Today I’m sharing this fabulous Parmesan recipe as part of #stayhomewithParmesan.
Did you know that Parmigiano Reggiano (to give it its full name) was first produced by monks in the Middle Ages? It’s produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma,, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantua. I’ve been there and you can inhale the aroma of Parmesan in the air – well, I thought so anyway.
Cattle are reared on farms in the area and fed on locally grown forage. Their milk is used to produce the famous cheese – 550 litres of it for each wheel. That’s a lot of cows and a lot of milk which means production must go on even in the time of Corona.
Having been immersed in a salt and water solution, the wheels are matured for a minimum of 12 months when a quality inspection is carried out. This is when the ones that are of the standard required are marked with the hot iron brand and officially become Parmigiana Reggiano.
How’s this for a sight to behold. Parmesan as far as the eye can see? Fabulous.
So now, let’s get cooking. #stayhomewithParmesan
Liquid Parmesan ravioli in broth
This makes an impressive starter for a dinner party, or a delicious meal with the addition of some sautéed wild mushrooms. The trick is to make the ravioli nice and small, so that they can be eaten in one bite and allow the delicious parmesan filling to burst in the mouth.
You can use thin, fresh pasta sheets from good food delis if you do not have your own pasta machine.
Serves 4 as a starter
For the pasta
200g 00 flour
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
i tsp extra virgin olive oil
2g sea salt
30ml cold water
For the filling
80g double cream
40g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
A pinch of salt
For the broth
600ml good quality chicken stock
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
100g mixed wild mushrooms
For the pasta
To make the pasta dough – place the flour, salt, eggs and oil in a food processor bowl and begin to mix on low speed. Once the mixture is evenly mixed, start to add the water a little at a time until the mixture begins to come together into a ball. Stop mixing, remove the pasta dough and knead gently for a few seconds until you have a smooth ball of dough. It should not be sticky, but knead in a little extra flour if you feel you have added too much water. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least one hour.
For the filling
Next, make the filling – pour the cream in to a small saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring regularly. Meanwhile mix the parmesan, cornflour and salt together in a small bowl. Once the cream is warm, add the cheese and cornflour mix and continue stirring over the heat. As the mixture heats up the cheese should start to melt, and eventually the mixture should thicken to resemble a thin custard once the cornflour has activated (at about 80°C). At this stage pour the mixture in to a suitable dish, cover with cling film and leave to set in the fridge for at least one hour.
Make the ravioli
To make the ravioli – set up your pasta rolling machine. Cut the pasta dough in half and shape in to a rectangle that is almost as wide as the rollers of your pasta machine. Begin rolling the pasta through the machine, starting at the widest setting and gradually decreasing the size until the pasta is so thin that you could read a newspaper through it. Remember to gently flour the pasta and machine to avoid sticking.
Gently flour your work surface and lay your rolled pasta sheet over the top. Take teaspoons of the set parmesan filling and quickly roll them in to balls in your hands, before placing them along the bottom half of the sheet of pasta. Lightly press the balls down with your thumb to form them in to disc shapes.
Do 5 at a time and space them about 2 inches apart. Wet your index finger with some cold water and run it around each of the balls of filling, before taking the top half of the pasta strip and folding over the fillings to meet the bottom edge of the sheet.
Use your fingers to press the top layer of pasta on to the bottom one, taking time to work any air pockets out before making the final seal of each ravioli. Use a circular cutter or a small knife to cut out the raviolis and set them aside. Continue with the remaining pasta and filling mixture. Remember to keep any pasta you are not currently using well covered to avoid drying out.
Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan with a small pinch of salt. Taste and add more salt if required. Carefully drop the raviolis in and set a timer for 3 minutes. Gently swirl the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking of the ravioli. Once cooked, divide the raviolis in to serving bowls and pour over a little of the stock. Garnish with grated Parmigiano Reggiano, the fresh chives, and with the sautéed mushrooms if using.