The pleasure derived from making it yourself at home is indescribable, and it’s especially good to get the kids involved.
Last week we looked at making basic pasta. Once you can make this dough consistently well, you will be able to adapt it to any type of pasta dish. For lasagne, for example, the pasta is sprinkled with flour and laid flat on a table, before it is cut into 20cm by 8cmpieces.
Ravioli is another easy but pleasing dish that can be made with fresh pasta. Here, the pasta is rolled and cut with a round cutter (approx 10cm) on a table sprinkled with flour.
The cut pasta should be placed on a floured tray and covered with clingfilm. Uncovered pasta will dry out and become difficult to use. The ravioli can be made in various sizes, depending on whether it is for a garnish, starter or main meal.
Basic ravioli filling
1 diced shallot
1/2 clove garlic
10g finely chopped chives
10g finely diced celeriac
50g diced guinea fowl
5ml olive oil
Pinch of sea salt, fresh milled black pepper
1. Heat the pan. Saute the shallot, celeriac, garlic and guinea fowl. Season and cook slowly for a few minutes. Add the chives, bind the ingredients together.
2. Remove from the pan and cool. When cool, bind into balls about 10g each.
3. To fill the ravioli, place the filling into the centre of the pasta sheet. Brush the pasta with the egg wash, cover with the other sheet. Press the sheets together, keeping the shape of the ball. Press down with your fingers, so they go around and close all the edges. With a 8cm cutter upside down, press it firmly on the ravioli to give it a shape like a flying saucer.
4. Cook in boiling chicken or guinea fowl stock (see stocks/SBP/October 14) with a drop of olive oil for four minutes. Strain season.
A variation on pasta is gnocchi, which is more filling as it is made with potato as a substitute for flour.
Gnocchi (serves four persons)
400g Maris Piper potato
3 egg yolks
50g semolina flour
10g unsalted butter
5g sea salt
1g grated nutmeg
3g fresh milled pepper
1. Wash and peel the potatoes then boil them. When cooked, strain the potatoes, add the butter, egg yolks and seasoning. Mix well until it forms a lump-free paste.
2. Add the semolina and mix well. Roll out into long thin strips, and cut into 3cm pieces and shape with the tips of a fork.
3. Cook in boiling salted water for five minutes, then strain.
4. Toss the gnocchi in olive oil or butter, and sprinkle with cheese.
Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. See www.thorntonsrestaurant.com