Everyone knows Amatrice, a town renowned for one of the most famous pasta dishes as well as for a recent earthquake which, like that of 1639, has destroyed nearly the entire town.
Amatrice is located between the mountains and the highlands of the Apennines in the province of Rieti (since 1927) on the border with Abruzzo and Marche. Once it was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and even its culinary traditions are influenced by its history.
In fact this particular recipe was told to me by a person who lives in the Amatriciana basin, to be precise to Cornillo Nuovo, one of the 69 hamlets of Amatrice.
We are under the Monti della Laga with the highest peaks of the Central Apennines and near the Scandarello Lake, which are among the favourite destinations of lovers of trekking and mountain walks for the variety of the landscape and biodiversity. In winter also for some trails are dedicated to Nordic skiing.
But all this beauty has been outclassed in notoriety by a sauce to ‘dress’ pasta: the famous ‘Amatriciana’. Today, however, I am not going to tell you about the famous spaghetti all’amatriciana but an aromatic ravioli with a surprising taste. It is a particular ravioli that seem to come from a cookbook of a contemporary chef, one who loves to mix the classic kitchen with the modern one.
There are three secrets to this recipe: wheat flour, ricotta and cocoa.
For the ravioli pasta I used the flour os Grano Autonomia B, a soft wheat with a rich aroma and unmistakable taste. It was created in 1938 just to be cultivated in the lands of central Italy because it adapts to cold climates, like that of the highlands of Amatrice. It was made by the crossing of the Frassineto with the Mentana and in its name there is its history and that of the Italian autarchy of the Battaglia del Grano (Battle of the Wheat).
The ricotta is that from the sheep of the Amatrice highlands. There is nothing else to add because its flavour is universally known to those who love good food.
The third is cocoa, which is obviously not a local product. The use of cocoa for a savoury preparation is not the norm in the Lazio cuisine and appears towards the mid-18th century in the kitchens of the nobles.
It spread at the same time as wild boar and we can certainly say that this was a dish for the holidays. For all the others the poorest parts of the animal continued to exist, such as pajata (calf intestines and tripe.
Recipe of ricotta and cocoa ravioli with meat sauce
We prepare the dough of the ravioli pasta with flour and an egg and let it rest before rolling it out and cutting it.
We then proceed to prepare the sauce of seasoning the meat of the ravioli. Chop the carrot and onion and let them brown in a pan with oil. Then we add a whole piece of beef for gravy and we brown it before wetting it with white wine.
When it has evaporated, add peeled tomatoes and cook for a couple of hours over low heat. We will then eat meat as a second course by cutting it at the table in front of our friends.
Now we prepare the filling of the ravioli: take the sheep’s milk ricotta and season it with cocoa and cinnamon and work the dough to make it soft and homogeneous.
We are ready for the ravioli and we spread the thin pasta, then we put the filling of ricotta and cocoa we prepare the ravioli. Boil the ravioli and season them with the meat sauce.
We serve at the table and offer grated pecorino cheese for those who love cheese.
Ricotta and cocoa ravioli is a simple but delicious dish and there is nothing adapted to your taste. It can be enjoyed with an excellent Pinot Nero from Trentino that will highlight its characteristics.