This dish was inspired by the ravioli we had at Lo Stuzzichino during our latest vacation to Italy: ravioli filled with ricotta perfumed with lemon zest, served with vongole. Although making your own ravioli from scratch requires some practice, this is otherwise a simple dish with only a few ingredients. To dress the ravioli I decided to make an emulsion of the clam juices with extra virgin olive oil and parsley, and that worked very well.
For 4-6 servings as a primo piatto
- 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) vongole
- grated zest of 1 untreated lemon
- 1 small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
- 250 grams (1 cup) ricotta
- fresh pasta dough made with 2 eggs and about 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) Italian 00 flour
- extra virgin olive oil
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
Place the ricotta in a colander or sieve lined with a cheesecloth or old but clean kitchen towel over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight to drain the excess liquid from the ricotta. This is an important step for the texture of the filling, and it also prevents the ravioli from becoming soggy and sticking to the work surface.
Combine the drained ricotta with the grated zest of a lemon and salt to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon).
Stir to mix.
Roll out the pasta dough to the thinnest setting and make ravioli according to my instructions, with about 1/2 tablespoon of filling for each raviolo.
Make sure to turn the ravioli after 15 minutes or so, so the bottom can dry as well. The ravioli can be prepared in advance and stored at cool room temperature for several hours or in the refrigerator for a longer time.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the ravioli.
Soak the clams in salted water (1 litre/4 cups of cold water mixed with 30 grams of salt) for about an hour to allow them to purge themselves. Then rinse the clams with cold water, and discard any clams that are open.
Put the clams in a pan with the white wine. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, and boil until the clams have opened. Do not boil the clams longer than necessary.
Strain the juices from the clams through kitchen paper, then pour it into a blender together with olive oil and 60 ml (4 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil.
Blend to chop the parsley and emulsify the oil with the clam juices. Pour this emulsion into a wide pan over low heat.
Add salt to the boiling water and cook the ravioli for only 2 minutes, then lift hem out of the pot with a strainer…
…and add to the pan with the clam emulsion.
Once you have added all of the ravioli, toss them gently to cover them with the clam emulsion.
Serve the ravioli at once on preheated plates, garnished with the clams.
This will work with almost any dry white unoaked Italian white wine, such as Verdicchio, Gavi, Greco, Fiano, Vermentino, or Arneis.