Marbling refers to the quality of a surface that has streaks of colour like that of marble rock, and is a decorative technique used in fabric dying and paper printing. In the food world, marbling is often used to embellish cakes, so we decided to apply this striking visual effect to sheets of pasta.
The marbling effect is created in the pasta by layering together dyed and non-dyed sheets of dough. You could also marble with concentrated beetroot juice or chlorophyll extracted from spinach.
If you’re making homemade ricotta you’ll need to give yourself a few hours, or prepare it a day earlier. You’ll also need some muslin or cheesecloth (found at fabric stores) or a (very clean) tea towel.
Illustrated by Ky Anderson
Marbled Ravioli with Peppered Ricotta, Cherry Tomato & Sage Butter Sauce
- 16g squid ink
- 5 cups flour
- 5 eggs
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 500g ricotta
Set up 2 mixing bowls. In one bowl add 2 cups of flour, and in one bowl 3. In the centre of the flour, make a well, to the bowl with 2 cups of flours, add 1/2 tablespoon oil, 2 eggs & squid ink; to the bowl with 3, add 1 tablespoon oil and 3 eggs and gently bring the mixture together with a fork. When a dough starts to form, use your hands to pull it together. Turn dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until smooth. Wrap in cling film and let rest for at least half an hour.
Divide each dough into 4 rounds and flatten each with your hands (which will make it easier to feed through pasta machine). Set up the machine to the widest setting and feed the pasta through, then fold in half and feed through again on this setting. Repeat several times with both dough (squid ink & normal) until the dough is smooth.
Once smooth, take one of the squid ink lengths and lay it on top of the normal colour length, fold, and feed through the machine, repeat until dough is smooth again. Now decrease the setting of the machine by 1, to roll the dough thinner, then fold and repeat until the 2nd last setting. Be careful not to fold the dough too many times or you will loose the marbling effects and just get grey pasta (a bit like when you mix all different colours of paint together attempting to make rainbow and end up with brown). Repeat this process for all remaining dough. Hang the lengths of marbled dough on a suitable drying rack (or back of a chair) and dry for about 10 minutes.
To cut the ravioli lay one piece along a flat surface, gently mark where the squares will be cut with the ravioli press and place a heaped teaspoon of ricotta in the centre. Dampen the edges of the dough slightly and lay another piece of pasta on top. With your fingers gentle press around the sides of the squares, then cut with the ravioli cutter. Place cut squares on a lightly floured board or serving platter and set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and ricotta until mixture is used up.
To cook the pasta, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, and cook pasta until al dente, about 3/4 minutes- note that fresh pasta cooks a lot faster than packet pasta! Gentle scoop out ravioli with a ladle, and strain.
Cherry Tomato and Sage Butter Dressing
- 200g cherry tomatos
- 5 sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
heat a fry pan over medium heat, add butter, sage leaves and halved cherry tomatoes and cook until sage leaves begin to brown. Remove from heat and drizzle with olive oil.
Homemade Ricotta (can be made the day before)
- 10 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
Wash the inside of a large sauepan with cold water (this will prevent the milk from sticking and burning). Add milk and heat over a medium tempertaure until steam is rising off the milk and small bubbles begin to form- be careful not to let the milk boil! Remove from the heat and add salt and vinegar and the milk will instantly curdle. Set aside and let rest for 3 minutes. Place muslin (or cheesecoth) over a collinder and gentle ladel the curds. Allow to strain for 30 mins or until all the liquid has drained from the ricotta, (take not that the straining time willl vary depending on the thickness of the fabric used to strain). Once mixture has drained, add cracked pepper and gentley mix to combine. Place in a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.
If using bought ricotta, place ricotta into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and the pepper and mix gently to combine.
To serve, place 4-6 squares (depending on hunger levels) on plate, and top with cherry tomatos, and drizzle with sage butter sauce.
The outcome of this pasta was so incredibly beautiful… let your imagination run wild and see what else you can marble!