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BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

June 8 2010

Basil and Philadelphia Ravioli

Pasta

2 cups wheat flour
2 large eggs

Filling

1 ounce basil, leaves removed and finely chopped
3 1/2 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten

To Serve

Olive oil
Sea salt
Shallow-fried basil leaves (optional)

To make the pasta, place the flour in a pile on the counter and make a well in the middle for the eggs.

Whisk the eggs gently and pour into the center of the flour. Using a fork, gradually add more flour from the edges until the egg has become incorporated.

Work with your fingers into a sticky mass and continue until it becomes smooth. It is important that you use up all the flour.

Check to see whether the dough is of the right consistency. Stick your thumb in. If it comes out clean the dough is correct. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand, half turning it, always in the same direction. Knead for at least 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3 parts and follow the instructions on your pasta machine to roll it out. You want the dough to be lovely and thin. As the dough becomes ready, lay it down in layers with a sprinkling of flour so it doesn't stick.

To make the filling, combine the basil, Philadelphia cream cheese, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until nice and firm.

Cut out the pasta into 32 rectangles or squares that are bigger than your cutter.

Brush 16 of the squares with the beaten egg wash. Spoon a blob of Philly mixture into the middle of each of these squares.

Press down the remaining 16 squares of pasta on top of the filling, sealing well around the edges and making sure that all the air is pushed out. Then stamp out with the cutter. Your ravioli will look rather pretty.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it is simmering, add the ravioli one by one and cook for a few minutes. They will rise to the surface. Wait a minute! Now they are ready. Take them out with a slotted spoon.

Serve the ravioli with a dribble of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, and decorate with crispy basil leaves, if liked.