Happy New Year everyone!  Before we get to the recipe, I have a disclaimer.  This is going to be a very photo-lite column.  I made this several years ago before I was in the writing biz, so I wasn’t as photo-happy as I am nowadays.  However, I ensure that the quality of this recipe will make up for the lack of photos.

With that being said, I thought it’d be fun to start the new year off on a bit of a weird note.  I will also say that this recipe is quite a process, so if you’re looking for something quick, this isn’t it.  Now, here are the ingredients:

Ravioli

Ravioli Filling

  • 1 Lbs goat liver, cubed
  • 4-5 Oz goat cheese
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp tarragon, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pink Vodka Sauce

  • 1 12 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup good vodka
  • ¼ cup light cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Yep, I said goat liver.  Many moons ago I had a friend who was raising goats and they were kind enough to sell me some of the lesser-demanded cuts.  I was especially happy when some cheeks landed on my doorstep. Confession time: that’s goat cheek in my beef cheek recipe picture. These goat livers couldn’t have been any fresher though, and it really helped this dish.  

Anyway, make the pasta dough first.  Once it’s been made, refrigerate it for a few hours. While it’s in the fridge, it’s time to make the goat liver mousse (of sorts) to fill the ravioli.  Cube your liver and chop the herbs, garlic, and shallots. Put a sauté pan on medium heat.  Add the oil and butter and let the butter melt. Once the butter is melted, add the shallots and garlic and cook for about a minute.  When you smell the garlic, add the liver chunks, thyme and tarragon and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the liver cubes are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes a side.  

Important safety note before we continue.  When you are cooking with somewhat high-proof booze, like we are here, make sure to turn the heat off before you add it.  Unless you want to re-enact the Towering Inferno in your home, this is a vital step.  

Now that’s out of the way, turn the heat off and add the bourbon.  Put the heat back on and reduce the bourbon by half.  Once reduced, set aside and let cool for 10-15 minutes.  Why you ask? The next step involves a food processor or blender, whichever you have to use. Putting this hot stuff in a food processor or blender can be a bit dangerous.  You also don’t want to introduce this much heat to the cheeses either. 

Once the liver has cooled, transfer the entire contents of the pan to a food process or blender.  Add the goat cheese and ricotta cheese, and then blend until completely smooth.  Add salt and pepper if necessary. Make sure to taste this.  If you want to add more goat cheese to make it tangier, go for it.  

Now that the filling has been made, it’s time to roll out the pasta sheets.  I am fortunate enough to own a stand mixer with a pasta roller attachment.  If you have one too, roll the sheets out to about 5 on the dial.  You want the sheets to be somewhat thin, but not paper thin.  Make sure you have a floured surface to lay the pasta sheets out. Once they are laid out, take a small spoonful and put filling on two of the sheets about 3 inches apart.  Be sure to not over-fill them. Lay the other sheets on top and press down around the filling so that there is no air where the filling is.  Cut your ravioli, and if you don’t have a cutter like me, use a fork to crimp the edges tightly. 

Let these sit for a little bit while we make the sauce. You should bring a large pot of salted water to a boil at the same time as you’re making this sauce. Put a deep sauté pan on medium heat and add the butter, garlic and shallots.  Cook until you can smell the garlic.  Turn the heat off, add the vodka, and then put the heat back on. Let this reduce ½ way and then add the can of tomatoes.  Mix well, drop the heat to medium low and let cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yes, I know, this recipe is the reverse order of every other pink vodka sauce.  It’s also better because you’re cooking the alcohol out and concentrating the flavor a little of the vodka.  That’s just my opinion, though.

About 7 minutes into cooking the sauce, drop the ravioli into the water. They should take 2-3 minutes to cook because fresh pasta cooks a lot faster than dried.  Once the sauce has cooked, drop the temp even lower and add the cream.  Stir to incorporate and let cook for a minute so everything melds together.  Drain the ravioli well, put them into the sauce, and toss well to coat.  Serve in a whatever dish you like, top with fresh grated parmesan, and enjoy!

I hope some of you try this out and enjoy it as much as I do. It is quite a unique dish but is downright delicious.  Have a great rest of you January and I’ll see you in February!


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Jay Flanders

Jay Flanders is a native of Newport and avid cook. While he studied at the University of Rhode Island, he also attended the College of Food Network via his television set where he learned the basics of...