A master class on pasta ripiena (stuffed pasta) was held last week Wednesday June 26 in Constantia at the Italian restaurant 95 at Parks.
Chef Giorgio Nava, the owner of the restaurant and an award-winning Italian cuisine chef, shared his expertise and secrets on how to make the perfect old-school dish.
Born in Milan, Chef Nava moved to South Africa in 1999.
He has opened seven eateries over the years in Cape Town, including 95 Keerom in the City Centre and 95 at Morgenster in Somerset West.
Chef Nava decided that he’d celebrate “all things pasta” in June and July by having an exclusive pasta ripiena menu available in addition to the a la carte menu at 95 Keerom and 95 at Parks.
The additions to the menu include pasta ripiena dishes such as ravioli, agnolotti, tortellini morsels, lasagne and cannelloni.
Chef Nava also hosted the master class last week Wednesday where attendees were taught how to make the classic Italian filled-pasta dish, ravioli.
Attendees were taught how to make the pasta dough and then the pasta filling with Chef Nava’s special recipe.
Ingredients to make the pasta dough:
* 500g finely sieved cake flour
* 5 whole eggs
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl and create a well in the centre. Crack your eggs into it and work the egg and flour together until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
Then begin kneading the dough until it is smooth and soft.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 40 minutes to one hour before use.
Chef Nava said that a tip he’d give people when making the dough was to note that the weight of the flour should depend on the size of the egg from medium to large. He said that he always added 5g to 10g extra flour to make the dough firm so it was easier to manage.
He then taught the attendees how to make the various pasta fillings which can be vegetarian, cheese and meat.
The spinach and ricotta chees ravioli filling:
* 250g of spinach blanched, drained and chopped
* 150g of ricotta cheese
* 100g of grated Parmesan cheese
* Salt and pepper
Blanch spinach for approximately three to four minutes in slightly boiling water until it is tender. Drain and squeeze out the water from the spinach. Chop the spinach and put it in a bowl, adding in the ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix well. Divide the pasta dough into four equal parts. Working with one portion at a time, take the first portion and using a rolling pin or pasta machine create a thin rectangle sheet. Continue to roll and stretch gently with your hands until the dough is as thin as you can make it. Place a small amount of filling in the centre and fold the dough in half over the filling. Cut the ravioli into rectangles using a sharp knife. Press any edges again to make sure they’re sealed. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the ravioli and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Once they float to the top it is done.