I am a big fan of easy recipes that do not require a lot of ingredients, are quick, and are still delicious. I also had red tomato sauce as topping for pasta way too often so that I am always excited about finding a new topping for fresh pasta (see previous posting). A new way (at least for me new – research online showed that this is pretty well known already) to eat pasta is with sage butter. I participated in an Italian cooking course recently here in Florence, and one of the dishes we learned how to make was spinach-ricotta ravioli with sage butter. Even though we received a booklet with recipes after the course, the recipe for sage butter was not included; it is so simple, it does not even need a recipe.
It is as simple as it sounds: butter and sage and salt and pepper to taste. Some online recipes do add a little bit of lemon juice, but I have never tried that. The ingredients are butter (I always opt for the grass-fed dark-yellow kind of butter) and fresh sage leaves. Several recipes online offer specific measurements of butter and fresh sage, but since I did not receive a recipe form my cooking instructor, I just go by gut feeling: how many people do I need to feed and how much do I like the sage taste, and I adjust measurements accordingly. The procedure is simple: melt the butter over a low heat and let brown, and add as many fresh sage leaves as desired (I like sage, so I add quite a lot). The leaves will turn a little crispy. Remove from the heat and toss the ravioli in the butter/sauce. It is as simple as that. If you like a more traditional recipe format with measurements, try this one I found online.
The cooking class also showed me how simple freshly-made pasta is:
- 2 eggs
- 50g (1/4 cup) of durum wheat flour
- 150g (close to a cup) of flour type “00”
- salt to taste
Mix the flours and make a large well in the center of the mound of flour (in a bowl or on a board). Add the two eggs into the well and add salt.
Beat the eggs with a fork and slowly start to incorporate the flour from the perimeter until a dough forms (start using your hands once the dough is pretty dry). Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. The movement was described by our instructor as push and fold: press the dough down with your hand and then fold it once to become a thicker ball of dough again; push with the ball of your hand to flatten the dough and then fold; and so on.
Once the dough is elastic (but be fast, so the dough does not dry too much for ravioli), cut the dough in half. Roll it with a pin, fold, roll, and repeat three times. Run the dough through the different settings of the pasta machine (6-4-2: at least for the machine we used). Fold the dough to fit exactly the width of the machine and repeat the process, but for ravioli end with the setting on 1.
Fresh egg pasta takes only a couple of minutes to cook; even filled ravioli will take only 4-6 minutes.
If you are not ready or do not have the time to make your own pasta, buy fresh pasta from a store and try the sage butter. The most time-consuming part of the recipe is then getting the water to boil. Buon Appetito.
In case you are curious, I took the cooking class with In Tavola.