I tried a recipe for cialsons over 2 years ago when I wrote about the cuisine of Friuli, but never got around to putting my cooking notes together until now. These are nothing more than stuffed ravioli (that's gyoza to you Debi!) but have a couple of unique factors going for them: a potato and chocolate filling and the decorative twisted edge. They really aren't difficult to master at all and I did these myself during one rainy afternoon.
If the potato and chocolate filling piqued your interest, then read on; there's more to it. That's a huge glob of the stuff below on the left. The breakdown goes like this: potatoes, italian parsley, mint, tarragon, thyme, marjoram, raisins, figs, chocolate and cinnamon. Truly an unusual mixture, and when we had some during that trip to Friuli, I knew then that you can never judge a ravioli based on ingredients alone. These sorta remind me of xmas with the chocolate and dried fruit, and yeah they are delicious!
The same basic rules apply to preparing these. Roll out the pasta dough as thinly as possible (#6 on a manual pasta machine) and don't overstuff. These can be frozen in a single layer then bagged for future meals. A little olive oil and grated smoked ricotta finishes the dish.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
- Mound the flour on a work surface, make a well in the center and add the eggs. Combine and knead until smooth, adding water only if necessary. Cover with a cloth and let rest for half hour.
Ingredients for filling:
1 pound potatoes, steamed or boiled until done
1 tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/3 cup golden raisins, chopped fine
2 dried figs, chopped fine
1/3 cup grated semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
smoked ricotta (for garnish)
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skins and put through a potato ricer. (If you don't have a ricer, use a fork.) Add the remaining ingredients except smoked ricotta and combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Roll out pasta dough and cut into 3-inch rounds. Place about a teaspoon-size amount of filling in the center. Taking each pasta circle, gently stretch to elongate into an oval. Fold the bottom half over toward the top to within 1/4-inch from the edge and press to seal. Lightly dampen curved edge with water and making small folds, turn in to form pleats. The photo enlarges to give better detail.
To serve: Bring a pot of water to a boil, lightly flavor with salt and cook cialsons for about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and portion into dishes. Drizzle with good olive oil (or melted butter if you want to stick with tradition) and sprinkle with grated parmigiano or smoked ricotta.