Ofelle alla Triestina (Gnocchi Ravioli), Recipe from Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Ofelle alla Triestina are an unusual and tasty homemade ravioli from Trieste in Friuli Venezia Giulia filled with sausage, veal and spinach and served dressed in melted butter and grated cheese! A delicious recipe from a region full of culinary treasures!
So what are ofelle alla Triestina?
Some people call them potato ravioli, others say gnocchi ravioli. But, whichever description you use, ofelle Triestine or ofella alla Triestina are a unique type of ravioli filled with sausage meat, ground veal and spinach. These ravioli are unique because they are only made in Friuli Venezia Giulia and the dough is similar to an gnocchi dough. Yes it contains potatoes. But, the finished filled pasta looks like ravioli! So, gnocchi ravioli!
I discovered this recipe whilst researching pasta from Friuli Venezia Giulia. This is Italy’s most eastern region. It not only borders Austria and Slovenia, but has a complex history of occupation through the ages. This includes parts or all of the region being ruled at one time or another by the Byzantines, the Roman Empire, the Venetian republic, Napoleon and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Without going into a long narrative about the history of this region, suffice to say that the cuisine in this part of Italy has been influenced not only by its neighbours but also by the occupying states. Here, you can find dishes not eaten in other parts of the Italian peninsula, as well as the use of ingredients which are not popular in other Italian regions.
Both filled pasta and gnocchi are ancient traditional foods in Italy, particularly in Northern Italy. However, the only traditional example I have found of potatoes used to make ravioli dough is this recipe for ofelle alla Triestina. This is not a pasta that you will find ready-made. So, the only way to try it is to travel to Trieste or make it yourself!
Making ofelle alla Triestina
The method for making the dough for ofelle is much the same as making potato gnocchi. However instead of forming gnocchi you need to roll the dough out like for ravioli. Getting the right consistency and thickness is a little more difficult. However, the rolled out dough can, and needs to be, a little thicker that ravioli dough.
At first, I was a little skeptical about the thickness. But, actually, if you make them too thin, the ofelle will fall apart. And although they are thicker than ravioli, they taste like gnocchi, so no excessive doughy flavour.
The filling is pretty easy to make and very tasty. These ravioli don’t need a sauce as such.Traditionally, they are served with melted butter and a mountain cheese called Montasio. However, you can use Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana.
This is an unusual type of pasta that does require a little bit of work. However, it’s more or less the same as making homemade ravioli or gnocchi. I’m sure that if you try these ofelle alla Triestina, you’ll love them as much as I do!
If you do try this ofelle alla Triestina recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
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These delicious unusual ravioli are made with gnocchi dough and filled with sausage meat, ground veal and spinach. If you've ever made gnocchi or ravioli, you'll love making ofelle!
- 1 kg potatoes (2.20 lbs) Best to use starchy potatoes. Russets or King Edwards are good
- 300 g All purpose flour or Italian 00 flour (10oz)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp yeast (for baking)
- 1 pinch salt
- 800 g fresh spinach (28 oz)
- 200 g ground veal (7oz)
- 200 g Italian sausages (7oz) casing removed and chopped
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 20 g butter (0,7 oz)
- salt to cook pasta and to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 100 g butter (3.5oz)
- 80 g Montasio or Parmigiano Reggiano grated (3oz)
Boil the potatoes whole in salted water until very tender. Drain and, while still warm, peel, and press through a ricer or food mill. (I actually press the potatoes without peeling as the peel stays inside the ricer)
Place the riced potatoes in a large bowl and add the eggs, a pinch of salt, the yeast and enough flour to make a dough that is the same consistency of gnocchi dough. (I started with 300g but added a bit more as the dough seemed too wet)
Mix ingredients together. Then turn out onto a floured pastry or pasta board. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, then let rest covered with a cloth or tea towel for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the spinach with just a tablespoon of water until wilted. Drain and press out any excess liquid. Chop finely
Peel and finely chop the onions and fry until soft in melted butter.
In a large frying pan or skillet, heat a little olive oil over , then add the cooked onion, cooked spinach, ground veal, and chopped sausage meat, and cook over a medium-high heat until the meat is nicely browned. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll one quarter of pasta dough out into a rectangle of 9-10 cm wide until it is about 3-5 mm thick. You can use a pasta machine to do this, but I didn’t. Place a scant tablespoons of the filling along one side of the rectangle at about 3-5 cm apart and 1cm away from the edge.
Fold the pasta over the filling and press down around the filling. Cut out the ofelle/ravioli squares with a serrated pasta wheel. I then used a fork to make a ‘frill’ along each side of the ofelle and seal the filling inside. Set the ofelle aside on a floured surface or plate.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and bring to a boil again. Cook the ofelle in the boiling water until they are tender and cooked through. They will probably rise to the surface when almost ready. Then cook for another minute. In total give them about 4 minutes.
While the ofelle are cooking melt the rest of the butter in a small pan.
Drain and place the ofelle in a serving bowl or plate. Drizzle some melted butter over them, top with grated Montasio or Parmigiano Reggiano and serve immediately.
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