s how it all came together…
after about 2 minutes at a slow but steady boil in salted water, the raviolo’s are carefully removed and browned butter is spooned over the top.
if ever there were a pasta that i look forward to perfecting, this would be it. the first try came out nicely but i’m going to try and get some fluted edged round dough cutters and perhaps let the raviolo’s cook an extra minute next time – just to tighten up the yolk a bit more. but don’t get me wrong, it’s a damn sexy dish and everyone was collectively swooning. but this one is absolutely worth getting as close to perfect as you can.
i feel that the ruhlman version is the much better warmer weather option, the orange zest really brightening everything right up. but this winter i’ll definitely try odette’s, with spinach and nutmeg, although depending on the price of truffles, i may be relegated to using just the truffled butter.
and i can totally live with that.