Still more recipes to go from the memories of our trip to Southern Italy last year. We had dinner at Già sotto l’arco* in Puglia and the dish I remember the best was squid ink tortelli filled with tuna and garnished with katsuobushi shavings (which is a Japanese ingredient: dried, fermented and smoked tuna). The squid ink does not add a lot of flavor but it does make the dish look more dramatic. The hardest part about this dish is to get the tuna right. If you can find fatty tuna from the belly, you should use that. Otherwise, make sure to cook the ravioli no longer than 1 minute (to minimize drying out the tuna) or mince the tuna and toss it with good extra virgin olive oil. At the restaurant some zucchini was included; I decided to add a zucchini puree. It looks great and works well as a flavor combination. You can find katsuobushi shavings in an oriental store. It is not cheap, but a little goes a long way. Besides a very nice flavor it does add a visual effect, as the vapor (also referred to as “steam”, but it is not actually steam as it is below 100C/212F) from the dish will make the shavings ‘dance’ when you serve the dish.
Makes 12 ravioli, enough for a primo piatto for 2, 3 or 4
150 grams (.33 lb) fresh tuna
1 zucchini (courgette)
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
handful of katsuobushi shavings
extra virgin olive oil
For the pasta dough
about 100 grams (2/3 cup) Italian 00 flour
1 packet (4 grams) squid ink
1/8 tsp salt
To make the pasta dough, combine the egg and squid ink in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix them together until homogeneous. The amount is not enough to use the stand mixer, so I used a whisk instead.
Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and most of the flour, but keep some behind as the amount of flour per egg is not always the same. More information about making pasta dough using a stand mixer can be found here.
Mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together.
Switch over to the dough hook, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add additional flour (or a tiny amount of water) as needed.
Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before rolling out the dough.
For the filling, cut the tuna into 12 pieces of equal size, and season them with salt (about 3/4 teaspoon altogether).
As an alternative, mince the tuna and mix it with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of high quality extra virgin olive oil. The oil will make the tuna appear less dry, but if you cut the ravioli in half when eating, the filling will fall out.
Roll out the dough as thin as possible and make ravioli according to my instructions. (The lighter color is because I used albacore tuna instead of yellowfin tuna this time around.)
You should have enough pasta to make 12 ravioli. It is important to roll out the pasta until it is very thin, because (1) it will cook more quickly and so the tuna will not be overcooked and (2) it will make the ravioli more elegant (rather than clunky, if you leave the dough too thick). It also helps to cook the ravioli soon after they are made, as allowing them to dry will increase the cooking time. If you are making them in advance, cover them with a moist tea towel.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the ravioli.
In the meantime, make the courgette puree. Chop the courgette…
…and combine with 120 ml (1/2 cup) of dry white wine in a container suitable for your blender.
Blend until smooth.
Transfer the courgette puree to a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (as high heat will lead to splattering), stirring, and allow to reduce for a couple of minutes. This will also burn off the alcohol. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. If you like, you could also stir some good extra virgin olive oil into the puree.
When the water boils, add salt and the ravioli. Cook the ravioli for 1 minute. In the meantime, arrange the courgette puree on preheated plates. After 1 minute, lift the ravioli out of the boiling water with a strainer and arrange them on top of the courgette puree. Garnish the ravioli with katsuobushi flakes and serve at once. If you like you could drizzle the ravioli with some very good extra virgin olive oil before adding the katsuobushi.
La Genovese alla Napoletana is beef stewed in braised onions until the onions are deeply browned and sweet and the meat is tender.