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Potato Raviolis

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Italian comfort food on steroids. Only Italians love pasta enough to stuff it with such plain ingredients as a potatoes. Right they are, these make for a highly refined dish - and very affordable.

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Outside Italy homemade pasta is associated with the rarefied atmosphere of expensive gastronomic restaurants. This applies especially to stuffed pasta (ripieni) which most people think is only eatable with a lobster and caviar stuffing. But in Italy many people do pasta at home and they use very humble ingredients to very good effect, like for instance beans pasta. This week I'll show you how to make a simple and very popular dish - potato-stuffed raviolis. This is a very popular family recipe in the North of Italy, comfort food on steroids if you will. Please consider that Italians love their pasta so much that they give them hundreds of love names - babytalking in the kitchen is what it is. So you'll find these as raviolis or tortellis or agnolottis depending on the region or restaurant.

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Start by preparing one egg's worth of pasta dough per guest. How much flour will depend on the size of your eggs and the relative humidity in your kitchen that day, but as a rule of thumb for 70gr eggs (2 oz) I use about 100gr (3 oz) of flour. Mix flour and eggs either by hand in a small volcano or using a big-ass kitchen mixer like on the picture.

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Knead for about 10 minutes, then roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic foil and store in a cool place for about one hour.

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Meanwhile, let's prepare our stuffing. Boil 2 large potatoes or 4 small potatoes per guest until cooked through. Use starchy potatoes if you can.

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Finely dice a small onion for each two guests and fry it in a little butter in a hot pan until soft.

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Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, then when the onion is soft, add to the pot.

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drop a tablespoon of tomato concentrate or just enough to give a rosy color to your potatoes ...

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... and mash them to a pulp.

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Add just enough cream or milk to get a smooth but not too runny mixture.

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Add as much grated Parmesan as you like - for me that means a lot, but some people will only use a tablespoon. Just add some, taste and add more if needed. You can grate the rest on the finished tortellis.

Next page you'll see how to stretch the dough and shape the raviolis/tortellis!

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