With my girlfriend visiting and some scorching temperatures in Valencia I decided to have a short break from the labour-intensive pig parts and cook some lighter dishes. This is a wonderful flavour combination and inspired by a ludicrously expensive Italian stall in the market. I have been desperately searching for the origins of this pasta but to no avail. Naples, Sicily and Florence are all possibilities but no sign of the Ricotta combination, instead many using Gorgonzola or Taleggio.
I haven’t put a recipe down for fresh pasta because if you have made it before then you probably know what works for you, and if not then there are many resources that can explain the process much better. If you have access to fresh, large eggs then the classic combination of 100g flour : 1 egg should work for you. Most of us will find the need for extra egg yolks to compensate for the industrial quality eggs available. A good knead and rest time will make all the difference. I also find rolling quite satisfying and therefore people shouldn’t be put off if they don’t own a machine, just remember you’re aiming for a level of thinness where anything underneath the dough can be made out when held to up to light.
These pretty little ‘bows’ are a bit more special than the standard ravioli, but of-course this filling can be used to fill any shaped pasta.
Fiocchetti di Pera e Ricotta with Sage and Walnut Butter
500g fresh pasta dough, rolled to a thin sheet
3 medium pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
100g ricotta, drained
seal salt and black pepper
small handful of sage leaves
small handful walnut kernels
Heat 10g of the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat, add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt, when dissolved add the pears. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelised and cooked throughout.
Remove from the heat and blend well until a thick liquid consistency. Set aside to cool.
When cool, mix well with the ricotta and season with pepper and a little salt.
Cut the pasta into small rectangles and place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre. Pinch opposite sides together working your way around until the centre above the filling is pinched firmly closed and the pasta above fans out.
But the fiocchetti on a baking tray or plates and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to dry a little.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil and when ready add the fiocchetti. Stirring carefully once to separate them. Leave on a high heat for around 2 minutes. They should start to rise to the surface when ready.
Whilst cooking, place the rest of the butter on a saucepan on a medium heat.
When cooked, remove carefully with a slotted spoon to a colander set above a large bowl.
Add the walnuts and sage to the now melted butter and combine. Add the pasta, stirring to coat it well but being careful not to break the casing. Taste one and add any further seasoning if required. Serve.