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562px-Crocus_sativus1Last night the wife and I made homemade saffron ricotta ravioli. Saffron consists of “threads”–stigmas of a crocus flower. Each crocus contains 3 stigmas, which must be picked out by hand. It takes approximately 80,000 crocuses to make one pound of saffron, making it the most costly spice in the world by weight. My Herbs and Spices book describes its aroma as: “rich, pungent, musky, floral, honeyed and tenacious,” and it’s taste as: “delicate yet penetrating, warm, earthy, musky, bitter and lingering.” Saffron’s bright color also make it an excellent dye. I’ve heard that it was traditionally used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks.

400g flour
4 eggs
1T olive oil
1t salt

Ricotta filling:
1/2 t saffron
1 T milk
1 1/2 c ricotta
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 egg
Pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic
3 small tomatoes
1 sprig of fresh sage
4 T olive oil

Make the pasta dough:

Sift flour onto clean counter top.


Make a volcano out of the flour. Break eggs into the crater.


Add olive oil and salt. Using your fingers, mix eggs, oil and salt. Begin working flour into the egg mixture, being careful not to rupture the edge of the volcano.


Work into a dough, and knead for 3-5 minutes. One finished, wrap and let sit for an hour.


Make the ricotta filling:

Crush the saffron and let it soak in the milk for 20 minutes.


Zest the orange.


Mix the zest, egg, pepper and saffron/milk into the ricotta.


Make the ravioli:

Step 1: Keep all cats away from the pasta machine.


Break off a fist-sized chunk of pasta dough, and run it through the machine to the thinnest setting. (If you don’t have a pasta machine, roll the dough out on a floured surface until about as thick as a postcard).


Lay the dough over a ravioli tray. Carefully stretch the dough into the pockets of the tray.


Beat an egg with 1T of water. Paint the edges of the ravioli pockets (acts as a glue). Scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling into the pockets.


Lay another sheet of pasta dough over tray to cover the pockets. Roll the tray to perforate the edges of the ravioli.


Dump them out, separate them, and let them dry for an hour.



In olive oil, lightly fry two cloves of minced garlic. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting. Add diced tomatoes (seeds removed), chopped thyme and pepper to taste.


In another pot bring water to a boil. Add ravioli, and let them cook 4 or 5 minutes until puffy and floating.