We shared a recipe for Torta Caprese a while back. We can’t seem to get Capri off our minds apparently, because today we’re sharing another wonderful Capri specialty, Ravioli Capresi.
The Emperor Tiberius built his breathtaking Villa Jovis on the island of Capri, and had his engineers dig a stairwell through the rock that connected his mansion with the Blue Grotto below, which was his private swimming pool. Glamour and luxury have since been one with the island. During my last stay on Capri, I lived it up in a completely different, more down-to-earth way: I learned how to make authentic ravioli capresi, instructed by and islander who had never set foot on the mainland.If torta caprese is the sweet symbol of Capri, perfectly round pasta pockets filled with semi-aged cheese, eggs and marjoram are the island’s signature savory dish. Ravioli Capresi are an ancient local recipe that’s been handed down from generation to generation. The housekeeper of the place I stayed at in Capri offered to let me watch as she prepared dinner using just a few simple ingredients. I stole all her secrets.
For the ravioli dough:
500 g (1.1 lbs) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
500 ml (2 cups) boiling water
For the ravioli filling:
300 g (1 1/3 cups) caciotta type cheese, grated
200 g (1 cup) Parmigiano cheese, grated
Sprigs of fresh marjoram
For the sauce:
1 can plum tomatoes or San Marzano
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Start by making the dough.
Place the flour in a mound on a flat, dry surface. Make a crater in the middle and pour the olive oil and hot water into it. Knead to obtain compact, firm dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Break the eggs in a bowl and add the caciotta, Parmigiano cheese and the marjoram leaves. Work together with a fork, and refrigerate.
On your floured work surface, divide the ball of dough into 4 sections. Use a rolling pin to roll out the first quarter of the dough into a thin sheet, about 3 mm (roughly 1/8″).
On half the sheet, place balls (about a teaspoon ful) of the eggy cheese mixture, spacing the balls about 3 inches apart. Take the other half of the sheet and cover the first half. Proceed to separate the ravioli, cutting around each ball with either a ravioli cutter or a cookie cutter, with a diameter of roughly 2 inches.
Repeat this procedure with each of the remaining quarters of the dough.
Once you have finished making all your ravioli, rest them on a kitchen towel in a single layer.
Before cooking the ravioli, which only take a few minutes, be sure to have your sauce ready.
Add the olive oil to a hot wide bottomed pot along with the garlic and let it tan just slightly. Add the crushed tomatoes and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water until they float to the surface.
Serve dressed with the simple tomato sauce, a generous dusting of grated Parmigiano cheese, garnishing with a few fresh basil leaves.
Uncork the chilled Falanghina and prepare to serve seconds.
Eleonora Baldwin is a TV host, journalist, and culinary connoisseur based in Rome, Italy. Her writing appears in several food and travel publications. Her show “ABCheese” is broadcast on Italian food network Gambero Rosso. She loves guiding culturally curious, food-passionate travellers seeking experiences in Italy beyond the guidebook.