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Walnut and Sage Ravioli with Orange

February 24, 2011

Since Ana quit her job (and her lover!) she has had more time to cook and has been experimenting with new flavours and ingredients. She was given this recipe by the wonderful Chloe Rose, who owns a divine gourmet delicatessen around the corner from the girls’ house. This dish is sure to impress.

Serve with a fresh green salad and a cold bottle of your favourite white wine. Serves 4-6.


400g Plain White Flour

1 tsp Salt

5 Eggs

1 tbsp Olive Oil

250gms Ricotta

¼ cup Walnuts

½ cup Sage

1 clove Garlic

2 Oranges

¼ cup Caster Sugar

To make the Pasta

Finely chop the sage and mix with the flour and a teaspoon of salt. In a separate bowl whisk together 4 eggs and a tablespoon of olive oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in egg mixture. Mix together with a wooden spoon. When the mixture becomes crumbly start kneading with hands until the dough is smooth. Pat into a ball and leave to rest at room temperature, covered with an upturned bowl, for about an hour.

 

To make the filling

Finely chop walnuts and garlic. Mix the walnuts and garlic into ricotta with 1 egg. Add salt to taste.

Roll the pasta out into sheets using a pasta maker (you will need to do this in batches).  If you don’t have a pasta maker, you can do this with a rolling pin. Place a sheet of pasta on a flat, floured surface. Using a teaspoon dot the pasta sheet with mounds of filling in rows about 3cm apart. Damp the pasta with some water in a circle around each mound of filling. You can use your finger or a pastry brush to do this. Cover filling with a second sheet of pasta. With your fingers press down firmly around each mound of filling to force out any air pockets. Cut around each mound using a ravioli cutter or a knife.

Juice 2 oranges into a small saucepan. Add ¼ of a cup of Caster sugar. Simmer while stirring until the sauce becomes syrupy. Grate in the rind of one orange. To make more syrup, simply double the mixture.

Bring a large, deep saucepan of water to the boil. Gently drop in ravioli. Once the ravioli rises to the surface of the water it is ready.

Drizzle with orange syrup and serve.

* Whole sage leaves quickly submerged in hot, salted grapeseed oil make a lovely crisp garnish for this dish.

Season 1: Episode 13

February 22, 2011

Ana hummed to herself as she kneaded the pasta dough. Since she’d quit her job (and her lover) a week earlier, she had transformed herself into a domestic goddess, whipping up delicious meals for her housemates to come home to. Each night she sat with them while they ate and asked them about their lives and loves, genuinely interested for the first time in what felt like years. At first Willow and Mia had responded with raised eyebrows and sidelong glances, but as the week wore on they realised this change in their friend seemed to be permanent and that Ana was happier than ever.

Tonight, however, was different. Tonight, Ana had asked that they make themselves scarce. Tonight, Tom got home from Sydney.

Ana was nervous with excitement. Apart from the odd text message here and there, they hadn’t spoken to each other in a week. Ana’s brow furrowed as she thought about this again. She’d tried not to obsess over it – after all, he was busy with work – but she did think it was odd that he hadn’t once tried to call her, just texts saying that he was flat out and they’d talk when he got home. She reasoned that their relationship was still in its embryonic stage and that it was unrealistic of her to expect constant contact. She didn’t want to be one of those girlfriends, anyway.

She had felt slightly uneasy at having not yet told Tom that she’d quit her job, but she really wanted to speak to him in person and explain everything.

Well, not everything exactly.

Although Ana had fully intended to tell Tom about Marc, as the week progressed her resolve had lessened, and she now thought it much simpler to keep out the minor detail that she had been having an affair for the entirety of their relationship. She felt horrible that she’d lied to this wonderful, brilliant man, however she thought the truth would hurt him too much. Much better to focus on the future, she convinced herself.

She turned her attention to the ravioli: walnut and sage with garlic and ricotta. Taking a sharp knife and slicing carefully through bulbs of garlic, she pushed all uncertainty out of her mind and concentrated, instead, on all the wonderful things about their relationship: the way Tom’s eyes sparkled when he looked at her; how she felt like anything was possible when he was around; the luxurious lovemaking sessions that they enjoyed together. She sighed in contentment. She couldn’t wait until he got home.

