The edges of ravioli are the problem. Unless you are very skilled and have several generations of Italian blood in your veins, the outer part will be double the thickness of the rest and will not cook as well.
Another problem with ravioli is that you can’t fit enough filling into the centres for my taste – not unless you make them very large, one per portion. Trendy restaurants in northern Italy feature ravioli aperti which avoid these problems. This way of assembling the ravioli after the pasta is cooked is fine.
Chicken livers are one of the few genuine luxury ingredients which are not yet expensive. I enjoy applying the same skill and effort to cheaper ingredients and, in fact, once bought a restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon to demonstrate that sophisticated flavours could be served to people not blessed with an expense account. This wasn’t an entirely good idea and when I say ‘bought’, what I mean is Barclays Bank bought a restaurant and owned all the assets. I merely worked seven days a week to make the payments and was responsible for the debts.
In time there were a reasonable number of customers who thought the food and wine were good but I resented the hours spent on paperwork rather than cooking. This paperwork will tend to increase in direct relation to your overdraft does and Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise officers will come and visit you regularly if you don’t fill in their forms and post them large cheques. Making these officers stand in the rain in the back yard by the rubbish for a while before treating them to a few well-chosen jibes was, in retrospect, probably a mistake but elated me at the time.
This chicken liver dish was typical of those on the menu. I make my own pasta, which is not difficult, but if you can buy fresh pasta then the dish is very quick to prepare.
© 1990 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.