Red Wine Beef & Ricotta Ravioli

(Serves 4)

So, I got a pasta machine for Christmas, which paradoxically conflicted with my goal of being less of a carb monster in the New Year.
The first time I gave it a go, it was a complete disaster. I must have kneaded and rolled pasta out for 2-3 hours and, after I cooked it, it tasted of dry flour and slimy egg. I drowned my sorrows in red wine and ate some pizza, because when all else fails - wine.


I gave it a second bash, this time using Jamie Oliver’s fresh pasta recipe (as opposed to a combination of several I found online) and it turned out fantastic. The shredded beef filling I used was part of a joint I cooked a few weeks back and then defrosted. You can find out how to cook a beef joint on my Shredded Beef Taco recipe here.
I used red wine and ricotta cheese for the shredded beef filling, then created a Sicilian inspired spicy tomato sauce. I topped the whole thing with torn up basil and it was an absolute dream!

What you will need…


Filling:
  • 500g shredded beef (recipe here)
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 250g tub of ricotta cheese
  • 1 heaped tbsp. brown sugar
  • 100ml single cream
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese

Fresh Pasta:
  • 6 eggs (or 12 yolks)
  • 500g ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

     
For the pasta I used an Atlas 150 pasta machine but you can find cheaper ones on the market, just check the reviews before you buy. The best tips I can give from my personal trial and error, is to take your time. Do not to overdo the flour each time you dust the worktop to roll the pasta out. And knead the absolute hell out of it - if you're arms and hands aren't aching you're doing it wrong. You can find Jamie’s recipe here.

Once your pasta has had time to rest in the fridge and you’ve managed to roll it through your machine a quite few times, put your pasta through on the thinnest setting and repeat. You should be left with silky smooth sheets ready for your ravioli.


To make the filling, add the shredded beef along with a little jus to a saucepan. Carefully pick out any bits of fat leftover from the joint. Add ½ bottle of red wine and turn to a medium heat, stir regularly and leave to reduce for 10-15 mins. Add 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and season. At this point, make sure to give it a taste and season more if necessary. Add the ricotta cheese, mix well and turn the heat right down. You want this to reduce just enough so you can roll it into balls for the ravioli filling.

Once the beef filling is ready, turn off the heat and leave to cool down. If you add hot filling to your pasta sheets this will partially cook the pasta and you’re left with slimy sheets that just won’t bind together to make your ravioli parcels.
Once the beef has cooled, add a generous amount of filling to the sheets of pasta, cut into squares and follow these tips on how to secure your parcels.

Once you’ve got the hang of creating your ravioli parcels (time and patience required) then you’re ready to make the sauce. Heat up 4 good glugs of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and fry up the chopped up chillies and garlic (I use a garlic mincer) on a medium heat for 1 min, then add the tins of tomatoes. Add 1 small glass of red wine and season well. Leave to simmer for around 20 mins and stir regularly. Add 1 heaped tbsp. of brown sugar (this takes away the bitterness of the tomatoes) and 100ml of single cream. Taste the sauce and season accordingly.
You’re almost there. Add the ravioli to a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 2-3 mins. Drain the pasta well and serve up on large dinner plates. Pour over a generous amount of sauce, sprinkle over 1 tsp. of chopped fresh basil on each portion and finish with grated parmesan.

Enjoy with a nice Chianti.