There is a long standing tradition of pasta in Istria, a clear inflence of the Venetian republic that ruled the peninsula for centuries. Many types of pasta are still now made in a traditional way at home, like fuži, pljukanci and posutice, especially for some special occasion. The most noble pasta you can find here are surely Labinski krafi that are a kind of ravioli stuffed with mild cow’s grated cheese, raisins and lemon zest. They are coming from Labin, the most important town of the east Istrian coast. It is rare to find them elsewhere, impossible to buy it in a shop or find them on the menu of a restaurant.
They are very peculiar kind of pasta – it goes well either with salty or sweet sauces, probably beacuse the filling is slightly sweet. So, when you make them, you prepared at the same time the main dish and the dessert! In the role of the main dish you traditionally serve them with a sauce made from beef and chicken (hrv. šugo, a kind of goulash or ragout). As dessert, you can use a sauce made of cherries, some sugar and local red wine Teran that has spiky acidity, or you can just pour over them grated nuts, butter and some sugar.
Thanks to kindness of Josipa Ravnić from Ližnjan (but born and raised in Labin) I am bringing you detailed instructions, with photos and videos, to make Labinski krafi.
Ingredients: (for 30 pieces)
for the filling
150 g mild and 2-3 month old cow milk cheese
150 g mild and 2-3 month old sheep milk cheese
100 g grated 1-2 day old bread
3 spoons of sugar
1 spoon of dark rum
1 spoon of butter
1 cup of raisins
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 package (5 g) of vanilla sugar
(or a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
grate some nutmeg over the filling
Grate the cheese. Add all ingredients and mix them in a bowl. Try the filling, it should be slightly sweet, just enough to cover the acidity of the cheese and lemon zests.
for the dough
400 g flour of type 00
a pinch of salt
3 spoons of olive oil
You need just few drops of water since eggs will give enough liquid to make a nice dough. When the dough is well mixed and it does not stick anymore to your fingers (add more flour if it does), pass it several times in the pasta machine, each time reducing the thickness between two cylinders.
It can be a bit tricky, so look at the video for the tips. Add some flour to the pasta sheet and to the table to avoid sticking to the cylinders of the machine.
At the end you should have pasta sheets that are less than 1 mm thick. Put a spoon of the filling on the sheet every 5 cm. Then, fold the right part of the sheet over the filling.
Use the stamp to cut the sheet and form krafi. The stamp with immediately glue the edges.
Pierce each piece with a fork, so when they cook the air can go out. Let them dry out for an hour on the floured surface. If you will not cook them immediately, it is convenient to freeze them. Use in the next three months.
Drying of krafi
Finally, here are krafi served with artichokes alla romana…
…or as dessert, in the sauce of cherries, red wine Teran, some sugar and grappa.