WHERE’S SALLY FIELD WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HER?

Dear Amelia,
Sometimes, when you’re bored and reduced to watching repeats of America’s Next Top Model (Cycle 12), things that you normally wouldn’t do seem like a really good idea.
This was one of them.

CHICKEN AND PANCETTA-FILLED TORTELLONI/RAVIOLI

Makes about 35

LOTS AND LOTS OF WINE: POSSIBLY MORE THAN YOU HAVE EVER DRUNK BEFORE
200g chicken mince
2 slices pancetta, chopped
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
3 tbsp light ricotta cheese
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
freshly ground sea salt and pepper
35 wonton wrappers for tortelloni
OR
70 wonton wrappers for ravioli

Pour yourself a glass of wine, put the chicken mince, pancetta and parsley into a mini food processor and whiz until finely chopped.
Put the mixture into a bowl and stir in the ricotta and parmesan cheeses, sea salt to taste and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Make sure everything is well combined.
Refill your glass, put a teaspoon of mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper, dip your finger in a small bowl of water and wet around all four edges.
If you’re making ravioli, put another wonton wrapper on top and press all the edges together to make a tight seal, expelling any air as you go.
To make tortelloni, fold the wonton wrapper in half and press the edges together.
Fold the long edge up towards you and bring the two bottom corners together to make a cushiony semi-circle.
Dab one of these corners with water and press to seal. Do this 35 times.


If you decided to go down the tortelloni-making road, you’ll have had 85 glasses of wine by this stage.
Because, basically, the procedure is fucking endless.
You’ll also have a plateful of shapes that look nothing like the headgear worn by the Flying Nun but if you’re a person of a certain age and you’re drunk they will remind you of her anyway.


Seeing as you’re not allowed to lift anything heavy for another four weeks, get the person who is refilling your wine glass to fill a really big pasta pot with water and bring it to the boil on top of the stove.
Chuck in half the tortelloni/ravioli and simmer for about 4 minutes.
Fish them out with a Chinese strainer or slotted spoon.

It occurred to me after my 85th glass of wine that a big one of these would be perfect for catching a flying nun

Put the cooked tortelloni straight into a big shallow pot of barely simmering tomato passata (bought or homemade).
Weep because you decided to make your own passata but didn’t factor in that by this stage YOU WOULD HAVE LOST THE WILL TO LIVE.
Put the remaining uncooked tortelloni into the pan of boiling water and repeat the whole procedure.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
Seeing as I was as smashed as a rat and starving to death by the time I finished making these, I didn’t take a picture.
This is probably a good thing because they looked like the heads of flying nuns nestled in a sea of blood.
Extremely tasty though.
And seeing as this was an original recipe thought up by me, your Grandpa actually gave me a round of applause.
But I suspect this had as much to do with the fact that I was still upright as it did with the taste.

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PRAWNS THE SECOND WAY

Dear Amelia,
More prawns! It’s the promised second recipe and it’s called Prawn and Prosciutto Ravioli.
I suppose it’s really a special-occasion dish because even though it’s not difficult, it does involve a bit of faffing around.
It’s also a Nanna creation, in that I combined about four different recipe ideas.
The garlic butter recipe is pinched from a top New Zealand chef called Adam Newell, who has won a Michelin star for his restaurant, Zibibbo.
Like all celebrity chefs worth their salt, Adam has an “absolute passion for food”.
At least that’s what it says on the fly-leaf of his cookbook, A Consuming Passion, which was given to me by your Great Uncle Gerard and his partner, Mignon, and is an excellent read.
In case you’re thinking of being a celebrity chef when you grow up, I should warn you that you will have to have “an absolute passion for food” every minute of every single day.
When you’re a celebrity chef, you’re never allowed to say things like, “I’m really tired and I couldn’t give a shit about the confit.”
Or, “Fuck seasonality. I want to eat strawberries in winter.”
You’re only allowed to say things like that when you’re like me and all you want to do is cook something nice, then eat it, then fall asleep in front of the telly.
A word on pasta machines.
I bought one 10 years ago and have never used it.
So, every time a chef on TV uses one to make pasta, your Grandpa says, “There’s a good idea, Michele. Why don’t you buy one of those?”
He thinks this is funny, but after 10 years it’s wearing a bit thin.
So I’ve decided that when I do use the pasta machine for the first time, I’m going to put your Grandpa’s fingers through the rollers.
In the meantime, I make ravioli with those wonton wrappers you buy in Chinese supermarkets (or, if you live in Albany, at Mariella’s Deli).
For this recipe I use the round gyoza skins so you get a nice half-moon shape, but if you can’t get hold of any, just use the square wonton wrappers and fold them into a triangle.
The ravioli are dead easy to make and just about everything is done in a food processor.
You can also make the garlic butter a day or even a week ahead.

PRAWN AND PROSCIUTTO RAVIOLI

Makes about 32 (enough for 4-6 people)

For the garlic butter (don’t panic, you won’t use all of this)
100g butter, softened
100ml extra virgin olive oil
handful flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
For the ravioli
Packet of gyoza skins or wonton wrappers
500g raw king prawns, peeled
50g prosciutto (about 4 slices), chopped
1 spring onion
salt and pepper
Other stuff
20 or so grape tomatoes (Nanna grows her own)
Another handful of parsley, chopped finely

To make the garlic butter, put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the parsley is chopped.
You won’t use all the garlic butter, so put what’s left in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
It will keep for a couple of weeks and is great for garlic bread or on top of spuds or barbecued steak or fish.
To make the ravioli, wipe out the food processor bowl and drop in the prawn flesh and chopped prosciutto.
Pulse it until it’s all chopped up.
Finely chop the spring onions and mix them into the prawn mixture along with a little salt and pepper.
Fill a big pot with salted water and bring it to the boil while you’re assembling the ravioli.
To do this, first put some water in a small bowl.
Next, lay a gyoza skin on your chopping board and put a heaped teaspoonful of prawn mixture in the middle (see pic at end of recipe).
Dip your finger in the bowl of water, wet around the entire edge of the skin and then fold it over and press the edges together tightly to seal, pressing out any air as you go.
Repeat until all the prawn mixture is used up.
Cook the ravioli in the pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes.
While they’re cooking, fry the tomatoes in a big frypan in a little of the garlic butter.
When the ravioli are cooked, fish them out with a slotted spoon and put them in the frypan with the tomatoes, along with as much of the garlic butter as you think your arteries will stand (basically you need just enough to coat the ravioli).
Heat everything up for a couple of minutes then serve in big bowls sprinkled with the extra chopped parsley.
This is really nice eaten with broccolini.