Fennel & Sausage Ravioli w Ratatouille
When I made this, I was rescuing a pound of poorly crafted sausage that my parents had deemed inedible. Like many poorly crafted sausages, it had the wrong amount of salt, poor texture, and the wrong amount of moisture. With this noted, you may need to adjust the amount of salt and wine in your ravioli filling. If'n you're interested in crafting well-made sausages at home, consider buying my book.
For the ratatouille:
2 large squash or zucchini, chopped
1 lb. tomatoes, chopped
1-2 eggplant, chopped, rinsed, salted and rested for 30 minutes, then rinsed again & drained
2 large onion, chopped
1 whole corm of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
20 basil leaves, chopped
1 bunch curly Italian parsley, chopped
1 C. extra virgin olive oil
In a large stockpot, combine ½ of the olive oil, the tomato, the garlic, basil, and parsley, and place over medium heat. Allow to cook until the tomatoes are soft, and the mixture begins to resemble a thick sauce. Stir occasionally. Add salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt. When they are soft and fragrant, add them to the pot with the tomato and herb mixture.
Using the same cast iron, heat 2 more T. of olive oil, and sauté the eggplant with a pinch of salt until soft. Add to the stockpot.
Next, cook the squash and zucchini in the cast iron, with olive oil and salt (I like to add a bit more pepper at this stage, too), and when they are done add them to the stockpot.
Last, cook the peppers in the cast iron, again with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add to stockpot.
Reduce the heat under the stock pot to low, place a lid on the ratatouille and let it simmer for at least 1 hour. Salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe makes about 4 quarts. I freeze it (important to prevent dangerous bacteria buildup from olive oil and garlic mix) until I am ready to use it.
For the ravioli filling:
1 lb. breakfast sausage (buy my book for a recipe to make your own.)
1 fennel bulb, chopped fine
pinch red pepper flake
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. coarse ground mustard
salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper
a glass or more white wine
½ c or so of the ratatouille (I pulsed it in the food processor to change its texture slightly)
Brown the sausage with the garlic. Then add the fennel, mustard, red pepper, and white wine. Cook over medium heat, letting the wine boil off. Add the ratatouille, then salt and pepper the mixture to taste.
For the pasta dough:
2-1.2 C. all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1/3 C. olive oil
2 t. sea salt
Combine flour, eggs, egg yolk, salt and olive oil in a food processor with the dough blade attachment. Process until a dough forms, adding water as it goes if you feel the mixture needs moistening. Once the dough has formed a ball and the ball is spinning around in one lump inside the food processor, turn it off and remove the dough. On a floured surface, knead it well, until it is very smooth. Place the dough ball under an inverted bowl and let rest 1 hour.
Flour the work surface, and when you are ready to make the ravioli, use a pasta roller or a rolling pin to roll the dough out very thin. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil, with a lid.
Cut into strips about 3” wide. Place filling every 2 inches or so down the strip, then place another strip of dough on top. Press the dough strips together in between filling mounds, then cut with a dough scraper, pinch edges of ravioli together, and use the tines of a fork to mark all around the edges. Let rest on a floured surface until you are ready to boil.
Heat ratatouille in a saucepan until well warmed. Boil the ravioli in the prepared water until they float to the surface. Drain them well. Plate 3 ravioli or so, top with the warm ratatouille, and then some grated Parmesan cheese. We ate this with a simple side salad.