My affair with travel started in Italy. Chasing pigeons through Piazza San Marco, my little lungs filled with laughter as the birds scattered toward the sky.
I weaved through Venice’s busy streets, I criss-crossed Lignano on a bicycle, I licked melted ice cream off my sticky fingers in Rome.
Joy and freedom come naturally to children. Their squishy heads are yet unpolluted by the smog and stress of adulthood. They take things as they come, without years of letdowns weighing them down.
Travelling as an adult takes me back to that headspace. I see the world with fresh eyes, letting go of preconceived notions and inhibitions.
I get dirt behind my fingernails, run through cities like a tiny tornado and laugh with abandon. I make a concerted effort to be more like the one year old who chased pigeons around one of Italy’s most beautiful squares.
When Giovanni Rana reached out to me asking if I’d be interested in reliving my travels through Italy and creating a dish inspired for their #LiveItalian campaign, I quickly agreed.
Between the ages of one and seventeen I must have visited Italy a dozen times, but I haven’t been back since. As a result the country holds a lot of nostalgic memories – and that’s exactly what my recipe is about.
Crumbly ricotta, shredded spinach and mascarpone ravioli + light coat of brown tarragon butter = the comfort of childhood in a bowl.
And who better to work on this with than Giovanni Rana – a family business opened more than fifty years ago in the Italian village of San Giovanni Lupatoto, near Verona.
Since that time Giovanni Rana has gone from producing local handmade tortellini in 1962 to becoming a leader of the European fresh pasta market, abiding by a simple motto: be true to yourself and the things that make you happy.
For Giovanni that thing is providing delicious pasta to his customers. For me it’s exploring the world and sharing my take on it with you – and here’s my take on a heart-warming Italian recipe.
Before reading all my instructions, please watch this video. It’s 2 minutes long and well worth your time – it’s full of my memories of going to Italy as a child, blogging and includes a delicious showcase of how this recipe is prepared.
It was also professionally produced and shooting it made me feel like a Hollywood starlet, which is always a good thing in my book.
Yes, even though something super odd was happening with my hair that day and it decided to levitate. Yes, even though it was shot the day after I moved up to Glasgow, got zero sleep and then went on a five hour train journey down to London.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of this video and the recipe in general!
Brown Butter Sauce Ravioli Recipe
- 1 packet of Giovanni Rana ricotta, spinach and mascarpone ravioli
- 1/4 stick of salted butter
- 2 sprigs of tarragon (sage, thyme and rosemary work too)
- 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- pine nuts
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1) Bring water to a boil in a pot and add a dash of salt. Add in your pasta and turn down to a simmer. Your ravioli will take 4 minutes to cook so get started on the other tasks and keep an eye on a timer. When cooked, transfer ravioli to a shallow bowl with a slotted spoon to avoid bursting them.
2) Melt salted butter in a pan over medium heat. A light-coloured pan is ideal for this task because you’ll be able to keep an eye on the butter’s changing colour. Once melted, add a sprig of tarragon (or any herb of your choice).
3) Continue to stir the butter for 4-6 minutes until it begins to turn golden brown. The French call it beurre noisette – hazelnut butter – because of its deliciously nutty taste.
4) In a separate pan dry roast your pine nuts on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. This takes about 3 minutes so time accordingly.
5) Drizzle brown butter over your ravioli. Garnish with a sprig of tarragon, a handful of pine nuts and add a squeeze of lemon. Top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and serve immediately.
The recipe may seem overly simple… but that’s the beauty of Italian food. Simple cooking process, big flavours. It’s all about high quality ingredients so the fresher the better!
Would you try this simple brown butter sauce? What is your favourite way to eat ravioli and how do you #LiveItalian at home? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was sponsored by Giovanni Rana. All opinions (and childhood stories) are my own.