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Authentic Italian Gluten Free Ravioli - with Creamed Ricotta, Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Herbs

Published 20 September, 2006

Ready made gluten free ravioli doesn't exist. Anywhere. So I had to make my own.

Having spent a wonderful week in April by Lake Garda in Italy, being cooked for by a real Italian coeliac chef, I realised it wasn't so bad making your own gluten free pasta. And so Gluten Free Ravioli filled with Creamed Ricotta, Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Herbs was made.

Being slightly foolhardy, I made this dish for the first time, for a dinner party with a few friends. Luckily these friends are very understanding of all things gluten-free, and I even managed to enlist one of them in the ravioli forming!

Gluten Free Ravioli

These amounts are per person, so just multiply up by the number of diners.

1 tablespoon of mild olive oil
100g of gluten free flour e.g. Schar (in Italy, Schar sell a special gluten free pasta flour)
1 large organic egg,
Optional - a teaspoon of xantham gum
Extra flour to dust your worktop

Put your apron on, and roll up your sleeves, you're going to get messy! Reserving a small amount of flour, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. (Alternatively you can use a food processor, but by the time you've washed the fiddly bits and pieces, you probably haven't saved yourself any time). If the mix is too wet, add the reserved flour, or if it is too dry, add a little of the egg white you've got spare from the filling recipe, or a little more olive oil.

Keep mixing until you've formed a ball of pasta dough. Take the ball out of the bowl and place on a floured worksurface. Knead the dough for about 3 to 5 minutes, pushing the middle of the dough out and forming it back into a ball again. Wrap the kneaded dough in plastic and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your gluten free ravioli filling, have a glass of wine and blether with your mates.

Creamed Ricotta, Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Herb filling

Makes enough for about 4-6 people

400g ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
about 50g of grated parmesan cheese
about 25g of pine nuts, toasted and crushed
3 large handfuls of fresh herbs e.g. parsley, basil, mint, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of grated nutmeg
mild olive oil

In a bowl, beat the ricotta, egg and some of the parmesan cheese, until it is light and creamy. Fold in the pine nuts, herbs, nutmeg and season with a small twist of salt and pepper.

Take the rested pasta dough out of the fridge and roll out at least 2 sheets to about 2 mm thick and about 100mm wide. Work with one pair of pasta sheets at a time so they don't dry out and go crumbly (a major problem with gluten free products - that's where the xantham gum can help). Put a large teaspoon of filling in the middle of the sheet at one end, and repeat this every 50mm or so along the length of the pasta sheet. Lightly brush water on the pasta, around each dollop of filling.

Take the second pasta sheet and gently lay it upon the first. Gently press the top sheet onto the bottom sheet, carefully pushing out any air around the filling (important to take the time to do this well, otherwise the air gaps will get filled with water when you cook it, and you'll have soggy ravioli). Now cut out each ravioli with a knife or crinkly cutter.

You can cook the gluten free ravioli straight away or keep it in the fridge for a few hours. Cook in a large pan of salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes - when they're ready they'll float to the surface. Scoop out the gluten free ravioli with a large slotted spoon.

Serve drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan. Even gluten guzzlers will be hard pushed to know the difference between wheat based and this delicious gluten free ravioli.

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