Rocco Forte Hotels

Since the times of the ancient Romans, the carnival, or Saturnalia, was a time of celebration and special fried foods, deriving from the Latin word “frictilia”. Later, Christianity perpetuated the tradition by retaining these preparatory delicacies for the meagre days of Lent.

My childhood memories are still vivid, with the scent of spices in the air reminding me that

Carnival had arrived and ingredients, considered "exotic" at the time, making the occasion all the more memorable. Popular treats took different shapes from country to country, with varying names in each region, yet similar ingredients.

My favourites of these are still the sweet ravioli filled with ricotta cream. They require a little dexterity but I find them delicious. I love ravioli in every variation; I love the secret they hide, the surprise of the first taste, the aesthetic modesty that turns into pure emotion.

In this recipe, I would like to explore past the canonical scents of traditional spices – the cinnamon-cloves-nutmeg trilogy – and add new essences such as herbs and essential oils to enhance the complementary tastefulness. This is my grandma's recipe, which we as children would all gather round to watch her create.


The pasta ingredients:

300 gr type 0 flour 

40 gr sweet wine, like Marsala

35 gr extra virgin olive oil

50 gr sugar

2 eggs

1 pinch of salt


Pasta recipe:

Make a mountain with the flour 

Add the eggs and add them strictly by hand to the flour

Next, add sugar, oil, salt and Marsala

Knead until the mixture is smooth

Cover with a cloth and leave to rest for an hour


The filling:

300 gr ricotta

100 gr icing sugar

10 gr candied orange peel (untreated)

1 clove

1 cardamom pod

1 tip of star anise

1 pinch of mace

1 pinch of cinnamon

15 natural pistachios

10 mint leaves


How to assemble:

Drain the ricotta in a pan covered with gauze fabric to avoid direct contact with the metal.

Cut the candied peel into small cubes

Coarsely chop the pistachios

Take the seeds from the cardamom and chop finely with the other spices and mint leaves

Gently mix all the ingredients in with the ricotta

Roll out the dough very thinly with a rolling pin or with a pastry machine. If it is sticky, it helps to use a pinch of flour

With the help of a glass or a metal cup, cut out moulds of about 6 centimetres in diameter

Arrange a teaspoon of filling on the dough, slightly off-centre, close the ravioli on itself to form a crescent, let the air out and weld

Trim with a knurled pastry wheel (grandmothers never used a smooth wheel)

The remaining scraps of dough between the cut circles can be kneaded again or fried separately for a joyful preview, loved by children

Fry the ravioli, preferably, in extra virgin olive oil at around 160 degrees

As soon as they have a nice amber colour and come to the surface, drain them and place them on a paper towel, leaving them to cool slightly

To finish, sprinkle with powdered sugar if you wish


Discover more inspiring travel stories and recipes on The Notebook, Rocco Forte Hotels’ travel blog.

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