Hand-made ravioli is a treat. However, for the lactose intolerant, it can be a problem. This Ground Pork ravioli is one of a handful of delicious ravioli recipes that I will offer that just happen to be low in lactose. This is primarily by avoiding ricotta — a soft cheese that is hard on the system for those intolerant, and replacing it with Parmigiano Reggiano and aged Pecorino Romano. With these substitutions and accommodations of texture, even those without issues with lactose will find these a treat.
Notes on Ingredients
According to the Italian Ministry of Health, Parmigiano Reggiano can be labeled with the following: “Parmigiano Reggiano is naturally lactose free. The absence of lactose is a natural consequence of the traditional Parmigiano Reggiano manufacturing process. Less than 0.01g / 100g galactose.” This is a consequence of aging (the more aged, the better) and the specific bacteria used in the process. Look for true Italian Parmigiano Reggiano that is aged at least 18 months. Furthermore, this will taste better.
This recipe calls for ground pork. Any other light, ground meat will work well. I am specifying ground instead of minced for the texture. I suggest this recipe be made with a larger (2 inches or so) ravioli stamp.
Notes on Technique
Pasta is an art form, practice and technique are required. After you gain some experience you might want to understand the process a bit more. This guide goes into much greater detail into the process.
Kneading and Resting
To make this ravioli, we will use egg pasta. Simply egg and ’00’ flour. Through a bit of testing, I determined that a simple principle of 100g flour to one large US egg works well. The egg yolk adds some fat, but the whole egg (including the white) adds water. You will find many recipes for egg pasta that use only yolks and have you add water. The whole egg approach works well. However, please be aware that eggs are of different sizes across the world. If you find your pasta too dry add a teaspoon or so of water, if too moist a bit more flour.
After mixing the dough, it needs to be kneaded for about 10 minutes. But you will notice that the consistency will still not be quite right. The glutens in the dough will relax if you let it sit for an hour and it will be much easier to work with. Do not be tempted to shorten this process.
If you want to frequently enjoy fresh pasta, get a pasta machine. There are many available, but the attachments for mixers are a great cost-effective option.
Egg Pasta Dough
- 400g '00' (approximately 2 3/4 cups) flour
- 4 large eggs
- Pinch of Salt
- Olive Oil
- 1 pound ground pork (subsitute any light meat you prefer)
- 1 small onion minced
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary (if not available, use fresh parsley)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Regianno
Egg Pasta Dough
- Sift the flour into a bowl creating a mound. Sift and spread a bit of the flour onto your work surface where you will knead.
- Create a deep well in the mound and break the eggs into the well. Add the pinch of salt.
- Using a fork, beat the eggs incorporating the yolks and whites until well blended. Gradually work the flour from the lower outside of the well into the egg mixture. Work in a circular manner until incorporated.
- When mixed, transfer to the work surface and knead thoroughly until a smooth ball. If too stiff, add a little water. If too moist, add a bit of flour.
- Wrap completely in plastic wrap and allow to rest for one hour.
- Using a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil then add the meat and the chopped onions and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Make sure the ground meat separates as it cooks, then fully cook the meat and onions. When cooked, drain the fat if necessary.
- Add the wine and rosemary. Stir to incorporate. Simmer until all of the wine has evaporated.
- Remove from pan and place into a bowl allowing it to cool for a few minutes.
- After it has cooled but is still warm, mix in the Parmigiano
Rolling out the Pasta Dough
The following instructions assume you have a pasta machine and are using a pasta stamp. Alternate instructions are added if not available.
- Divide the dough into four pieces. Leave 3 pieces covered, you will work with one piece at a time.
- Roll out one piece of the dough following your pasta roller instructions. (If you do not have a pasta machine, roll out on a floured work surface into a long rectangle with a width slighter greater than twice your pasta stamp width, or another size you desire.) Roll dough to as thin as you can. If using a machine, it is likely you want the next to the last setting. (See Note 1)
- Lay the pasta rectangle out on a floured work surface. Cut in half to produce two rectangles of equal lengths.
- Using the pasta stamp as a guide, place mounds of filling in rows of 2 (3, if your stamp is small) until the length of the pasta is covered.
- Using a brush (or your finger, if necessary) add a little moisture to what will be the edges of the ravioli with water. (Careful, only a little moistness is needed, you do not want soggy dough.)
- Place the second sheet of rolled pasta dough on top of the prepared dough and filling. Working with your hands, begin to push all edges together to form the ravioli. Continue working till all air bubbles are removed.
- When ready, begin pressing out each ravioli with the stamp.
- Move all cut pieces onto a floured surface for storage (semolina flour is best) Hint: if you do not plan to cook all the pasta that day, transfer to a pan with a floured piece of parchment paper and then to the freezer.
Preparing the Ravioli
- Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling water until it rises to the surface and is al dente. (Approximately 4 minutes)
- Transfer to a pan with heated olive oil and lightly cook. You may sauté some garlic in the oil, add some toasted pine nuts, or whatever accompaniments you would like.
Note 1: Rolling the dough takes 2-4 passes through the roller on each size. Lightly dust flour on each side of the dough occasionally to keep it from sticking.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 202mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 26g
Calculated Nutrition is estimated.