This weekend I did some experimenting with ingredients. One effort was built around two artisan flours from Italy, Pane Nero and Maiorca, from Sicily. Gustiamo is the source for these in the US. I decided to try making ravioli, using the leftover filling of almond milk ricotta and cavolo nero from Barbara’s baked Eggplant Parmigiano. I tried the dough with 20% Pane Nero and 80% Maiorca.
It was a challenge, since I had not used these before. I tried my standard pasta-making recipe of 200 grams of flour, one large egg, salt, a little olive oil and a little water. Unfortunately, I probably needed more water, because the dough was very hard and had difficulty staying together. I persisted, and eventually was able to make 16 hand-cut ravioli. I cooked them in a wide pan of salted water, and then finished with a sauce of fresh tomato, chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. The final results were good, served with an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc from Italy.
My other experiment was with seitan — made from vital wheat gluten, whose texture is somewhat akin to that of meat. Since sautéed veal cutlets and veal tidbits grilled over a wood fire were among my favorite meats in my omnivorous days past, I tried to get a bit of that feel in the dish. I sliced the seitan like a few cutlets, and also cut some smaller pieces to resemble tidbits. After dusting them with flour and salt, I sautéed them in olive oil in a good cast iron skillet. Then I cooked some chopped red onions, and after that, some cubed potatoes. Finally, they all went back in the pan to heat up and serve. Results were tolerable. It’s not veal, but they were close enough to conjure up the images.