Pork belly ravioli with pork belly, pork cheek & pork sauce

Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook Pasta Artigiana






Pork belly ravioli with pork belly, pork cheek & pork sauce


SERVES 6 (makes approximately 90 ravioli)

PREP TIME 45 minutes

COOKING TIME 3 hours


Ingredients

300 g (10½ oz) pork belly, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces

600 g (1 lb, 5 oz) denuded pork cheek (see Note)

3 garlic cloves

3 thyme sprigs

1 rosemary sprig

6 black peppercorns

1 ½ litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) chicken broth (see below)

fine sea salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) beef broth (see below)

25 g (1 oz) minced (ground prosciutto)

70 g (2 ½ oz/ ⅔ cup) freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, plus extra, to serve

275 g (9 ¾ oz) fresh ricotta cheese

600 g (1 lb, 5 oz) fresh egg pasta dough (see below)

fine semolina, for dusting


Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F/Gas 4).


Place the pork belly, pork cheek, garlic, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, chicken broth, sea salt, and black pepper in a small roasting tray, making sure the pork is covered with the broth. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for two hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat and set aside covered with a tea towel moistened with some of the cooking liquor. When it has cooled a little, place in the refrigerator. Just before doing this, strain the braising liquid and place in a medium-sized saucepan with the fennel seeds and beef broth. Reduce slowly to 375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups), skimming oil and residue regularly. This will take approximately 1.5 -- 2 hours. Set aside.


To make the filling, mince the refrigerated pork belly. Shred the cheeks and set aside to add to the sauce later. Mix the minced pork belly in a large bowl with the prosciutto, Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, ricotta cheese and seasoning.


To make the mezzelune, roll the sheets of egg pasta dough to less than 1 mm in thickness and cut into round discs roughly 6 cm (2 ½ inches) in diameter with a pastry cutter. Place a teaspoon of filling on one side of each of the discs and fold the other side to form half-moon ravioli, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Press the edges down to seal with your fingers. Tidy the edges up by trimming with a slightly smaller pastry cutter. Dust with the semolina and place on trays lined with non-stick baking paper.


Reheat the shredded pork cheek in the reduced sauce. Cook the ravioli in abundant salted boiling water. Drain and serve with the heated pork sauce and extra Parmigiana Reggiano cheese.


Note: You may need to order the pork cheek in advance from a specialist butcher. Ask the butcher to denude the pork cheek for you (i.e. trim it completely of fat).


Chicken broth


(Makes approximately 2.5 litres (87 fl oz/10 cups)

1-1.2 kg (2lb, 4 oz - 2lb,10 oz) free-range chicken or boiling hen

1 kg (2lb 4 oz) fresh chicken bones, thoroughly washed

100g (3½ oz) carrot, roughly chopped

100g (3½ oz) celery stalks, roughly chopped

100g (3½ oz) leek, roughly chopped

100g (3½ oz) onion, roughly chopped

100g (3½ oz) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind

3 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs

4 litres (140 fl oz/16 cups) water

fine sea salt, to taste


Method


Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer without a lid for 2½--3 hours. Skim away the excess fat and other particles that come to the surface of the liquid throughout the cooking process. Remove the chicken, shred the meat from the bones (discard the skin and bones), strain the liquid through a fine strainer and refrigerate. If there is excess fat, it will solidify at the top of the refrigerated broth. Remove this with a spoon before using the broth. The cooked chicken can be used in other recipes. Chicken broth can be made in advance and frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months.


Beef broth


(Makes approximately 2.5 litres (87 fl oz/10 cups)

2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) beef bones and trimmings (see note)

2 tablespoons olive oil

100 g (3½ oz) onion, roughly chopped

100 g (3½ oz) carrot, roughly chopped

100 g (3½ oz) celery stalks, roughly chopped

40 g (1½ oz) garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

4 litres (140 fl oz/16 cups) water

2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

5 black peppercorns

2 thyme sprigs

2 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs


Preheat the oven to 150 C (300 F/Gas 2). Place the beef bones and trimmings in a roasting tin and bake until nicely browned (approximately 1-1½ hours). Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until they are nicely browned.


Deglaze the roasting tin with some of the water, then add this with all the other ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and slowly simmer without a lid for 3-4 hours. Skim away the excess fat and other particles that come to the surface of the liquid throughout the cooking process. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer and refrigerate. If there is excess fat, it will solidify at the top of the refrigerated broth. Remove this with a spoon and discard before using the broth. Beef broth can be made in advance and frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months.


Note: Replace the beef bones with veal bones to make veal stock.


Fresh egg pasta dough


(Makes approximately 600 g (1 lb, 5 oz)


330 g (11½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra, for kneading

70 g (2½ oz) fine semolina

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 x 59g (2¼ oz) free range or organic eggs


Method

Combine the flour, semolina and sea salt and place on a work surface or large wooden board. The flour should form a peaked mound. With your hand, make a hole in the top of the mound so that it resembles a volcano. This hole needs to be big enough to be able to 'house' the eggs. Break the eggs into the hole. With your hand or with a fork, gently beat the eggs, then slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. I do this by moving my hand in a circular motion, slowly incorporating the flour from the inside wall of the mound. Don't worry if the dough looks like a mess. This is normal. Once fully combined, knead a little more flour into the dough if it feels a little wet and sticky. Set the dough aside and clean the work space. Dust some fresh flour onto the work surface and continue kneading the dough for another 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Next, roll the pasta to the desired thickness and cut into the desired shape.




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