Sweet ravioli from Calabria
Although these chestnut-filled ravioli are a Christmas specialty, they are also a favored sweet during the winter months. I served these to great acclaim during a Calabrese dinner that I hosted at a Boston restaurant. They are a bit labor intensive, but worth it!
Makes about 4 dozen
1 lb. flour
1/2 C sugar
2 T. Olive Oil
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/2 glass sweet vermouth
1/2 glass water
optional: 1 tsp. finely ground unbrewed coffee grounds
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the OO and as much vermouth and water as necessary to make a bread like dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest.
1 lb. dry chestnuts, soaked in water overnight, or 2 lbs fresh chestnuts boiled or roasted
1 lb. (2 C.) sweet cocoa
5 oz. (2/3 C.) bitter sweet chocolate, grated or finely chopped
3.5 oz. (1/2 C.) dried candied fruit
3.5 oz. (1/2 C.) confetti (candied almonds), crushed
3.5 oz. (1.2 C.) torrone, chopped
3.5 oz. (1/2 C.) honey
grated rind of 1 lemon
beaten egg white to seal dough
olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
honey for serving
Boil the chestnuts until tender, push through a sieve and mix with all other ingredients.
Flour the dough and roll it out to as thin a thickness as possible. A pasta machine can be used to achieve a consistently thin sheet of dough. Cut the dough into 3 inch disks and paint the edges with the egg white. Put teaspoonfuls of filling on 1/2 of the disk then fold over the other half. Pinch closed with your fingertips or the prongs of a fork being careful not to pierce the dough. Arrange on lightly floured sheet pans or a tray lined with a kitchen towel. These can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to fry.
Heat 1 liter of OO or vegetable oil to 350°F and fry the chjinule about 6 at a time until they are a deep golden color, about 4-5 min., stirring them gently with a slotted spoon while they are frying. Transfer them to a dry lined with paper towels. Repeat until all of the ravioli have been fried, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain an oil temperature of 350°F.
Separately in a little saucepan dilute honey with a few spoonfuls of water and drizzle over the chjinule. Serve warm.