***

Pacing up and down the hallway, Ana checked her watch for the sixth time.

7:45pm.

He was late. She had looked up his flight on the Qantas website; his plane had landed on time. Picking up her iPhone she made sure that he had received her text – “Welcome home! Come straight over from the airport. I’ve missed you.” His reply had been a simple “OK”. Christ, she thought, I know you’re busy but how hard is it to add: “I’ve missed you, too”?

Wandering back into the kitchen she checked, again, that everything was perfect. A large pot of lightly salted water was ready to be put on as soon as he walked through the door. The plump parcels of ravioli sat on the counter, covered in a damp tea towel. A bottle of Petit Chablis was cooling in the fridge along with a large green salad of radicchio and witlof, which just needed to be tossed with some olive oil.

The doorbell rang. Startled, Ana smoothed her perfect blonde hair as she walked to answer it. The sound of her heeled sandals echoed through the empty house. “I’m so nervous anyone would think this was a first date,” she muttered to herself.

Opening the door she drew breath sharply. Tom looked awful – he’d lost weight and looked as though he hadn’t slept the entire week. As she leaned in to kiss him she could smell alcohol on his breath.

“Rough week?” she enquired, jokingly.

“You don’t know the half of it.” Tom walked inside and dumped his case by the door.

Ana smiled at him brightly, feeling suddenly very uneasy. “Well, I’ve got a lovely cold bottle of white and food, if you’re hungry.”

Taking his hand, and noting how limp it was in her own, she led Tom to the kitchen.

“Drink?”

Tom nodded in agreement. Her hands were shaking slightly as she took two glasses from the shelf. Pouring the wine, she handed a glass to him. Tom drained his before she had savoured her first sip.

“What’s going on?” she asked softly, stroking his shoulder. She could feel his muscles tense up under her touch.

He looked her straight in the eye. “Why don’t you tell me?”

Moving over to the stove, Ana busied herself with dinner preparations. Laughing lightly, she said, “Well, quite a lot is going on with me, actually.”

Tom’s eyes narrowed. “You mean at work?”

Ana nodded. “I decided I want to start my own agency, so I quit my job!” She turned around with a flourish – her smile didn’t quite carry to her eyes.

Tom slowly refilled his glass. “It had nothing to do with your boss?” His voice was like steel. “Marc, isn’t it?”

Ana dropped the pan she was holding. It clattered loudly to the floor and made her jump.

She answered warily. “Why would you think that?”

“Because I saw the two of you kissing.”

Ana couldn’t believe how calm he sounded as he said it. That explains why he didn’t call, she thought to herself.

“Do you deny it?”

Ana lowered her head. “No” she said softly. “But it wasn’t how it looked!”

Tom held up a halting hand and sat down heavily on a chair. “I don’t even think I want the answer to this. But I need to know. It’s been killing me all week.” He ran his hands through his hair. “Are you having an affair with him?”

Ana paused before answering. She could lie, and pretend that Marc had just grabbed her? No. She had lied to Tom for long enough. She owed him the truth.

“I was having an affair with him.” Her voice was so quiet it was almost inaudible.

Tom was silent. It seemed like an eternity. When he finally spoke, she wished he hadn’t. “How long?”

It was Ana’s turn to take a long drink. “About a year.”

Tom looked at her, incredulous. “A year? So, you were with him before we even got together?”

“If you just let me explain…”

He cut her off. “Explain what? That I was your second choice? That the whole time we’ve been together it’s him you’ve wanted?”

Ana’s mind raced – how could she make him understand that it was over? That being with Marc had only made her realise how amazing Tom was and how lucky she was to have found him?

But it was too late. Tom had read her silence as confirmation of his worst fears.

Tears streaming down his face, Tom whispered, “I loved you! I thought you were the one, Ana,” before walking purposefully out of the house.

Her hand shaking uncontrollably, Ana picked up her wine glass not even managing to take a sip before bursting into tears.

***

When Mia and Willow arrived home hours later they found her sitting on the floor against a cupboard, a full glass of now warm wine next to her, crying silently.