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Grandma’s Calves Brain Ravioli

Calves Brain Ravioli

Ingredients

Makes about 48 Ravioli

Kosher salt

2 pounds calves brains, soaked in cold water to cover for 2 hours, outer filament removed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 large red onions, sliced

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 bunch red swiss chard, cut into ½ in ribbons

1 cup fresh ricotta

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pasta dough (optionally homemade)

Oxtail Ragu

Directions

To make the Ravioli

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring about 6 quarts of water to a simmer and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the brains and poach for about 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool.

 

Meanwhile, in a 12 to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly till softened. Add sausage and cook until the pink is gone, about 8 minutes. Add chard and stir through to mix with sausage and then cover and cook 15 minutes until the chard gives up its water.  Remove lid and cook until dry, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

 

When the brains have cooled, chop them fine and place them in a large bowl. Chop the onion/sausage/chard mixture fine (or use a food processor) and add to the bowl with the brains and add the ricotta, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

 

Divide the pasta dough into 4 equal portions and roll each out to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine. Lay 1 sheet of pasta on a work surface and use a pastry cutter to make 12 (2 ½- by 1-inch) rectangles. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the brain filling on one side of each rectangle and fold the dough in half to form a square. Press firmly around the edges to seal. Continue with the remaining pasta and filling. These can be set aside on a baking tray, the layers separated by dish towels, and refrigerated, for up to 6 hours.

 

To prepare dish

Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Meanwhile, In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat about 3 cups of the oxtail ragú.

 

Gently drop the ravioli into the boiling water and cook at a gentle simmer for 3 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the ravioli to the sauté pan with the ragú. Toss very gently over medium heat to coat the ravioli with the ragú, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among six heated bowls and grate pecorino over each bowl. Serve immediately.

 

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More Mario

Grandma’s Calves Brain Ravioli

Mario reminisces about his Grandma Leonetta and her legendary calves brain ravioli–then whips up a batch for his family.  Here’s to holiday traditions!

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