StefanGourmet & REMCooks Fusion: Ancho Chile Ravioli with Smoked Bacon and Sage

Kees and I like to enjoy Spring Break in Miami Beach to enjoy some long awaited sun after the cold rainy winter with little daylight in the Netherlands. As Miami Beach is relatively close to DFW, we thought it would be a great idea to visit Richard McGary of REMCooks and his Baby Lady. Luckily they thought so too, and thus we arrived in sunny DFW for a weekend of cooking and eating. Mimi hopped on the bandwagon as well, and came over for dinner on Saturday night. It was great to meet two of my favorite bloggers.

We had a great weekend and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Richard and Baby Lady, we can’t thank you enough for your generous hospitality and warm welcome! We are already looking forward to your return visit and hope Conor and the Wife will be able to make it, too 🙂

Richard took us food shopping to the markets where he gets his fresh produce.

We also selected some nice wines to go with the food.

We even found my favorite Dutch cheese (a Gouda from Beemster, aged 18 months) at the local market.

This is Richard making a salsa verde to go with the delicious sous-vide duck carnitas that he prepared for us. Mimi enjoyed the rare occasion that someone else did the cooking very much, and took lots of pictures.

Richard had dinners planned for Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday we were going to cook together. We had to improvise as an ice storm had hit so we couldn’t go out to get more groceries (although Baby Lady did brave the icy roads to get some parmigiano at the nearby market). We wanted to prepare a fusion between both of our cooking styles, using what was available.

Richard had some of his wonderful maple cured, pecan smoked bacon left. Of course some type of chiles had to be included (Richard even served me peach preserves with chiles in it for breakfast — needless to say it was delicious). There was fresh milk and cream, so I made some lovely homemade ricotta. When I improvise, I cook Italian food. Handmade ravioli are my specialty, so we decided to make ravioli stuffed with ricotta and ancho chile, served with a sauce of clarified butter, fresh sage from the garden, and Richard’s homemade smoked bacon.

They turned out lovely and we’ll probably both make this again. The only thing that we will probably change is to use more ancho chiles, as the chile flavor was very mild and there was hardly any heat. The ravioli were very elegant and the combination of creamy ricotta, earthy ancho chiles, smoky bacon and the sage worked very well. This is what we did…


As this was improvised cooking, we didn’t set up an ingredient shot. This is just the minced sage and sliced bacon.

For 30 ravioli, 5 servings as a primo piatto

For the stuffing

250 ml (1 cup) homemade ricotta, made from 4 cups milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar and a pinch of salt

1 ancho chile (or more, see above)

80 grams (1/2 cup) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

salt to taste

powdered chiles to taste

For the pasta dough

200 grams (1 1/4 cup) Italian 00 flour (we used 100 grams semolina flour and 100 grams all-purpose flour, because that is what we had)

2 eggs

For the sauce

5 slices maple cured, pecan smoked bacon, sliced into strips crosswise

2 Tbsp minced fresh sage

115 grams (1 stick) clarified butter

additional grated parmigiano for sprinkling


Soak the ancho chile in hot water for an hour, weighing it down so it stays submerged. We soaked it in the whey that was left from making the ricotta for additional flavor.

While the chile is soaking, make fresh pasta dough from the flour and eggs, wrap it in plastic wrap, and allow it to rest in the refrigerator.

Once the chile has softened, remove the stem and seeds.

It was great to watch Richard chop, excellent technique

Mince the chile very fine.

Combine the ricotta, chile and parmigiano in a bowl.

Stir well to obtain a homogeneous mixture.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and powdered chiles.

Notice the trimmings and other leftover pasta in the upper right-hand corner. This makes for a nice primo of maltagliati pasta the next day.

Roll out the pasta dough after it has rested for at least half an hour and make ravioli with the stuffing. Roll out the dough as thin as you can get it without tearing. The thinner the dough, the more delicate your ravioli will be. You will probably have some leftover dough that you can eat as maltagliati pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

To make the sauce, melt the butter over low heat and add the bacon and sage. Allow to simmer over low heat. The bacon should not crisp.


Richard and Baby Lady also took lots of pictures, and Richard kindly sent me some of theirs to use in this post.

