The Time A Michelin Star Chef Showed Me How To Make Ravioli

Eggs and flour­, that’s all you need to make a pasta dough from scratch. If you know, you know. If you don’t know, it’s time to give yourself the gift of making simple, yet fancy, comfort food at home. Bonus, the recipe I’m about to share actually comes from a chef who is at the forefront of Calabrian cuisine. His restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2013 and has retained it every year since. In fact, chef Antonio Abbruzzino himself showed your girl how to make the recipe.

Are you curious to know how I stole the recipe? Some of you may give a shit, others may want to skip right to the recipe. Either way the choice is yours. In case you have yet to watch Seth Meyer’s latest comedy special on Netflix, there’s an option that allows you to skip an entire segment (aka politics portion) of the special, thanks to a new button. Feel free to do the same by scrolling past the SKIP BACKGROUND section to land on the COME BACK bit to cop that glossy, luxurious ravioli recipe.

Every year, there’s a week-long event that takes place in Toronto that focuses on Italian food. The focus could be unique to a specific region, or just iconic eats that we associate with the Italian food culture. The event is called CENTitalia and it’s been running for four years. It’s a collab between Centennial College School of Culinary Arts and the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario (ICCO). In 2016, the first-ever Italian food symposium took place, 2017 focused on pizza, 2018 highlighted coffee and pastries and this year it was all about foods from Calabria. This means a handful of reputable chefs from Calabria made their way to The 416, fully furnished with cured meats and sausages, cheeses, olive oil, figs and lots of wine.

I was invited to attend a multi-course tasting, where each visiting chef prepared and presented a course of their choice. For me, the one that stood out was the Braised Beef Cheek Ravioli with a Parmigiano Foam made by Michelin star chef Antonio Abbruzzino. The dish was delicate, complete with a velvety sauce and an unexpected, yet impressive, tomato ragu inside each parcel that you cannot only taste but see, as you cut into each piece. How I “stole” the recipe — easy — I used my best persuasive skills and I got the hook up.

Let’s get right into it.
Step 1: Throw on some sweatpants and a comfy cotton tee.
Step 2: Fill up a 12–16-ounce glass of vino because why the fuck not.
Step 3: Read the recipe beginning to end, start gathering all the gadgets and ingredients and pray you don’t have to go back to the grocery store to pick up any forgotten items.

Braised Beef Cheek Ravioli

Serves 10

500 grams ‘00’ Flour
500 grams Semolina Flour
24 Egg Yolks
5 Whole Eggs

-Mix the egg yolks and whole eggs in a bowl and lightly whisk together.
-Place the flour in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
-Turn the mixer on low speed and mix for 1 minute.
-Slowly incorporate the eggs into the flour.
-Once the dough comes together into a ball, continue to knead on low speed for 5 minutes.
-Remove the dough from mixer, wrap it in plastic wrap and set aside.

Beef Filling
3 tbs Olive Oil
1 kg Beef Cheeks, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
1 Celery Stalk, diced
1 Onion, peeled and diced
½ Bottle of Red Wine, preferably a full-bodied red
100 oz Canned Tomatoes
50 oz Water
2 Bay Leaves, fresh
2 Lemons, zested and juiced

-In a large pot, slowly cook the vegetables in the olive oil, about 5 minutes.
-Season the meat with salt and pepper.
-Once the vegetables are soft, add the meat and leaves and cook another 10 minutes.
-Add the red wine and cook another 10 minutes until pot is almost dry.
-Add the canned tomatoes and water, simmer lightly for 2 hours stirring often.
-Remove bay leaves from the pot.

-Pass everything through a meat grinder twice, first through the large size grinder, then a second time through the smaller size. If you don’t have a grinder, chop the meat into small pieces and put in a food processor and pulse the machine on and off until it’s coarsely chopped.
-Place the meat mixture in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
-Whisk the meat on high speed, adding the lemon juice and zest for 2 minutes.
-Season with salt and pepper
-Remove from the mixing bowl and place into a piping bag.

Assemble the Ravioli
-Roll the pasta dough into a very thin sheet, about 1mm thick.
-Cut the pasta sheets into 70mm diameter circles.
-Fill the centre of each circle with 5ml of the beef filling.
-Fold the circles in half to form a half circle shape.
-Seal the pasta well around the edges, moistening the dough with a little water if necessary.
-Fold the two corners of the semi-circle around your finger so that they overlap creating a bell shape.
-Seal the corners with each other, then place the ravioli on a tray lined with a linen cloth.

Tomato Sauce
2 tbs Olive Oil
3 pints Grape Tomatoes, cut in half
1 Garlic Clove, very finely minced
3 Basil Leaves

-Place all the ingredients in a pot and cook over low heat until tomatoes are soft and falling apart.
-Strain through a coarse strainer to remove seeds and skins.
-Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
-Set aside and keep hot.

Parmigiano Foam (optional for the fancy folks)
300 ml 3.25% Milk
100 ml 25% Cream
200 grams Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
1 tbs Soy Lecithin

-Place the dairy into a pot over low heat and bring almost to a simmer.
-Whisk in grated cheese ensuring that it dissolves in the milk.
-Remove from heat and add soy lecithin.
-Pour into a canister foamer and charge canister with a CO2 cartridge.
-Keep the canister warm by keeping it submerged in warm water.

Assemble the Dish
-Boil the ravioli in heavily salted water until pasta is soft, about 3 minutes.
-Remove the ravioli from the water and toss in a little melted butter.
-In the bottom of the serving bowl ladle 2 ounces of the tomato sauce.
-Place 4 pieces of the ravioli on top of the sauce.
-Spray parmigiano foam on top of the ravioli.
-Garnish with basil leaves and enjoy.

“You don’t win friends with salad” said the wise Homer Simpson once. I’ll tell you how you do win friends — with carbs — the universal source of joy.

Originally published on The Curious Creature

Published Storyteller on Bon Appétit, The Food Network Canada, The Huffington Post, China Daily, Post City Magazines and more. Follow me at

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