time to explore with esplora
Traditional ravioli: one of the yummiest local dishes
homemade ravioli: a glance at one of the yummiest traditional maltese dishes
We make our way to Ta’ Marija, to watch the making of traditional Maltese ravioli
What is it about made from scratch ravioli that tastes so incredible? Is it because the taste is so simple yet rich in flavour? Is it because we can feel the love from the hands of the maker in our food? Is it because it is a sacred comfort food from beautiful Italy and amazing Malta? We visited the local Maltese treasure in Mosta, Ta’ Marija, which was founded in the 1960’s by Benny and Marija Muscat. We got the opportunity to watch the making of fresh pasta before our eyes, by their beloved ravioli maker, Rose Borg, who has been with Ta’ Marija for over 24 years along with Chef Michael Cassar.
Rose makes ravioli filled with gorgonzola with a fresh tomato sauce. First, she makes the dough and lets it sit. Then she spreads semolina flour along the surface where she will make the ravioli. Today’s ravioli will be a mixture of ricotta and gorgonzola cheese mixed with some fresh nutmeg. It’s those little secret ingredients that make all the difference and the nutmeg was that surprise guest today. She rolls out the dough and then puts the dough through the pasta sheeter to make the dough thin enough to spread out and fill. Then she places the thin sheets of pasta dough on the surface and fills a piping bag with her filling mixture. From there, she puts one healthy dollop from the piping bag in spaced lines along one side of the sheet of pasta. Once all the spaces have been filled with the filling, she folds the other side of the pasta sheet over to cover each of the fillings. Then she takes out her round cookie cutter and makes a circle with enough space to close the dough around the filling.
The ravioli is placed in boiling hot water for 4-5 minutes before entering the pan to mix and marry with the sauce that Chef Michael Cassar has been preparing. The sauce is a rich and traditional tomato and basil sauce comprised of very simple and fresh ingredients. Large cans of crushed tomatoes and a single large can of Kunserva. Next, he adds his spices of salt, pepper and curry. I was surprised to see curry as the magic secret ingredient! It was a much larger proportion than the salt or pepper but you could not taste it in the sauce itself. Then he added a whole bowl of fresh basil that had just been delivered that morning. Once he plated the ravioli with the tomato sauce, he garnished it simply with a sprig of fresh pea shoots to add a touch of green to the bright red color.
This simple dish is made with such precision that it made every part of the dish pop in my mouth. The gorgonzola cheese was not too strong but you could definitely tell what type of cheese was in the filling. The sauce was sweet enough but not too sweet since no sugar was added. The basil was so fresh and so fragrant it held well in the sauce. While you could no longer see the green color into the bright red of the sauce itself, you could definitely tell there was fresh basil swimming around somewhere inside this dish.
After seeing the ravioli being made from start to finish, I will have a hard time settling for anything less than what I got to experience today! I highly recommend eating a plate of ravioli from the amazing Rose Borg and Michael Cassar right away!
However, Ta’ Maria does have a substantial wait list so be sure to make your plans for such a treat in advance!