Growing up in Italy and experiencing the Italian food culture, I always asked myself what distinguishes the Italian cuisine with the rest of the world. Every culture in the world has its own signature dish and eating the most local dishes is an absolute life experience.

I believe that as Italian I am very lucky to have had such experiences, thank you to generations of cooks and chefs that made it possible, from my “mamma” who would always cook from the heart and passion for me to the cooks preparing delicacies in the various small kitchens of the ‘trattorie” and restaurants.

This dish is a free inspiration from who is to be considered the father of the new gourmet cooking in Italy, the “raviolo aperto” original recipe is with pan-seared scallops; I decided to pay a reference to the local ingredients available in the area of Ontario in Canada, where I reside, making it with a hearty slow braised “ossobuco” bison shank  instead.

Hopefully this will give you the same joy from both preparing and tasting as I did, and of course a great sense of accomplishment.

Ingredients for 2 people:

For the braised shank and filling:

2 small ossobuco shank: bison, beef or veal; 1 carrot diced, 1 onion chopped, 1 celery stalk chopped; 1 cup red wine, 2 cups stock or water, salt & pepper to taste

1 golden and 1 red beet (or any coloured ones); 1 purple and 1 yellow carrot (or any heirloom ones)

For the pasta dough:

1 cup of all purpose flour; 1 egg, 1/3 cup cooked spinach, 2 parsley leaves (optional), pinch of salt

Procedure:

Start by braising the shank: heat up the oven at 350F, and I like to use a cast iron pan or oven proof pan to bake and begin by browning the meat for a couple of minutes in a generous spoonful of extra virgin olive oil, then add the carrot, onion and celery. Then add the wine and stock (or water) ensuring the liquid covers the meat and add a tbsp. of salt and pepper. Put in the oven for the slow braised for at least 2hrs or more till it reaches the desired consistency; I prefer it almost melting.

In the meantime, prepare you pasta dough. You will need to make two different dough, one with the egg and one with the spinach. I usually chop the spinach in a food processor to make them as fine as possible to mix in well. Combine 1/2 cup flour with the chopped spinach to make the green pasta and mix till a smooth and consistent dough is formed. Combine the other 1/2 cup of flour with the egg and mix. You will have two pasta dough to make your ravioli sheet.

Using a pasta roller or a rolling pin, flatten the spinach dough to make sheets and cut squares of pasta of 2in by 2in each. Then flatten the egg pasta dough to have a slightly thinner sheet to cut squares of pasta of 2in by 2in each, these should be thinner to make the pasta square with the leaf: take two thin squares of egg pasta, place a parsley leaf in the centre of it and place another thin sheet on top and flatten them together, you will see through the sheets the leaf spreading and enlarging, cut the parsley leaf sheet to 2in by 2in measurement.

If you wish to have some garnish, dice and cook the coloured beets and carrot , you can sprinkle the pieces on your plate or add it to the filling with the meat.

Once the shank is ready, I remove the bone and the tendons parts and thicken the cooking sauce if needed, it’s excellent for dressing the dish!  Boil some water to cook the pasta sheets “al dente”, I always suggest to put a tbsp of salt per 4 cups of boiling water.

Start plating the dish by placing the spinach sheet in the bottom, add half of the beef and top with a couple of spoonful of sauce, top with the parsley leaf sheet. Add some coloured root vegetables and, as good Italian as I am, I drizzle a tsp of awesome extra virgin olive oil!

The result is rewarding!raviolo-aperto

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