Have you ever tried to make your own pasta at home? If you think it’s too difficult and time consuming, I will admit I have been in the same team for quite a while.
Pasta plays a pivotal role in Italian cuisine and if you have ever been to Italy, you might have ended up at quite a few restaurants serving fresh homemade pasta.
If like me, you have been amazed by the difference in taste but never made an attempt to make your own pasta at home, I can only recommend you take the leap and have a go. You might be surprised how easy and quick the whole exercise turns out.
And believe me, once you have started, there is no turning back!
Homemade ravioli are a great start if you want to try your hand at making your own pasta from scratch. Making the dough is easy (see recipe below) and while there are several tools that will help you working it into the right shape for ravioli – think a pasta attachment on your stand mixer and a ravioli maker or ravioli stamp – don’t worry if you do not have any of those. Because you can actually make ravioli simply using a rolling pin and a fork!
These lemon-mascarpone ravioli are a little tweak on the classic ravioli filled with parmesan and ricotta (often in combination with some herbs or spinach).
Outside of Italy, mascarpone is often understood to be an ingredient for sweet dishes, as it is essential in tiramisu and quite often seen in other desserts too.
However, mascarpone is a cream cheese and as such is an excellent ingredient to be incorporated in a large range of savoury dishes too. It tastes slightly sweet, has around twice as much fat a regular cream cheese and will provide a rich and creamy texture.
Add some lemon zest and juice, season with salt and pepper and you will have a unique, citrusy, and refreshing filling for your ravioli.
You could of course simply top the ravioli with some melted butter but since the filling will be fairly delicate and slightly liquid, I found serving it with a homemade pesto alla Genovese just adds a bit more texture.
Food and wine pairing
These lemon-mascarpone ravioli are fairly easy to pair – almost any crisp, refreshing white or rosé will work well.
That said, the tricky part here is the pesto, adding a fairly dominating herbaceous flavour.
The best match for pasta topped with basil pesto are mineral-driven white wines. It will nicely cut through rich, pungent green flavours of the pesto.
For the lemon-mascarpone ravioli topped with fresh pesto alla Genovese, I have chosen a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.
There are different styles of course, but in general South African Sauvignon Blanc’s deliver well-defined flavours with bright, and sometimes vibrant, acidity.
Alternatively, look for a nice Italian Vermentino or Soave to pair with the lemon-mascarpone ravioli.
About Cape Point Vineyards
Nestled behind the southwestern slopes of the Constantia amphitheatre of mountains and just about three kilometres from the cold Atlantic Ocean, Cape Point Vineyards is part of a very unique winegrowing area across the Cape.
The area is similar to the nearby Constantia Valley but due to the proximity to the Ocean and the area being covered by mountainous clouds more often, growing conditions are cooler. This makes Cape Point a perfect location for heat-sensitive grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc.
Cape Point Vineyards is currently the only wine farm in the designated Cape Point wine of origin production area.
The winery is also unique in offering spectacular views over the nearby Ocean. It’s your perfect stop during a round-trip of the Cape Point area; ideally driving Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most picture-perfect coastal drives in the world with 114 bends and several viewing points on your way to Cape Point Vineyards. Then stop at the winery for a tasting a picnic on the lawn or a lunch (or dinner) at the restaurant.
Tasting notes: Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc
In the glass: a light golden yellow.
On the nose: aromas of freshly picked apricots, ripe pears, apple and granadilla with hints of fynbos and dried herbs.
On the palate: refreshing bright acidity and a long fruity finish.
Recipe: Lemon-Mascarpone Ravioli
For the dough
400 g all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
100 ml water
For the filling
500 g mascarpone cheese
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chieves
½ teaspoon salt
150 g parmesan (optional)
Knead flour, eggs, salt, and water to a smooth dough. If too dry, add a bit more water.
Cover and keep apart until needed.
For the filling, mix the mascarpone, juice and grated zest of the lemon, chieves and salt and season with pepper to taste.
If you want your filling a bit thicker, stir grated parmesan into the lemon- mascarpone mixture.
Divide the pasta dough into 8 batches.
On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, thinly roll out the dough (around 5 mm) to a rectangle.
If you do not have a ravioli maker or ravioli stamp, cut out small cycles using a glass or similar. Put dollops of the filling (about one teaspoon) to one side of the dough. Cover with the other side and using a fork pinch the two sides together.
If you have a ravioli stamp, distribute the dollops along one side of the rectangle, a few cm apart from each other. Then cover with the other side of the rectangle and cut out the ravioli with the stamp.
Continue until you have worked up each batch of the dough.
In a large saucepan, bring abundant water to a simmer, season with salt, then add the ravioli and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Serve topped with homemade Pesto alle Genovese. For the recipe, check out my recent post: How to make an authentic Pesto alla Genovese.
Let me know how you liked the recipe in the comments below.