One of Vienna’s few accredited slow food chefs has a special recipe for the Lenten fast: Viennese snails with artichoke ravioli

Fuad Vojic has created a slow food oasis at Giorgina, just behind the Burgtheater; in the heart of the city yet almost invisible. Lunchtime hums with the chitchat of political movers – SPÖ, ÖVP and die Grünen all have their party headquarters nearby, so expect to see familiar faces in off-duty mode. A sprinkling of actors from the Burgtheater adds to the buzz.

Having arrived in Vienna from Bosnia by way of Tirol and Voralberg, his kitchen philosophy can be summed up in one word: simplicity. An enthusiast for the Italian slow food movement of the 70s, Vojic serves up Viennese-Mediterranean fusion. Everything on the menu is fresh, local and seasonal. Stammgäste (regulars) can negotiate at the table and he will cook each dish individually. If you’re really serious call ahead and discuss your meal! A tip for theatergoers; although closing time is posted as 22:00, just call ahead and you won’t go home hungry.

One of his specialties is freshly made filled pasta, for example, Teigtaschen (think ravioli) with game and sage butter filling. For Lent, he recommends artichoke ravioli (seasonal in France) with snails from Andreas Gugumuck’s Vienna snail farm.


 

Artichoke ravioli with snail ragout
Artichoke ravioli with snail ragout

THE RECIPE
Wiener Weinbergschnecken with artichoke ravioli
(Viennese snails for Lent)

 

ca. 20 minutes, plus one hour for the pasta dough to settle

Attention: You can make the pasta with a ravioli form or cutter. But a food processor and pasta machine will save time.

Ingredients

 

For the pasta dough:

2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
180 g flour
20 g hard wheat semolina (Hartweizengrieß)
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the filling:

4 fresh artichoke hearts, diced
1 small onion,diced
1 garlic clove, minced
50 g ricotta
30 g freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
fresh thyme

For the snail ragout:

6 pickled snails (Note: Available through Gugumuck’s snail farm, 10., Rosiwalgasse 44; 0650 618 5749.
For the less adventurous, gourmet grocery stores usually stock canned snails.)
2 shallots
1 small zucchini
½ carrot
½ turnip
1 garlic clove
salt & pepper
tomato stock
butter

Preparation

Put the dough ingredients into the food processor and knead until smooth. Cover and leave in a cool
place for an hour.

Filling: Heat olive oil in a pan. Sauté the onion and garlic, add the artichoke and fry for 12 mins. When cool, add the other ingredients and purée with the hand blender.

Roll out the pasta into long sheets the size of your ravioli form. When using a form, sprinkle generously
with semolina and lay the first sheet down over it. Spoon the filling into the depressions of the form. Then lay the second sheet on top and roll over with a rolling pin to cut the ravioli. Tap them out of the form and put aside in a floured dish. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

In the meantime, peel and chop the carrot and turnip. Boil until al dente. Wash and chop the zucchini. Melt the butter in a pan. Lightly fry the shallots and zucchini and add garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients to the carrots and turnip and bring to a brief boil. Add a little butter to thicken, salt and pepper to taste.

When you are almost ready to serve, simmer the ravioli uncovered for three minutes. Plate ravioli immediately and pour the ragout over it. Drain and heat the snails and place on top. Add some grated Parmesan, garnish with sage, basil and marjoram.

 

Wine Pairing

Riesling Velue from Zillinger in Velm-Götzendorf, Weinviertel


 

Da Giorgina
1., Bankgasse 2,
(01) 533 3175
Mon-Fri 11:00-14:30 and 18:00-22:00

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English, studied in NY and worked in London, Düsseldorf, NY, Fankfurt, Prague and Vienna. This covered stints in market research and the film industry, international advertising coordination and strategic planning. Currently business school lecturer and journalist.