Seabass Ravioli from Ischia---Ravioli All' Ischitana
- 3 1/2 cups flour, plus 1/2 cup for dusting the work surface
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons plus 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 pound sea bass fillet, or any flavorful, firm fish such as sole, halibut, or grouper, skin and bones removed, flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves, plus 3 tablespoons whole leaves
- 1 large Idaho potato, boiled, peeled and mashed
- 1 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
- BASIC TOMATO SAUCE:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
- Salt, to taste
To make the pasta: make a mound of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs and oil. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and oil and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well.
As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Do not worry that this initial phase looks messy. The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated.
Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up and leftover crusty bits. Discard these bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead it for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
While the dough rests, in a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat 4 tablespoons oil until smoking. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the fish pieces and saute, stirring constantly, 8 to 9 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Remove fish to a mixing bowl and allow to cool. To the mixing bowl, add the 3 tablespoons chopped marjoram, mashed potato and 6 tablespoons oil and stir to mix well, being certain to break up all of the fish. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Roll out pasta to the thinnest setting on a pasta rolling machine and place on a lightly floured surface.
If you have a ravioli-cutting rolling pin, cover the layer of pasta with a 1/4-inch thick layer of the sea bass mixture. Place an equal sheet of pasta over and press down lightly with your hands. Carefully roll the 2 sheets together with the roller to form the ravioli. Using a pastry cutter, cut the ravioli apart by running down between the ravioli.
If you do not have a ravioli-cutting rolling pin, then cut a single sheet of pasta at a time into rectangles 2 by 1-inch. Place 1 teaspoon of the fish mixture into the center of each rectangle and fold the pasta down like a piece of notebook paper and seal to form a 1-inch square. Repeat until all ingredients have been used.
Bring 8 quarts of water to boil and add 3 tablespoons salt. Drop the ravioli in and cook 6 to 7 minutes, until tender and fully cooked. Meanwhile, in a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, combine tomato sauce, remaining oil and marjoram leaves and place over heat. Drain the ravioli, reserving cooking water, and add ravioli to the pan with tomato sauce. Toss the pasta to dress it with the sauce, adjust the moisture of the sauce with pasta water, if necessary, and serve immediately.BASIC TOMATO SAUCE:
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Yield: 4 cups
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