WW1 Rationing: Ravioli Maigre

Posted in - Rationing & Recipes on February 20th 2014 0 Comments

I made this for Anna del Conte using Granny Dot‘s war rationing recipe.  It was a storm-ridden day so I took it to her house and they were almost blown off the tray as I transferred them from car to kitchen.  The photograph below was taken there, so the beautiful plate is hers:


‘Ingredients. – 1/2 lb. Italian paste, 1 lb. spinach, one tablespoonful of grated cheese.
Method. – Prepare half a pound of Italian paste, roll it our as thin as possible, and dry it for one hour.  Boil one pound of spinach in a little water, and after draining thoroughly chop it finely.  In a little hot butter or margarine lightly brown a teaspoonful of very finely chopped onion, sprinkle in a heaped teaspoonful of flour, and when it has cooked for a few minutes stir in the spinach.  Season to taste, and when cool stir in a small tablespoonful of cheese and put all through a sieve.  Cut the paste into rounds one and half inch in diameter; wet the edges of one half with water, place in the centre a little of the spinach, and cover with the remaining rounds of paste.  Seal the edges by pressing them together, and drop the raviolis into boiling salted water.  Boil them gently for about half an hour and drain them well.  Serve in a fireproof dish with a little white sauce mixed with cheese, or with tomato sauce poured over.
This home-made macaroni is delicious just tossed in butter, seasoned with pepper and salt, and served with poached eggs or as a centre to cutlets or fillets, or with boiled chicken or rabbit, or for that matter plain, and it infinitely superior to the hard, tasteless, stale macaroni so often bought in England.’
(The Eat-Less-Meat Book, 1917, Mrs C.S. Peel)

8oz./226g Italian paste
400g spinach
2 oz/56g butter
1/2 onion
1 tbsp flour

1.  Put the spinach in large pan with a splash of water and stir until wilted.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
2.  Fry the finely diced onion in the butter until it is lightly browned and add the flour.  Mix it in and allow it to become a nutty colour.
3.  Drain the spinach and blitz it in the whizzer or finely chop it.
4.  Add 2 tbsp of parmesan to the spinach and mix in the onion and flour. Season.
5.  Roll out the pasta very thinly or use a pasta machine on the second setting.
6.  Lay the pasta out on a floured surface or one it will not stick to. Put a spoonful of spinach on top at good intervals.

7.  Take some water and with your finger make a circle of water around each spinach mound.
8.  Lay another sheet of pasta on top, carefully trying to avoid air pockets, sealing over the water circles.

9. Use a pastry cutter or a sharp knife to cut the ravioli.

10.  Leave it until you boil it, on a lightly floured surface so that it does not stick.  This is vital as it is so sad when it is ruined because of sticking (that has happened to me).  I find that because of the higher water content of this pasta than the standard egg pasta, it may discolour a little in time if you do not use it within an hour or two.  It will still taste good.  (see the pasta link for ingredient details which affect taste and colour)
11.  Boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes and then drain.
12.  Serve with melted butter and parmesan (parmesan was used in England during the war when available), or if you have sage, melt the butter and the sage until the butter becomes nut colour.  Pour on top and sprinkle with parmesan.  This is what I did with Anna to keep it completely English, or make tomato sauce.  You could use olive oil and parmesan, truffle oil, but then it will no longer be a war rationing recipe!


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