Since I had some lovely homemade sausage, I thought it was time to try another Italian classic: ravioli filled with sausage and potato. Another version of sausage ravioli is with ricotta and spinach, the Bartolini version. As I wanted the flavor of the sausage to shine, I opted for the potato. I prepared these ravioli as a piatto unico (full meal in one course) with just a green salad afterwards, and dressed them with butter and sage. Here’s what I did…
250 grams (.55 lb) Italian pork sausage
250 grams (.55 lb) potatoes
50 grams (1.8 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp minced fresh aromatic herbs (I used mint and thyme, but basil and parsley would also be great)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
200 grams (1 1/3 cup) Italian 00 flour
70 grams (5 Tbsp) butter
fresh sage leaves
Cook over medium heat until the sausages are golden browned and just cooked through (you can check by breaking one in half with a spatula) and the shallot are golden but not crispy, about 10 minutes. (It may be tricky to cook the sausage and shallot in the same pan as the shallot may overcook before the meat is cooked. It is easier to cook them in separate pans.)
Mix everything with a fork until the mixture is homogeneous. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. As usual, the filling should be slightly over-seasoned to avoid bland ravioli.
Make pasta dough from the 00 flour and eggs. Allow it to rest for half an hour, wrapped in plastic wrap, and then roll it out to the thinnest setting. Make ravioli. In this case I made them quite big, with about 2 tsp of filling in each raviolo.
This is nice with a light Italian red, such as a Valpolicella or a Valpolicella Ripasso. This latter wine is produced by allowing it to soak in the leftover grape skins and seeds from the fermentation of Amarone, the big brother of Valpolicella made from dried grapes, which adds flavor and complexity.
Russian Salad is called “Huzarensalade” in Dutch, named after hussars, the light cavalry that comes from Russia and other Eastern European countries. Russian Salad consists of boiled potatoes, boiled vegetables, ham, and mayonnaise. Russian Salad has a bit of a bad name because it is often made with mayonnaise from a jar and canned vegetables. If made fresh and with moderate use of mayonnaise, it can be quite elegant. Another key success factor is to cook the vegetables separately so each can be cooked just right. The work of this salad is in cutting the vegetables into small cubes — I do not know of a household machine that can do this for you.