Text by Pia Unger
The local german-speakers call it Schlipfkrapfen; their Italian neighbours affectionately refer to it as ravioli tirolesi. Each region has its own fillings for this pasta speciality. In East Tyrol, the king of pastas is filled with potato, and in South Tyrol with curds and spinach.
The regional delicacy is found in the Italian Alps and over into Switzerland and Tyrol, and is known under many names. Schlipfkrapfen, Schlutzkrapfen, Kärntner Nudeln, ravioli and cjalzons are just a few of its incarnations. Michael Karl, head chef at the Gradonna Mountain Resort, has put his own slant on the classic dish. The chef with four Gault-Millau toques has drawn inspiration from the region and its diversity to reinterpret this East Tyrol speciality.
New version of ravioli tirolesi
Karl showed us his new version of ravioli tirolesi in an exclusive cookery class. Everything from the dough to the filling is made by hand. The key component apart from the egg dough itself is the filling. Ricotta, a little potato, salt, pepper and a selection of mountain herbs, and the most important ingredient: masterwort.
This herb is native to our region and is picked by our ‚herb fairy‘. Masterwort is what gives the dish its unique, hot and slightly bitter note.
Mastwort is only to be found on Alpine mountain pastures at altitudes of between 1400 and 2700 metres, growing in the rocky and limy soil.
Another excellent regional food is fish. Char and Arctic char, farmed from wild fish, can be used in a wide variety of dishes. For example, Arctic char is delicious slow-cooked in the oven, and char coated in flour and fried skin side down. Karl uses local herbs to give each fish an unmistakable and unique flavour.
As we watch the award-winning chef at work between his steaming pots and pasta dough, we can see what is important to him. Produce must be fresh, local, and sustainable: for Michael Karl, these are absolutely essential quality criteria. The char and Arctic char come from the Austrian Federal Forests Association‘s (österreichische Bundesforste) “Wildkultur”, fish farms that breed only from wild fish.
Careful sourcing and excellent preparation make for mouthwatering fish. In the face of the booming fast food business, the gourmet chef wants to encourage his customers to take the time for good food – and guests at the Gradonna Mountain Resort have the chance to cook with a Gault-Millau chef in exclusive cookery classes. Our cookery class with Michael Karl showed us just what a pleasure slow food can be.
Recipe by Michael Karl
Head Chef at Gradonna Mountain Resort
FOR THE EGG DOUGH:
300g pasta flour
150g egg yorke
100g whole egg
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
FOR THE FILLING:
2 tbsp masterwort pesto*
1 floury potato, boiled
1 tbsp mixed wild herbs
1 lemon (rind finely grated)
Salt & pepper
*masterwort, dried tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper)
For the dough: knead together the pasta flour, egg yolk, whole egg, olive oil and a pinch of salt to form a firm dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 12 hours. Roll out the dough as thinly as possible on a floured surface (c. 2-3 mm). Cut out c. 10cm-wide circles with a cutter and brush off the excess flour. For the filling: finely grate the boiled potato and mix with the ricotta, masterwort pesto, wild herbs and lemon zest. Season well. Pipe walnut-sized portions of filling onto the circles of dough. Brush one side of the dough with beaten egg. Fold over the dough and press together. Pinch together the ends so that it looks like large tortellini. Cook in salted boiling water for 6 minutes.
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