After our wine tour we headed to a 400 year old Tuscan villa in the hills. The owner of the estate is friends with Maljia who runs the tour we were on. We go a room in the basement, put on our aprons and begin the learning process of making pasta.
Our guide Steve explains the 4 basic ingredients to the dish we are making today- spinach ravioli.
First we take the Semolina flour and pour a cup on to the table top surface. We t ake our fingers and make a hole in the middle just begin to hold our raw egg. We then break the egg and mix it into the flour until it turns to a dough like consistency. A pinch of salt is added to the mixture. The dough is kneaded and worked, with flour as necessary until all stickiness is gone. It is then folded 10 times, rolled into a ball with Saran Wrap.
In a large bowl the filling ingredients are Ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh nutmeg. We then roll the dough in to a disc shape to be put through the pasta rolling machine. By hand we introduce the pasta wheeling it through the machine until it is a thin flat strip. Then a metal cutter about 4 inches across is used to create the round Ravioli circles.
The table is kept dusted with Semolina flour to keep the dough from sticking. We then add a teaspoon of the mixture into the center of the circle. The circle is then folded over, and crimped on the edges to seal the mixture.
Then we head up stairs to meet the owner and cook our fresh pasta. Marie has waiting for us, the start of our homemade Tuscan meal. She has prepared a brochetta, fritatta and bread salad. While we are eating this, the pasta is cooked in the huge pot on the stove. On top of the boiling pan of boiling water, a pan is placed with butter and fresh sage to melt. As the pasta is done it is placed in the sage butter and served. While we were making our raviolis we had accumulated extra dough that we made into fettuccine noodles. Marie had made a home made Pomodora sauce that went with these noodles.
To top off the meal after all these courses, Marie served us home made Tiramisu for dessert. We all agreed that it was the best we had ever had. There will be no need for dinner tonight!