Raving about ravioli

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Food, Personal, Recipes
Tags: , , , , , ,

For many people, making pasta, especially ravioli, seems like something you can only do if you’re Italian.  Not true!  I took take a couple cooking classes to learn how to make ravioli, but you only need to read this post.  Once my family discovered I could make ravioli, our Thanksgiving dinner entree was set.

There are a variety of tasty fillings, but today I filled my Thanksgiving ravioli with an artichoke filling. When I use two fillings, I also make spinach ravioli in addition to the plain ones.  That way people can tell which ravioli has which filling.

One great thing is that you can make ravioli and freeze them.  And just today, I finally figured out the best way to freeze them without trying to dry them first.   So put on your apron.  Here we go.  (There’s still plenty time to make them for Thanksgiving or plan ahead for Christmas.)

Pasta

2 ¼ c. flour
3 large eggs
1 t. salt

Mound flour on clean countertop or table.  Make a well and add salt.  Carefully break in eggs.  Gently mix salt and eggs together with a fork.  Slowly incorporate in the flour until you get a paste.  Use your fingers to continue incorporating flour until the dough has absorbed as much as it can without becoming stiff and dry.  Keep getting rid of hard, crusty bits from hands/table/flour.  Knead dough for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic, adding in more flour if it becomes sticky.  Dough should spring back when poked gently with a finger. Let rest for 20 minutes, covered with a slightly damp dishtowel.

photo 1(14)

photo 2(1)

Divide into four pieces, working with one at a time while keeping the others covered with a dish towel.  Take a piece of dough and lightly dust with flour.  Dust the rollers of the pasta machine with flour.  Start with the rollers on the widest setting.  Put the dough through the machine, then dust with flour and fold into thirds.  Do this three or four times.  Then go to the next smaller setting.  Roll through twice on each setting, making sure to flour rollers so dough doesn’t stick.  You may need to stop at the second to last setting if dough is already quite thin.  (When you clean your pasta machine, never wash it or use water.  Use a dry brush and brush out all the extra flour.)

photo 3(13)

At this point, you can cut the pasta into ribbons, if not making ravioli, lightly floured and place on a  surface lightly floured with polenta or corn meal or rice flour. I just got this tip from the internet today.  If you use flour, the pasta tends to get soggy.  Let dry about 20-30 minutes, then cook immediately, store somewhere covered for a short while before cooking, curl into nests and store in the refrigerator, or freeze.  Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook and if cooking from frozen, only a minute or two longer.

To make ravioli:

You can make ravioli one of two ways.  Either way, start by laying out your sheet of pasta on the lightly “floured” counter.  Place small amounts of filling about an inch or so apart on a sheet of pasta.  Using a pastry brush, brush lightly with water on the edges and between filling.

photo 5(9)

Place a second sheet of pasta on top, pressing firmly around filling.  Be sure to get all the air out.  Cut with a knife, pizza cutter or ravioli cutter.  Be sure the edge are pressed together tightly.  If you get a tear, cover it with a small piece of dough.  Any extra dough can be kneaded into the next batch.

You can freeze prepared ravioli easily.  Sprinkle a jelly roll pan (with sides) with semolina/corn meal or rice flour and put the ravioli on the tray in a single layer.  Freeze for about 30 minutes.  When they’ frozen, put them in a freezer bag.  Makes it very easy to have homemade ravioli at any time.  Just cook them slightly longer.

OR

Using one sheet of pasta, place filling a little to the front of halfway (toward you, as you’re working.)  Brush water on front edge, between filling mounds and just behind filling.  Carefully fold back edge of pasta over to front, leaving a bit of an edge in the back.  Smooth from back to front and between filling mounds, making sure to get air out.  Cut and dry as above.  I usually use this method.

When cooking fresh ravioli, cook about 5 minutes.

Green Pasta

 ½ ten-oz. package of frozen spinach or ½ lb. fresh spinach

If using fresh spinach, wash and cook in a covered pan until tender.  Frozen spinach just needs to be thawed out.  Squeeze out spinach until it’s as dry as possible, then chop it very fine.

Proceed just as you would with the basic pasta recipe, adding the spinach with the eggs and salt.

Be sure to have plenty of boiling salted water when you make ravioli, but don’t put olive oil in it.  When you think the ravioli are done, take one out, cut it in half and eat it.  :-)   Drain, top with your favorite sauce and enjoy.  To see the recipe for our family’s favorite sauce, one guaranteed to win you accolades, see my post here.

Mangia!!

Comments
  1. I guessed it! The walnut sauce :o) Your recipe is one of our favorites, specially now with our own walnuts. Thanks again!

  2. They look delicious! That would make a great Thanksgiving dinner.

  3. We love spinach mozzarella ravioli. I am intrigued by the artichoke recipe. Wonderful post!

  4. belocchio says:

    Your pasta looks absolutely splendid. Pasta making was always a favorite when we we taught our cooking classes. We especially like making pasta WHEN our guests arrive and have them help. They love it. Virginia

  5. vastlycurious.com says:

    These sound superb !

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