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Recipes

Pig's head and offal ravioli with smoked aubergine purée and peperonata

This is nose-to-tail eating at its best: homemade pasta stuffed with rich, slow-cooked meat and Italian vegetables.

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Ingredients

For the brine

For the pig’s head and offal

For the ravioli

For the ravioli filling

  • 1 small red onion, peeled, finely diced
  • small handful parsley or basil, shredded
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten, for egg wash

For the peperonata

  • 1 onion, peeled, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, de-seeded, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

For the smoked aubergine purée

For the vegetables à la Grècque

For the vinaigrette

To serve

Method

  1. For the brine, place the salt, pepper, white wine vinegar and cinnamon sticks into a large pan of cold water (use a pan that's deep enough to cover the pig's head).

  2. For the pig’s head and offal, add the pig’s head to the brine and set aside for two hours to soak.

  3. Remove the pig’s head from the brine and transfer to a fresh pan of boiling water. Add the ox tongue, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, salt, peppercorns, sugar and white wine vinegar and return to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer for six hours, or until the meat from the head just begins to fall from the bone.

  4. Remove the pig’s head and ox tongue from the pan and set aside to cool. When the ox tongue is cool enough to handle, peel the skin from it and set aside to cool fully. Once cool, finely shred the ox tongue.

  5. Once the pig’s head has cooled, pick all the meat from it, discarding the fat.

  6. Remove the pig’s ears and finely slice the meat. Set aside to use as a garnish.

  7. For the ravioli, tip the flour onto a clean surface (or into a large bowl) and add the salt. Beat together the eggs and oil.

  8. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the beaten egg and oil mixture in a thin stream, mixing more of the flour into the wet ingredients as you add them until the mixture comes together as a dough. (You may not need to add all of the eggs and olive oil mixture.)

  9. Knead the pasta dough for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  10. Turn out the chilled pasta dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour the rollers on your pasta machine.

  11. Roll the pasta out using the pasta machine. Start by setting the machine to its widest setting (usually the lowest number) and pass the pasta through the rollers, each time adjusting the machine to its next-widest setting, until it has reached the required thickness.

  12. For the ravioli filling, mix the shredded ox tongue with the meat from the pig’s head (except the ears). Mix in the chopped parsley (or basil) and onion until well combined, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  13. Cut 10cm/4in rounds from the rolled pasta dough using a pastry cutter. Place a spoonful of the filling mixture into the centre of half of the pasta rounds. Brush the edges with egg wash, then place one of the empty pasta rounds on top, pressing the edges together to seal thoroughly and pushing out any air bubbles..

  14. Repeat the process with the remaining ravioli and the remaining filling mixture. Sprinkle the ravioli with flour and separate the layers of ravioli using baking parchment to prevent them from sticking, then chill in the fridge until needed.

  15. For the peperonata, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, red and yellow peppers and garlic, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until softened. Keep warm.

  16. For the aubergine purée, using tongs, hold each aubergines directly over a gas burner, turning until the skin has blistered and the aubergine is soft to the touch. (Alternatively, place the aubergines under a hot grill, turning them occasionally.) Set aside to cool slightly, then peel off the skin. Roughly chop the flesh. Repeat the process with the remaining aubergines.

  17. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and thyme and fry for one minute, or until fragrant.

  18. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for a further 6-8 minutes.

  19. Stir in the chopped aubergine pulp. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and continue to cook for a further 5-6 minutes.

  20. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return the blended mixture to the pan for a further few minutes and cook over a medium heat until it has dried out. Set aside and keep warm.

  21. For the vegetables à la Grècque, boil the sweet potato in a pan of salted water for 6-8 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.

  22. Add the cauliflower florets to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until tender. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and add to the bowl.

  23. Add the shredded cabbage to the pan and blanch for 2-3 minutes, then drain well. Add the cabbage to the bowl containing the sweet potato and cauliflower. Set aside and keep warm.

  24. Heat a deep-fat fryer to 180C. (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Sprinkle some flour onto a plate. Dredge the pig’s ear slices in the flour, shaking off any excess. Deep-fry the coated pig’s ears in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

  25. Just before serving, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the ravioli for 3-4 minutes, or until al dente.

  26. For the vinaigrette, whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together until well combined. Spoon three-quarters of the vinaigrette into the bowl containing the vegetables à la Grècque, add the basil and mix until the vegetables are coated in the vinaigrette.

  27. To serve, spoon some of the aubergine purée into the centre of each of six serving plates and drag the spoon to create a swirl. Place a large spoonful of the peperonata into the centre of each plate. Arrange the ravioli on top. Spoon the vegetables à la Grècque alongside, then drizzle the ravioli with the remaining vinaigrette. Garnish with some of the deep-fried pig’s ears.

Recipe Tips

Cook the pig's head and offal the day before you make the rest of this recipe.

How-to videos

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Making pasta dough by hand

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Rolling pasta using a pasta machine