Over the weekend, I was asked to lead a cooking party, teaching a group of ladies how to make pasta, along with a few other things – but pasta was the main attraction. As you may know, I posted this recipe a few weeks ago when I made it with Momma Marsha, and neither her nor Nate were huge fans. They said it was fine, but something was missing. Seeing as though I planned to make it for this cooking party, I had to perfect it. Funny enough, all I did was add more cheese (mozzarella). Also, I used whole milk ricotta, rather than low fat, hoping it would give more flavor (though I don’t think ricotta has much flavor to begin with, which was probably part of the problem during the first run through). And it did, at least, that’s what Nate thought because he loved it the second time around. Note to self: if something doesn’t taste just right, add more cheese.
The ladies seemed to be pleased as well, so I would say this re-make was a success! I also changed the pasta dough recipe, as Chef Bush’s didn’t seem to work as well as the one I made with Momma Marsha. Much easier to work with.
Swiss Chard Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce
Source: Adapted from Chef David Bush/St. Francis Winery
For the smoked onion tomato sauce:
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 quarts tomatoes, diced
For the pasta dough:
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
For the pasta filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup ricotta
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1. Make the smoked onion tomato sauce. Place onion slices in foil and lightly wrap. Smoke in electric smoker on low for about 4 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Transfer onions from smoker to oven and cook until onions are soft, about 1 hour. In a food processor, pulse onions until coarsely chopped.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring tomatoes to a simmer. Add smoked onions and season with salt to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes to incorporate the smoked flavor. Place tomato mixture in food processor and pulse to make a slightly chunky sauce.
3. Make the pasta dough. Mix all ingredients in a food processor. It’s important that the dough not come together, rather resemble coarse cornmeal. Turn mixture out onto work surface and knead a few times. Add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
4. Make filling for ravioli. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add Swiss chard and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard to a mixing bowl and let cool. Add egg, breadcrumbs, salt, nutmeg, ricotta and mozzarella. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.
5. Separate dough into 4 portions. Using one portion, keeping the rest wrapped in plastic, knead and begin to roll out into sheets using a pasta roller. Place scoops of 1 tbsp filling on pasta sheets, leaving at least 2-3 inches (depending on how large your ravioli cutter is) and cover with second sheet of pasta. Press the dough firmly together around the filling, trying not to leave any air pockets. Cut individual ravioli with round cookie cutter or ravioli stamper. Repeat for remaining dough and filling.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add raviolis in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan. Boil for 3-4 minutes, remove and toss with smoked onion tomato sauce. Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.