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Gino's Italian Escape

Sweet pasta filled ricotta cheese, crushed hazelnuts, orange zest and chocolate chips

“We love our pasta in Italy – so much so that we like to eat it for dessert too!”
– Gino D’Acampo

These little halfmoon-shaped pasta treats are perfect eaten at the end of a meal or with coffee or a chilled glass of sweet white wine. The combination of nuts, honey and chocolate make them very rich and perfect for festive entertaining.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta:

– 2 large whole eggs, 1 egg yolk
– 250g ‘00’ flour, plus a little for dusting
– 2 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
– 50g butter, softened
– Olive oil, for frying

For the filling:

– 250g ricotta cheese
– Zest of 1 orange
– 50g finely chopped hazelnuts
– 50g good-quality dark chocolate chips
– 1 tablespoon caster sugar (optional)
– 1 egg, beaten
– 4 tablespoons honey, for drizzling
– 4 tablespoons icing sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS

Beat together the eggs and egg yolk. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the sugar and butter, then add the eggs. With the end of a wooden spoon, bring the mix together, adding a drop of water if you need to. Once the mixture starts to come together, turn it out onto a clean worK surface and start to knead the dough until the surface is clean and the dough smooth. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 20–30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, orange zest, hazelnuts and chocolate chips, adding a tablespoon of sugar, if you like. Set aside.

Unwrap the chilled pasta dough onto a well-floured surface. Flatten it down slightly with your fingertips then roll it out until it is 2mm thick, or use a pasta machine – if you have one. Once thin, cut out 12 discs of pasta using a 10–12cm cutter. Brush around the edge of each disc with a little egg wash, then place a spoonful of the ricotta filling in the middle of each disc and fold the one half of the pasta circle over the filling, creating a half-moon shape. Press down firmly around the edge, then use a fork to press the edges together.

Heat 5cm oil in a saucepan. To check if the oil is hot, add a little offcut of pasta to the oil – if bubbles start to appear around it and it floats to the top, it is ready. Fry the half-moons in batches. Cook for 1½ minutes then carefully turn them over and cook for 1½ minutes on the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately drizzled with honey and dusted with icing sugar.

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