My daughter and I decided to experiment with 14th and 15th century recipes for raviolis. We had to redact the recipes ourselves, working from the lists given but having to figure out quantities by taste and goal.
We were working from a website that looked like a good class handout for a Society for Creative Anachronism workshop, called "Pasta Class" and found at this link: http://www.katjaorlova.com/PastaClass.html
This third filling was chosen partially because of the fun name and the rest because it was set up to accept most any kind of herb. We chose basil.
Ravioli ready to serve of herbs fantastic, Libro di cucina, 15th Century
If you want to make ravioli of herbs or of other things, take herbs and peel (take leaves only) and wash well; then boil it a little and pull them out and squeeze away all the water. Chop with a knife and put in a mortar and take cheese fresh and strained, egg and spices sweet and strong and mix well together and make a paste. Then take thin pasta in the way of lasagne and take a large amount and make the ravioli. When they are made put to cook and when they are well cooked powder above enough spices with good cheese and they are good.
2 cups of basil leaves, lightly packed
1 ounce Provel cheese, softened*
1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
1/8 tsp Poudre Fines**
*Provel is a St. Louis, Missouri specialty cheese that can be read about here. You can use mozzarella or provolone in its place. My daughter finds these wonders and brings them for me to try. : )
** Poudre Fines is a medieval spice mix that came home with me from the Culinary Symposium I attended in March. It is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, grains of paradise, pepper, and saffron, all ground.
|We used more basil than what is shown here.|
To cook the basil, we treated it like spinach and cooked it with just the water that stuck from washing it. The 2 cups reduced quickly to a little lump in the pan.
After squeezing out the water, we chopped the basil to bits. Then we mixed in the cheeses and spices. We decided that our quantity was so small that an egg was unnecessary -- the Provel bound everything together well. We chilled the filling and that made it easier to handle.
|Well mixed after well chopped|
We used one quarter of the pasta dough, rolled thinly and then scored as we did for the previous two recipes.
Then they were covered and cut. Using the same hot broth water from the other raviolis, we boiled them for just a few minutes.
Success! This was excellent, too. Three great flavors in a row! I love the taste of basil (it is one of my favorite herbs/spices and makes me happy just to sniff it) so this was fun to eat. Of the three tasters, one said it was her favorite flavor, one said it was her second favorite, and the third thought the basil was too strong.
I thought the cheese moderated the basil flavor well and gave a creamy texture to the otherwise herbaceous mouth feel. I liked it plain but also with a light dusting of grated Parmesan cheese.
We did these three fillings as boiled raviolis. The fourth, in the next post, was fried.