When the water boils, add salt and the ravioli. The ravioli only need a couple of minutes.


When the ravioli are cooked, transfer them to the pan with the sauce using a skimmer (also called a spider or slotted spoon).

Carefully toss the ravioli with the sauce, avoiding to break them.

Serve on warm plates, sprinkled with some more parmigiano.

Wine pairing

The butter and smoky bacon in the sauce call for an oaky buttery chardonnay. The Puligny-Montrachet that Richard selected was wonderful. If you make this with more ancho chiles, a chardonnay with more punch from a warmer climate such as California would work as well.


28 thoughts on “StefanGourmet & REMCooks Fusion: Ancho Chile Ravioli with Smoked Bacon and Sage

  1. Stefan, we are so happy you and Kees shared your Spring Break with us. It was a wonderful time and this was a very tasty dish. You have now inspired me to try another ravioli fusion dish. 🙂


    1. It sure was a wonderful time and I’m already looking forward to the next time we can cook together.
      I’m also looking forward to reading about your ravioli fusion dish 🙂


  2. What a wonderful time you had in Dallas. 🙂 I love all of the pictures of others taking photos of people… lots of bloggers together. The Beemster age gouda cheese is one of my very favorites – and aged gouda is Abba’s favorite. Sometimes they have three-to-five year varieties that are out of this world. Sunday dinner, impromptu and a creative project, sounds great. The recipe looks amazing – Italian-Southwest Fusion – You two have started something special. Mimi, did you enjoy your break on Saturday night? 🙂


    1. I live less than 10 miles from Beemster. It’s funny that I’ve only seen the 3- and 5-year varieties in the USA. At home they usually go up to 2 years maximum. The 3/5 year versions I tried were a bit bitter, so I guess they are an acquired taste.


      1. That is so interesting – you live by Beemster. Yes, the 18-month is creamy yet mature. Very tasty. The 3/5 are not available often… very hard to find. When I last tried one, it was caramelized in flavor and had lots of crystals throughout. Now I am second guessing my palette! Maybe they ship out the more aged ones because Americans like bitter cheese? 🙂


        1. I’ve seen 3/5 year-old Gouda more often in the USA than back home, so it must be that Americans buy the stuff.
          I’m very sensitive to bitter tastes — that is why I don’t like beer, grapefruit, or tonic, and have only recently start to like coffee (only ristretto with sugar) and 70%+ dark chocolate. It’s a genetic thing. I also don’t like wines with strong bitter notes.
          So no need to second guess your palate, which I’m sure is fine.


          1. I love espresso, very strong coffee and 70% dark chocolate. I must have a “bitter palate.” 😉 It is so interesting that you can even taste bitterness in cheese. The best food critics have very sensitive palates. What types of wines do you think have bitter notes?


            1. The bitterness of the wine is partly due to certain grape varieties (i.e. pinot blanc) and partly due to the ripeness and the impact of skins and stems. Bitter notes are great if they are in balance with the other flavors, and I will judge the balance differently from someone who tastes bitter less than I do. I don’t think that makes my palate better, just different.


              1. That is fascinating. I definitely see how the ripeness of the grape and the skins themselves could add bitter notes. I will have to pay more attention the next time I have a glass of wine. It is fun to learn more about this area; thank you. 🙂


                1. You are welcome. Do you know Stefano’s blog? He writes more about wine technique than I do. I do know quite a bit about it, but I don’t really blog much about it. Not yet, anyway 😉


  3. For me ther is no better time than time spent with like minded people. Three food and wine loving bloggers in one room together, now that must have been a blast!! Your improv dinner looks delicious, and I love the choice of wine too, it’s an harmonious blend with buttery flavours


  4. A joyful blog to read! So great when virtual friends have the chance to become real ones! And it seems to happen all over! Love the fusion dish you have created . . . fun to scan the photos . . .


  5. What fun! I’ve enjoyed my time with meeting fellow bloggers but we’ve not cooked together. That must have been wonderful. Love the pic of the 3 of you. Fitting that one would be holding a camera. 🙂
    These ravioli are about as far from our recipe book as can be but that doesn’t mean they weren’t delicious. I know I’d love them. I can see you had a nice holiday. Welcome home!


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