CLASSIC pasta mezzaluna (or agnolotti) with a rich meat filling, with a mushroom sauce








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It is generally agreed that the richest fillings for ravioli (or mezzaluna or agnolotti) come from the Piedmont region, where complex, wonderful fillings are king (to go with the king of Italian wines, Barolo). This recipe is adapted from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano (see library).

for the filling:

  • eight tablespoons (one quarter pound) of unsalted butter
  • one medium onion, finely diced -- one cup plus
  • six ounces of boneless chicken breast, finely diced
  • four ounces of sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing, and finely chopped
  • two tablespoons ricotta
  • one quarter cup of grated Italian Fontina
  • three tablespoons of fresh goat cheese
  • one quarter cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus a tablespoon extra
  • two tablespoons fresh marjoram, finely chopped (or one teaspoon dried)
  • one quarter teaspoon nutmeg
  • one egg
  • salt and pepper

for the sauce:

  • four tablespoons butter
  • crimini mushrooms, sliced very thin
  • two tablespoons chicken stock
  • one-quarter cup freshly grated parmesan

This recipe should make about 100 ravioli, needing about two pounds of pasta sheets. But this number can vary, of course, by the size of your ravioli and the amount of filling in each one.

Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. After a minute add the onion and cook for four to five minutes or so, until soft and starting to brown. Add the chicken and sausage and cook until it is totally browned, about ten minutes. During this time stir regularly with a wooden spoon to break up the meat into as small pieces as possible. Remove and let cool.

In a food processor, put in the meat mixture and pulse until you get it very finely chopped (not quite a paste).

Put the pulsed meat mixture in a bowl. Add the egg and stir. Add the Fontina, the goat cheese, the ricotta, nutmeg, marjoram, parsley, a teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper, and mix thoroughly. Taste for salt and pepper, and set aside ready to fill the ravioli.

Prepare the ravioli dough. See how to make ravioli. Cut the pasta in two inch circles; put the filling, abouit a teaspoon but varying depending on the size of your ravioli, in the center, and fold over in half, making half moons. Moisten to get a good seal on the edges. (For agnolotti, make one-inch of one and one-half inch  squares).

>>while making the ravioli, it is important to keep the sheets of pasta moist., preferably by keeping them covered in moist towels. Do not let the pasta dry out.

Put the four tablespoons of butter into a sauté pan over low heat until it is melted and add the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper and the chicken stock. Cook until the mushrooms are soft.

Bring four quarts of water to a big boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Cook the ravioli, dropping them in the water very carefully. They should be ready in about four minutes. To test, take one out and cut a tiny corner off one end and taste. Take them out very carefully and put them on a towel.

When the ravioli are finished, take them from the towel and put them in the saute pan with the mushrooms, add the parmesan and the last touch of parsley, and stir very carefully. Serve steaming hot.



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