If you do not have a pasta machine, or find yourself pressed for time, some Italian delis sell sheets of pasta. You can, however, make very good ravioli by substituting Chinese won-ton wrappers. The fillings do not have to be remotely Oriental, as in this recipe adapted from
Make a béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a heavy pan over a gentle heat, stir in the flour and cook gently, stirring, for a minute. Stir in the milk, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring until thick and smooth. Simmer gently.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then add the chopped garlic and continue cooking until the potatoes are done. Drain and return to the hot pan to dry off.
Mash dry until smooth, then add the chopped parsley and butter, beating it to a smooth purée. Keep warm.
Season the béchamel sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper and leave over the lowest heat, stirring from time to time, while you make the ravioli.
Put a big pan of salted water to come to the boil. While it heats, put
Poach the finished ravioli in the simmering water. They are done when they float to the surface, about 3–5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop them into the béchamel sauce, turning them gently to coat.
Put 4 ravioli in each of 4 warmed bowls, dust with freshly grated Parmesan and either snip some chives over or tear a couple of basil leaves to scatter over the top.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.