Last week-end the viking and I, escaped the heat of Caronte and traveled to Norway for a couple of days. Our final destination was a tiny village in the middle of nowhere: Løm, Oppland. Population 2,399 – 16 Celsius.
I love Norway. Everything is mesmerizingly pretty and intimidatingly wild. Each time I visit, I feel an alien who just landed on a foreign planet. The language is part of that feeling: hard on the tongue, R(s) that Norwegians refuse to pronounce and seem to eat with their brunost for breakfast. Norwegian people sing instead of talking, To the foreign ear, their discussions sound like being in the middle of a La La Land set; you almost feel the urge to dance along. They sound happy even when they fight, which for an Italian is extremely unsettling (almost insulting).
I have learned a couple of words, of course. I am able to order a coffe with milk, cheer with a dignified Skål, remember the name of the seven cookies a respectful family should have on the Christmas table, thank the host for a great dinner, apologize and say goodbye. Basically the minimum not to be considered a foreign disgrace. But that’s pretty much all. So different from the Geneva international bubble where everyone speaks Franglish or a weird mix of United Nations’ Acronyms and nobody cares about your accent.
When we arrived it was a beautiful rainy day and our 5 hours drive up west felt cosy. After the 30+ degrees of Geneva, the mist and rain drops was a much awaited blessing. It reminded me of early spring days, when you stubbornly face the still wintery temperatures with a lighter jacket because the equinox has passed and fashion demands a change in wardrobe. Maybe that’s why I came to think of borage and ravioli di magro. It is somehow linked to spring and the abundance of new and wild herbs you find on the markets’ banks. Fresh pasta is normally of two kinds, with meat and di magro which means slim, or skinny. I decided to pimp my tortelloni with some ciccia (fat) and a recipe was born.
Tortelloni di magro with ricotta cheese and borage (3 people)
For the pasta
100 gr durum wheat flour
100 gr white flour
Mix the two flours with salt in a bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add two eggs. Start bringing together the dough until it becomes a ball. Now, you can put the dough into a standing mixer with the kneading attachment (like I did) and let the machine knead for 10 minutes or use your hands and knead for at least 15 minutes and until the dough becomes elastic and smooth. Wrap in clear film and let it rest for minimum 30 minutes maximum 2 hours (I let mine rest one hour). When ready roll the dough until you can see your hand through it (3 millimeters). Cut some squares out of the pasta sheet. Remember :throughout this process the pasta dough and sheets must always be covered by some clean film to prevent dryness.
For the filling
200 gr borage
180 gr ricotta cheese
100 gr pecorino romano (grated)
a pinch of nutmeg
Wash the borage and boil it in water until it becomes dark green. When the water boils again, count 6 -7 minutes. Drain the greens, squeeze out the excess water, chop it and when cold, put it into a bowl with all the ingredients. Mix it well. Cover and let it rest for 30 min.
For the sauce
2 Italian style sausages
250 gr cherry tomatoes diced
garlic (two cloves)
olive oil EVO
half a glass of white wine
salt and pepper
Put some EVO Oil in a pan with the garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes until soft, but not burned(!!). Remove the wrap from the sausages and cut the meat in small pieces. Brown the meat. Add the fennel seeds and after a few minutes add the white wine. Let it evaporate. Add the diced cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook covered for 25-30 minutes.
confit tomatoes (optional)
Narstutium, flours and leaves (any other edible flowers or nothing at all)
Fill the squares of pasta with half a teaspoon of filling. Follow this process on how to close and shape the tortelloni. Remember: wet the borders of the pasta sheet before closing. It will prevent the tortelloni from opening while you cook them. When done, lay them on a tray previously dusted with some flour or semolina, otherwise they will stick to the tray.
Put some water to the boil. Add some salt and olive oil (the oil prevents fresh pasta from sticking). When the water is boiling, delicately add the tortelloni. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then drain them with a holed spoon. Assemble your dish: put some sauce on the plate and the tortelloni on top of it, add some more pecorino and, if you wish, some confit tomatoes. Decorate with some edible flowers and voilà!