The culinary use of lemons is often limited to garnishes, desserts or liqueurs. But this citrus fruit can do so much more than simply flavour water and liquor and it was eating and cooking in Ravello, Italy that taught me this. The Amalfi Coast isn’t just home to beaches, sun and sand; this area is an agricultural region that produces lemons for the Italian and European markets. Everywhere you turn you’ll see the image and presence of the mighty lemon, but this isn’t just any type of lemon, this is the limone sfusato: a type of lemon that is grown only on the Amalfi Coast that boasts a size and flavour that is unrivalled the world over.
To highlight the crown jewel of agriculture in this region, and to celebrate summer on the Amalfi Coast, Tavola will be posting a week’s worth of recipes featuring lemons under the title of “A Week in Ravello”. This recipe is one of the seven included in this series. These recipes were created using ingredients picked from the gardens, bought from the markets and pulled off the fishing boats by the beautiful people who work and live year-round in this region. If you have an opportunity to try these recipes don’t hesitate to use lemons that you can find at your local markets wherever you are in the world. But if you find that one day you can make the trip to the Amalfi Coast, be sure to try these recipes out using the real limone sfusato.
Ricotta Ravioli with Lemon Brown Butter Sauce
- 2 cups of all-purpose white flour
- 1 cup of durum/semolina flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 eggs (beaten)
- 2 cups of ricotta
The first tool you’re going to need is a good ol’ heavy-duty hand-crank pasta roller, the kind you attach to your counter with a vice. Mine is a Marcato Atlas Pasta Roller and Cutter. You can find them in any good culinary supply shop for about $50-$75 depending on where you live, or you can go old-school and use a rolling-pin and some good old-fashioned elbow-grease.
Make your dough on the counter (by hand) or in a food processor. Once the dough has been made and formed into a nice tight wad, cut the dough into four pieces and place it in a mixing bowl with a damp rag or saran-wrap over top to keep it moist. Take a quarter-section of the dough and begin to roll it. Start at level 1 (thick) on the roller and roll the dough as evenly as possible. Level by level (1 to 6) you’ll turn that wad into a nice strip of dough that is quite thin. It should be fairly dry as well and won’t stick to any surface. Once the dough has been thinned on level 6 it’s time to lay it on a floured cutting board and begin making the ravioli.
Fill a small bowl with water and prepare a clean surface and dust it with flour. Lay the first rolled sheet of dough out onto the surface and add approximately a teaspoon of ricotta onto the sheet about an inch apart. Depending on how you want to make the ravioli (with a mold and rolling-pin, a ravioli stamp, or by cutting with a knife, for eg.) make sure you leave enough space on all sides of the ricotta filling to seal the ravioli. Once the ricotta filling has been evenly placed on the bottom sheet of dough, wet a finger and moisten the area between the fillings. Add a second sheet of pasta on top and press it down firmly between the fillings. Slice with a sharp knife (or stamp each section or roll with a rolling pin if using a mold) to section each ravioli off. Leave the ravioli to sit and dry on a flour-dusted plate or cutting board while you make the rest. When all the ravioli have been formed, leave them to dry while you put water on to boil. Once the water has reached a boiling point, drop the ravioli in one by one and set a timer for approximately 10 minutes. When they begin to float to the top after 10 minutes, the ravioli are ready to dress and eat! Time to prepare the sauce:
Lemon Brown Butter Sauce
- 1/2 cup butter
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of cream
In a frying pan, heat the butter, garlic, sugar and lemon zest until it starts to bubble. Turn down the heat to low and squeeze the juice of one lemon into the butter and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the cream bit by bit making sure it doesn’t curdle. Turn off the heat once the sauce is blended well. Once the ravioli is done, strain and toss them in the lemon butter sauce. Serve and garnish with parsley and grated pecorino romano, grana padano or parmesan cheese.
Buon Appetito! Good eating to you…
Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions about this recipe below.