Meat Ravioli with Ligurian Meat Sauce

Ravioli Genovese al Tocco


  • up to 1 kg egg pasta (simple or enriched)
  • the cooked meat from the tocco
  • 100 g veal sweetbreads (or extra brains)
  • 100 g calves’ or lambs’ brains (or extra sweetbreads)
  • 250 g picked borage leaves (or chard or, failing that, spinach)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 200 g grated Parmesan
  • a tiny bunch of marjoram (7 g), leaves picked; fresh oregano will do otherwise


Poach the sweetbreads and brains in salted water until firm (about 12 minutes at the gentlest of simmers), and leave them to cool in the water. Pick off any particularly gnarly looking membranes and discard. Boil the borage leaves until tender, drain, refresh under cold water and squeeze dry with as much force as you can muster.

Put the meats (braised tocco meat, sweetbreads and brains) in a food processor and work to a coarse paté. Add all the other ingredients and process to a smooth paste with flecks of green from the borage and marjoram.

This yields about 1kg of filling – enough for 1kg egg pasta dough. You don’t need to make so many ravioli though – the filling freezes well (in a container or wrapped in pasta as finished ravioli), or can be used to make excellent cannelloni. Use a 1:1 ratio of pasta and filling, allowing 150g finished ravioli per person as a main course.

To make the ravioli, roll a manageable amount of the pasta just under a millimetre thick, the second-finest settings on most machines. Be sure there is no flour on the outside of the pasta – the surface must be moist enough to stick to itself, and your dough should be dry enough not to stick to the worktop or your hands. Cut the rolled pasta into two equal sheets. On one, dot with small amounts (scant teaspoonfuls) of the filling in a square grid at 4cm centres. If the pasta has dried out, mist lightly with a spray of water – not necessary if your dough is good and you’re working fast. Cover with the other sheet of pasta and press around each piece of filling to exclude air, then press down on each piece to flatten slightly. Cut the pasta into squares using a wavy roller cutter, or a simple knife, and transfer the ravioli to a tray lightly dusted with semolina. Repeat the process until you have used all the pasta and filling.

Cool the pasta al dente, and dress with 70ml tocco per 150g ravioli. You won’t have enough sauce for ravioli made from all the filling, but light tomato sauce, pine nuts, marjoram, and butter or butter and sage will be delicious on the remainder.