For some time now I’ve been thinking about making Italian pulled pork ravioli thanks to a delivery of Murray Valley Pork staring at me every time I open my freezer. The thought of incredibly flavourful pulled pork as a filling for perfect pockets of pasta was making my mouth water. I must confess that since making it, my mouth waters even more at every thought of this dish – the flavour was more than I could ever have bargained for. More about why later.
Those who know me, know that I’m largely an advocate of quick, delicious and flavourful meals from fresh ingredients. While I stand by this during the week, on the weekend I am a follower of the principal that taking time to labour over a truly magical dish can have epic effects on the soul. If pasta is the queen of this principal, then ravioli is the king.
While the effort required to make and fill fresh pasta is totally worth it for the result, you can always buy store bought fresh lasagna sheets from the supermarket, cut circles and use it to make ravioli – it totally works, and no one will think less of you!
I also completely condone only making the Italian pulled pork if that’s all you want to do, but hold off on deciding until the end of this post – I need to tell you about these ravioli and what makes them so incredible.
The reason they are so flavourful is that every single thing found in the pot from the 5 hour braising time is added to the ravioli (well, except the 2 bay leaves, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me for that).
The pork is first rubbed with salt, oregano and fennel and is then slow cooked for 5 hours with onions in white wine and a tin of tomatoes (and those two bay leaves). After 5 hours you are left with three things:
- Strands of perfectly seasoned pulled pork
- Slow cooked onions and tomatoes
- A concentrated liquid full of flavours from the pork, onions and tomatoes
All three of these things are used in the final ravioli. Firstly, the onions and tomatoes are strained from the liquid and blended, then added to the pulled pork for the ravioli filling. Then, the remaining liquid is strained to remove sediment, cooled to separate the fat from the liquid, and then used as a consommé to pour over the ravioli instead of a sauce.
In short, it is a flavour explosion. It is a recipe that satisfyingly uses up every ingredient so that there is little to no waste (I’m looking at you pesky inedible bay leaves!) and you feel like a bona fide Italian nonna!
If after reading all of the above you still think “thanks Amanda, but really I just want to made the pulled pork and not be judged for not making the ravioli”, then so be it! Feel free to make the first half of the recipe and stir the pulled pork through cooked store bought spaghetti, or throw it in a fresh ciabatta roll with fresh rocket, or add it to a pizza, or put it in a lasagna… you get my drift.
Better yet, if you want to keep some for all the above but still want to make this ravioli, why not make a half batch of ravioli to freeze until you need it and use the rest of the pulled pork on anything and everything.
Italian Pulled Pork Ravioli
Italian Pulled Pork
- 1.4kg pork loin
- 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- 3 teaspoons dried Italian oregano
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 x 400g tin peeled Italian tomatoes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, halved and flattened
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 600g '00' flour
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Extra flour for dusting
The day before (or up to 2 days before) you are making the ravioli, prepare the pork.
Preheat oven to 150° Celsius (300° Fahrenheit).
Pat the pork dry on all sides and set aside. Place fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind until roughly crushed. Combine with oregano, salt and pepper and still to combine. Take handfuls of the mixture and press onto all sides of the pork piece evenly until it coats the pork.
Place the pork in the bottom of a cast iron dutch oven and add the tin of tomatoes (crushed with your hands or with a fork), wine, bay leaves, garlic and onion. Place the lid on and put in the preheated oven for 5 hours, turning the pork over halfway through. After 5 hours test if the pork pulls away from itself easily with tongs. If not, leave it in for another 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer the pork to a wooden board. Using two forks, pull apart the strands of pork and then set aside.
Discard the bay leaves, then strain the vegetables from the liquid (keeping each) and place the vegetables in a blender. Blend until smooth and then add to the pulled pork and stir to combine. Cover and cool the pork, then set aside in the fridge overnight.
Strain the remaining liquid through a muslin lined cheesecloth and then place in a jar and set aside in the fridge overnight. The next day when the oil and fat from the pork has solidified at the top of the jar, gently remove and discard this layer with a spoon - we are going to use this with the ravioli instead of a sauce.
You could easily stop here and not worry about making the ravioli. Or, you can eat half now and use the remaining half to make enough ravioli to serve 3-4 people.
PULLED PORK RAVIOLI
The pasta ratio I use to determine how much flour and egg is required is as follows: 1 person = 100g flour + 1 egg.
Place the flour on a clean bench. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined, then add the olive oil.
Knead the pieces of dough together until one large lump of dough forms. You need to work the dough until it become smooth and elastic. Kneading the dough will take about 10-15 minutes of hard kneading. Once smooth and elastic, wrap it in glad wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Clamp your pasta machine to the bench and dust the bench top with flour. Cut a lump of the dough (about the size of a small orange) and flatten it out with the palm of your hand. Set the pasta machine at the widest setting and roll the lump through. Then set the machine down a level and roll the dough through again. Continue this process going down a level each time until you get it as thin as you desire. Repeat with all of the dough until you are left with fresh lasagna sheets.
Cut large circles, about 9-10cm in diameter from the lasagna sheets. Take the remaining pasta scraps and put back through the machine to make as many circles as you can. Each raviolo will use two pasta circles.
Take one pasta circle and place a tablespoon full of the pulled pork mixture in the centre. Using a brush or your finger, wet the edges of the pasta with a little water and place another circle of pasta on top. Join the circles at one edge and then work around the circle, joining the edges while pushing any air out of the ravioli as you go. You will need to stretch the top layer of pasta over the filling as you go. You can leave the edges circular, or you can use a crimped pasta cutter around the edges like I did.
Repeat with remaining pasta dough and pulled pork filling. At this point you can freeze the ravioli if you want to use it at a later date, or you can leave in the fridge until ready to cook. Wherever you store them, make sure you separate the ravioli in layers between non-stick paper that has been lightly sprinkled with flour or semolina flour.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over medium high heat. Drop in the ravioli and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are cooked, but still al dente.
When cooked remove from the water and place on serving plates. Place the pulled pork liquid in the microwave for 1 minute to liquify completely and warm up, then evenly pour the liquid over the pasta in the serving plates. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and continental parsley or a micro herb (I used micro rocket I bought at Woolworths).
The Maitre’D Steel Mini Paella pan featured in this post with the pulled pork is from Scanpan with thanks.
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