Corn Ravioli with Cinnamon-flavored Chorizo and Goat Cheese Sauce ►
With its spicy filling, delicate corn pasta, and creamy sauce, this dish — a Southwestern version of pasta Alfredo — will wow guests. If you’ve ever made ravioli, the recipe will be a new twist on an old procedure. If you haven’t tried it before, this is a good place to start, as there is no substitute for the corn ravioli that you can purchase. You will need a pasta-rolling machine. The ravioli can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept refrigerated before cooking. The sauce can be made ahead, but it should be reheated very slowly in the top of a double boiler; you do not want the butter to “break” from the sauce. The chili puree will last up to a week if kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Chorizo Filling
- Lean Pork - 1/2 pound, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Lean Beef - 1/4 pound, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Garlic Clove - 1 small, peeled and minced
- Ancho or New Mexican Chili - 2 tablespoons, ground (alt. commercial chili powder, deleting the cumin from the recipe)
- Arbol Chili - 1/8 teaspoon, ground (alt. cayenne)
- Pinch of Ground Cloves
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon, ground
- Cumin - 1/2 teaspoon, ground
- Sea Salt - 1 teaspoon (alt. 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
- Water - 2 to 3 cups
- Masa Harina - 1/2 cup (alt. 1/2 to 2/3 cup finely ground corn flour (not cornmeal))
- All-Purpose Flour - 1 cup, unbleached
- Pinch of salt
- Eggs - 2, large
- Olive Oil - 2 teaspoons
- Water - 2 teaspoons
- Heavy (Whipping) Cream - 1-1/2 cups
- Goat Cheese - 3 ounces, fresh
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons, cut into 8 pieces
- Chili Puree
- Ancho Chilies - 16 dried
To prepare the chorizo filling: Finely chop the meats in separate batches in a meat grinder or food processor, pulsing so that the meat is chopped, not pureed. This can be done most easily if the cubes of meat are chilled for 30 minutes in the freezer.
Heat the oil in a saute pan or skillet over medium heat and add the chopped meats. Break up with a wooden spoon; do not brown the meat. Add the garlic, dried spices, and salt and stir well. Then add 1 cup of the water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently 1-1/2 to 2 hours, adding water as needed. At the end of the cooking time, the mixture should not be wet, and it should be simmering in its own fat. Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree to a smooth paste. You should have about 1-3/4 cups. Set aside to cool.
To prepare the pasta: Combine the corn flour, all-purpose flour, and the pinch of salt on a work surface and mix well. Form into a mount and make a wide crater in the top. Break the eggs into the crater, add the olive oil and water, and mix together with one hand, keeping the other hand clean. When the dough pulls together, sprinkle the work surface with a little semolina flour using your clean hand. Now put both hands to work: knead the dough for several minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Form into a mound, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
Unwrap the dough and divide into four parts. Roll each through a pasta machine, ending with the lowest (thinnest) setting. Once the pasta sheets have been rolled, dust them with semolina so they will not stick together. Place half the sheets on a work surface. Place small mounds of filling, one inch apart, along each sheet. Moisten the dough with water and top with the remaining sheets. Seal well by pressing down all around each mound of filling, then cut out in circles with a crinkle cutter. Set aside.
To make the sauce: Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the goat cheese in small lumps until melted, and remove from the heat. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Set aside; keep warm.
To make the chili puree: Scrub the chilies under running water and place in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the chilies with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. Puree the chilies, adding about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid to make a smooth, thin paste. Put in a squeeze bottle and set aside.
To finish the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, or until the ravioli float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on towels.
To serve: Pool sauce in the plates. Divide the ravioli among the plates, arranging them attractively. Scribble chili puree over the pasta in an attractive design.