Maultasche is a very unique dish, almost like a large Ravioli, these pasta pockets come from one distinct area in Germany called Baden-Württemberg and in particular part of Baden-Württember, Swabia. Normally ground beef, spinach, breadcrumbs and fresh nutmeg get stuffed inside the large pasta, which is then cooked in either a broth or salted water and served as a soup or on it's own.
The history of Maultasche is as interesting as the dish itself, the first recorded recipe dates back to 1794 and it is rumored that the dish itself was developed by monks as a way of eating meat during Lent, as the meat was hidden in the large pasta from the eyes of God. Maultasche which literally translates to Maul - animal jaws and Tasche - Bag but the nickname in Swabia is "Herrgottsbescheißerle" which means "small God cheaters". Either way the dish which is protected specialty in the EU is quite unique and it is because of this that I sat my course to make these little pockets, but with a vegetarian twist.
The first ingredient I started with was hubris or arrogance.
I had tasted a vegetarian version about a year and half ago, so armed with all of this knowledge, I began cooking. No recipe, no problem. Clear idea of what the dish was, nope, no big deal.
I started with a the pasta dough, I used an egg because I didn't want to screw this up as my German wife warned it was a more complex dish to prepare then I thought. But in the end, the egg wasn't of benefit so you can omit if you want to, won't make a real difference.
1 cup of Flour, 1 tsp of Salt and 1 Egg, mixed with 1 tbsp of Olive Oil and 1 tbsp of Water, makes a pretty nice dough, add a little more Water and Oil if excluding the egg.
So far, I believe I am doing great!
Letting the dough rest for a while, I next tackle the filling and the cracks of failure start to make there way through the facade of hubris.
I start by making the "meat filling". I take my trusted TVP or TSP or another name depending on where you live, and add some salt (in the way of veggie base), some spice (mixture of smoked paprika, oregano and thyme) and add some boiling water to re-hydrate the little kernels.
Now, I mixed spinach, TVP, some breadcrumbs and the magical ingredient nutmeg. And this is the beginning of the end of the dish. Unlike the tradition (those that know me, know I have a love/hate relationship to tradition) I didn't bother to blend the mixture in a food processor to make more of a paste, no instead I left it as it was....(foreshadowing)
With the dough having been successful rested, I begin to roll out the dough, since I don't have a pasta machine I simply used a rolling pin.
Then I cut the dough to be more of a rectangle, then I cut it into three even(ish) sized pieces.
I placed about half a cup of the filling on one side of the dough, and with a little water, wet the edge of the dough and folded the dough over and clamped the edges.
I boiled the pasta in salted water for about 8 minutes and took out and drained completely and then gave a light fry in Olive Oil.
I made a quick bechamel sauce (white sauce) for a little harmony between the spinach, TVP and Nutmeg. I then discovered I had made a, Moussaka and Ravioli hybrid and called it, Ravaka.
And that was it. Stayed tuned to next week, when I pick my pride out of the garbage and go at the Maultasche for a second time (ironically called, Maultasche - Part 2 - Maultashe Re-imagined)