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Fried Ravioli with Bitter Honey

  • SERVINGS: MAKES 24 RAVIOLI

This typical Sardinian dessert, called sebadas, is traditionally made with tangy fresh sheep's milk cheese, but a creamy fresh goat cheese can be used instead.

PASTA DOUGH

  1. 1 1/2 cups semolina
  2. 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 3 1/2 tablespoons pure lard or vegetable shortening
  5. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  6. About 1/2 cup very warm water

FILLING

  1. 3/4 pound fresh sheep's milk cheese
  2. 1/3 cup hot water
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons semolina
  4. About 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  6. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  7. Olive oil, for frying
  8. 3/4 cup Sardinian bitter honey, for serving (see Note)
  1. In a food processor, combine the semolina, flour and salt and pulse to blend. Add the shortening and pulse until evenly distributed. Add the egg and pulse. With the machine on, add 1/3 cup of the water and process just until the dough comes together; if it is crumbly, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the cheese with 1/3 cup of hot water and stir over moderately low heat. When the mixture starts to bubble around the edges, add the semolina and cook over low heat, stirring, until the cheese mixture has thickened to the consistency of sour cream. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and citrus zests. If the mixture tastes very tangy, add a little more sugar, but keep in mind that it should not be noticeably sweet. Let cool.
  3. Cut the pasta dough in quarters. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping the rest covered, roll the dough through a pasta machine set on successively narrower settings until you reach the second to the thinnest. Set the pasta sheet on a work surface and, using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out 12 rounds. Mound 2 teaspoons of the cheese filling in the center of half of the rounds. Moisten the edges and cover with the remaining rounds. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Set the ravioli on a rack. Repeat with the remaining ravioli dough and cheese filling.
  4. In a large deep skillet, using a deep-fry thermometer, heat 1 1/2 inches of olive oil to 360°. Slip 4 ravioli into the hot oil and fry until lightly golden, turning after they have risen to the surface, about 30 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli as they're done to a rack set over paper towels to drain while you fry the rest.
  5. In a small saucepan, warm the honey with a few tablespoons of water until it is liquid and quite warm. Serve the sebadas on warmed plates with the bitter honey drizzled on top.
Notes Bitter Sardinian honey (miele amaro) is available at specialty food shops and by mail from Zingerman's (888-636-8162) and Formaggio Kitchen (888-212-3224).
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