This wholesome recipe brings back some of my childhood memories, I am lucky I am able to share them with my children
Have you thought how much food can have an impact on your memory? The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of places and settings. Food is an effective trigger of deeper memories of feelings and emotions, internal states of the mind and body.
We all have food memories and this recipe from my Nonna brings back some of mine…..
…. I grew up on the island of Sardinia coming from quite a large family with lots uncles, aunts and cousins. We all lived very close and our family life was ruled by traditional meals and wholesome food. I learned to cook from an early age, cooking was like a game for us children, some days instead of playing with dolls, we used rolling pins and wooden spoons …. BEI TEMPI! Good old times !!
I was around 7 years old when on a sunny afternoon after school I helped my Nonna make Ravioli for the first time. Making Ravioli was (and still is in our family) a proper gathering, so all my cousins, aunts ( and uncles too) would be there to help Nonna… actually Nonna would make it very clear that she was in charge and that everyone had to follow her instructions. Apparently I was spending more time in tasting the filling and playing with that edible play dough than kneading the dough and filling the pasta. For a little girl that was all that mattered at the time! and that recipe is a memory that I will treasure forever.
My Nonna Pasqualina /PAH-SKOO-AH-LEE-NAH/ was born on 11th April 1922 in small town called Bolotana
She was recently interviewed about her healthy life style and upbringing in Sardinia, at 96 years old she is still an inspiration for all of us and we can only look up to her and learn lessons on the way she lives her life ❤️ Grazie Nonna
You can read her beautiful story all in Italian in Chentannos. Thanks to the amazing Laura Mele for bringing back the memories of the centenarians in Sardinia.
For the Ravioli:
250g Plain Flour Tipo “00”
1 kg good quality of Ricotta cheese
Handful of Parsley, finely chopped
Water 1 glass
Salt, large pinch 1
tbs of Lemon zest
For the Sauce:
Tomato Passata , 2 bottles (680g per bottle)
White Onion, half, finely chopped
Basil, finely chopped 1bunch
Olive Oil, 2 tbsp
Salt, 1 pinch
Mix the ricotta cheese and the parsley. Add the lemon zest and salt. mix all. Stir it until soft and smooth. Add some more salt if needed.
Place the flour and the semolina on a board or in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add some water and mix it together
Once it is all combined, knead until you have a silky, smooth, elastic dough. You are aiming to achieve a play dough texture.
If your dough is crumbly (too dry) add a teaspoon of water. If the dough sticks to your hands (too wet) add a little extra flour or semolina. Cover with cling film and rest for 30 minutes.
Take a tennis ball-sized amount of dough, squash it flat with your fingers, push it through the pasta roller on the widest setting. Fold into thirds, then repeat 3 times. Once you have a rough square shape, start working it through the machine, taking it down one setting at a time, until the thinnest setting.
You should end up with a long sheet of pasta about 8-10cm wide. Place this on a flat surface with flour underneath to stop it from sticking.
Flour the ravioli mould and place one sheet of pasta over the ravioli maker. Gently press the pasta into the depressions of the mould to form cups. Place about a tablespoon of filling into each pocket
Place another sheet of pasta over the ravioli filling. Use a rolling pin to press the two layers of pasta together. Start with gentle pressure to press out any air and to form a seal. Then use more pressure to cut the pasta into individual ravioli. Peel off excess dough from around the ravioli. Turn the ravioli maker over and give the mould a shake. The ravioli should easily fall out of the mould. Dust the ravioli with some flour so they won’t stick together. In a large saucepan bring 1/1.5l water to the boil and add a table spoon of coarse salt. As the water is boiling gently place your ravioli into the water, 5 at the time. They will cook pretty quickly ( as soon as they floating you know they are cooked). Use a small colander to get the out and gently place them on a serving dish.
In a large pan put the olive oil, the onion and some of the basil. Put it on the heat until simmering. Add the passata, a pinch of salt and cover with a lid, cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the basil before serving.