Recipes from Villa Lena | Sage & Butter Ravioli

Published: March 25, 2020

Our chef Enrico’s sage and butter ravioli is a firm favourite at Villa Lena. Try making it yourself for a little taste of Italy at home!

Makes 24 ravioli


For the dough:

250g 00 flour 

2 eggs 

1 yolk


For the filling:

Spinach 250g

Ricotta cheese 125g

Parmigiano Reggiano 50g

Nutmeg to taste


Black pepper


For the sauce:

Butter 40 gr 

Sage 5 leaves 


Clean the spinach leaves and put them in a large pot. Boil them on a moderate heat for 10 minutes. When cooked, place them in a colander and crush them with a spoon in order to remove the water. Put the spinach, ricotta, grated Parmesan cheese, eggs and a pinch of fine salt in a bowl. Mix everything well. 

Collect the sifted flour on a pastry board and create a well in the middle. Shell the eggs one at a time in a bowl, then pour them in the centre of the flour well and beat them with a fork very carefully. When the egg is combined, begin to incorporate the flour, starting from the centre of the well to prevent it from breaking and the eggs from spreading on the board. When all the flour has been mixed, a loose and grainy mixture will be obtained. Shape it into a compact ball, and leave it to rest for 15 minutes wrapped in clingfilm. 

Take some of the dough and roll it in a thin sheet using a rolling pin, or a pasta machine. Once the first sheet is ready, distribute the filling in small piles. Cover the sheet with a second sheet of dough, pressing all around the filling. Trim the ravioli with a cutter. 

Melt the butter in a pan with the sage leaves. Turn off as soon as the butter is melted and cover. Boil the ravioli in plenty of salted water, for a couple of minutes at the most. Drain them gently with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the saucepan with the butter and sage over a high heat, moving and turning them very gently.

Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

Margherita Cake with Vernaccia Sabayon

Published: July 9, 2018

Amaze your friends with this sweet recipe from former chef-in-residence Aaron Tomczak. This cake is the ultimate dessert for al-fresco dinners with your loved ones.

Villa Lena to me is simplicity, made extraordinary through natural beauty augmented by creativity. To draw a parallel to food for me would be ripe strawberries and Margherita cake, topped with a sabayon made from local wine and garnished with herbs from the garden. Very simple ingredients, made memorable by the airy texture of the sabayon and floral aroma of nasturtium and lavender.

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Strawberry Tree Syrup by Natalie Zervou

Published: December 14, 2017

Discovering the Arbutus Unedo plant (or strawberry tree as it is affectionately known) growing abundantly at Villa Lena was a revelation!

This small tree belongs  to the Ericaceae family, native to the Mediterranean region. The species name, ‘unedo’, is said to mean “I only eat one” in Latin as they are said to leave a slightly bitter aftertaste. I did not find this to be the case, though the texture for me was somewhat challenging (think flouring apple!) however,  when transformed into shrubs, syrups and jams this fruit really is utterly delightful. The flavour is layered, complex and sweet and when married with thymus mint, also bountiful at the villa, the heavenly aroma and sticky sweet taste kept us going back for more. In folk medicine, the plant has been used for antiseptic, astringent, intoxicant, rheumatism, and tonic purposes. I enjoyed the shub best, the acidity of the vinegar gave a tangy twist and had that addictive quality that contrasting flavours often possess (think salty and sweet).

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