Ermana Gandolfo lives high in the hills above Sestri Levante in Liguria with a steep sided garden chock full of fruit and vegetables, herbs and wild flowers; her marjoram is some of the most perfumed I’ve ever nibbled. Her summer kitchen started out as a pizza oven around which the building was gradually added and extended and the copper sulphate blue walls are a wonderful echo of the sea a couple of miles away.
Ermana is a keen gardener, but home made pasta is still central to her family life and these ravioli are a feature of her Sunday lunches (pizza is a Saturday celebration). The filling varies through the year – wild herbs are best in early spring before they become rather too flavour intense – in which case add more bread to the mixture – and she also uses homegrown chard. The leaves are blanched and it’s important to squeeze out the excess water before blitzing with the other ingredients which include mortadella and parmesan cheese. The portions aren’t exact and Ermana relies on taste and experience to make the filling. If she makes too much then she uses the leftovers in a tortino, a kind of potato cake, layering the filling with slices of potato and then baking it.
And this is the video of how she makes them. The fretted rolling pin is unheard of here in Le Marche but a popular utensil in Liguria – it’s an efficient way of making ravioli.