Christmas in Italy Includes Fresh Homemade Pasta
Christmas is just around the corner…and in my house, that usually means we’re preparing for a big day of fresh pasta making!
Traditionally, our family and friends gather at our house and we put everyone to work on one big project: the Christmas ravioli.
We prepare the pasta dough, roll it out into thin sheets, make several different delicious fillings, and stuff pasta to our heart’s delight. Flour is flying, people are laughing, the kitchen turns into one big festive pasta-making factory. It’s everyone’s favorite holiday tradition!
Aside from simply enjoying the company of our friends, and the food of course, the best thing about our fresh pasta tradition is that we always end up making so much ravioli that everyone leaves (bellies full of course) clutching bags of pasta to feed them for the next few weeks.
Our Favorite Christmas Pasta Recipes
The Great “Ravioli Day” Tradition
To make our famous holiday ravioli, we start with a simple pasta dough recipe made with Einkorn wheat. Einkorn is an ancient grain that has not been processed and modified over the years. As such, it is incredibly nutritious and does not cause a lot of the sensitivities that average modern wheat does.
Once we have our dough rolled out and ready, we fill with a few seasonal fillings. Here are some of our favorites from the past few years:
The sweetness of the pumpkin and the silky texture of the mascarpone cheese makes this filling an incredibly decadent, yet healthy holiday meal.
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree, squeeze the water out through a thick cheese cloth, measure the dry puree
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice or nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground sage
Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy the goodness.
Almost-Traditional Meat Ravioli
Nothing is more heartwarming than a big plate of meat ravioli covered in a vibrant tomato sauce. The traditional Italian recipe calls for a base of ground beef, pork, and veal. But, because of ethical concerns about the way most calves are treated in the US, I don’t recommend using veal in this recipe. Instead, try a mix of grass-fed beef, pork, and bison – and shop locally when possible!
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 TBS olive oil
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 pound pork
1 pound bison
1 TSP salt
¼ cup packed parsley
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
My simple time-saving trick for making these meat raviolis: it usually does not make sense to cook up small portions of these three meats, so I start to make a meat sauce (which I will use on the ravioli) and remove the meat for the ravioli filling before adding the tomato sauce.
It takes 30 minutes start to finish to make this wonderful, versatile dish sauce, make it along with the video, or keep reading for step by step instructions below.
Here’s how to start:
Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. When onion is translucent, add 1 lbs each of grass fed ground beef, pork, and bison. Season with salt and cook until browned. At this point take out 3/4 cups of the mixture for your filling (continued below). To finish off your sauce, add 3 jars of any of our pasta sauces and simmer for 20 minutes, adding salt to taste.
Finish the ravioli filling:
Put the meat mixture in a food processor with 1/4 packed flat parsley, 1/4 grated parmesan cheese, 1 egg. Process for 2 minutes or until chopped very small and stays together when rolled into small balls.
Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli
Growing up in Piemonte gave me a deep respect for mushrooms and I love to use them whenever I can. Stuffed with cheese inside a homemade ravioli? Sounds like the perfect plan.
8 oz button mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water (measure dry)
1/4 cup Sheep’s Milk or regular Ricotta (water squeezed out)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
Sauté the mushrooms with a little EVOO until fully roasted. Add the porcini mushrooms and sauté until roasted. Put in mushrooms, cheese, salt, and oregano in a food processor and process until creamy.
Try all or any of these, and you can be sure they’ll steal the show. This year, we chose to do something different pasta-wise, check our 2020 Tri-Color Harvest Gnocchi recipe.