Lots of recipes claim to be impressive, but these ravioli really are the ultimate dinner-party first course. You take fresh homemade pasta, spread it with Parmesan-ricotta filling, place an egg yolk in the center, and seal it with another piece of pasta. Then you cook the ravioli just enough to keep the egg yolks runny, and serve them with a brown butter, sage, and bacon sauce, for the perfect marriage of bacon and eggs.
Special equipment: You will need a pastry brush for this recipe, as well as a 4-1/2- or 5-inch round cutter to cut out the ravioli. If you don’t have a round cutter, you can use a small bowl with the same diameter.
1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water, for sealing the ravioli
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
2 tablespoons finely cut fresh sage-leaf ribbons
Place the ricotta and Parmesan in a medium bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate.
Place the bacon in a medium frying pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain off and discard almost all of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving only a thin coating and any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reserve the pan.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, set a hand-cranked pasta machine on the widest setting and lightly flour your work surface. Divide the prepared pasta dough into 2 equal pieces. Cover 1 piece with plastic wrap and set aside. Using your hands, press the other half into a round disk roughly 1/4 inch thick. Pass the dough through the machine’s smooth rollers. (If the dough is a bit sticky, lightly dust it with flour.)
Continue passing the dough through the pasta machine, adjusting to the next narrower setting with each pass, until it is very thin, about 1/16 inch thick, or dial number 8 on most machines. Trim the rounded ends off and discard (you should have at least 36 inches of pasta dough left). Fold the pasta sheet a couple of times, making sure to generously flour or place plastic wrap between the layers; set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
Lightly flour a baking sheet and set it aside. Lay both of the pasta sheets flat on a dry, well-floured surface and cut 6 (6-inch-wide) pieces from each sheet (so that you end up with 6-by-6-inch squares). Discard the ends.
Remove the filling from the refrigerator and snip a 1/2-inch hole from one of the bottom corners of the bag. On 6 of the pasta pieces, pipe a ring of filling that measures about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (leave the center empty). Pipe a second ring on top of the first, forming a nest for the egg yolk (be sure to use up all of the filling).
Have a 4-1/2- or 5-inch round cutter ready. Crack 1 egg, separate the white from the yolk, and place the white in a medium bowl. Using the egg shell or your fingers, gently place the yolk inside one of the piped rings, being careful not to break the yolk. Repeat with the remaining 5 eggs and piped rings. Reserve the egg whites for another use.
Using a pastry brush, brush the egg-water mixture on the exposed edges of the pasta with the yolk-cheese rings. Gently cover with the remaining 6 pasta squares by starting at one side of each square and draping the pasta over the filling and egg, being careful not to break the yolk. Push out the air pockets as you go and press tightly around the filling and egg yolk to seal. Center the cutter around the filling and egg yolk on each raviolo and cut away the extra pasta. Using a flat spatula, carefully transfer the ravioli to the floured baking sheet. Discard the trimmings.
Return the reserved frying pan to medium heat. Add the butter and cook until the white milk solids have browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and reserved bacon pieces, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside while you cook the ravioli.
Gently add 3 of the ravioli to the boiling water and cook until they float and the cheese filling is warmed through, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. (Do not overcook.) Remove with a slotted spoon, blotting away excess water underneath the spoon with a paper towel. Place 1 raviolo on each of 3 plates. Gently drop the remaining 3 ravioli into the water. While they cook, spoon half of the sage-bacon sauce over the 3 plated ravioli. Repeat with the 3 remaining ravioli and the remaining half of the sauce. Serve immediately.