Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ravioli Fever!

I can't seem to get enough of playing with my new pasta machine and ravioli maker. I've now made two batches of spinach ravioli and am on to now experimenting with butternut squash with sage and brown butter sauce and then try a lobster ravioli. With each batch I get better at mixing, feeling and creating a better pasta. The first time I made ravioli I made a garlic alfredo and added in some roughly chopped crimini and white mushrooms. Delicious! I have a marinar sauce with sausage, mushrooms and pepperoni that I am going to try with this batch. The key is to knead the pasta dough for at least 10 minutes and then letting it rest wrapped in plastic for at least an hour. I'm combining two recipes for my dough. From "Ultimate Pasta" by Julia Della Croce (ISBN: 0-7894-2086-4 and "Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family" by Art Smith (ISBN: 0-7868-6854-6). The second book is one of my favorites and I highly recommended getting this one to add to your collection.

~2 cups flour (more for dusting the pasta and the machine)
3 eggs
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil

Weigh the flour (should be 1 lb which is about 2 cups), add salt. Slightly beat the eggs and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in egg. Using a fork, gradually add flour into the egg mix as it comes away from the sides of the bowl. When the dough is well incorporated and is too stiff to work with a fork, turn onto a lightly dusted surface and begin to knead into a ball. Continue kneading until a soft ball is made. Important: Knead the dough for a minimum of 10 minutes. Put on some music to keep your eye off the clock. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest in a warm place for at least 1 hour.

While dough rests, make your filling.

Spinach Filling:
1 lb. cooked, drained to almost dry and finely chopped spinach
7 oz. Ricotta Cheese
3.5 oz grated Parmesan Cheese
2 egg yolks
1 TBSP. Breadcrumbs
Salt and Pepper

Cut the dough into 2-4 smaller sizes to work with, keeping the dough you are not working with wrapped in plastic. Feed the dough through the pasta machine on the lowest setting at first, gradually tightening down the width after passing it through the machine each time. You will end up with a long, thin sheet of pasta. I like to end up on either 6 or 7 because it needs to be slightly thicker than say fettucini because it will be sandwiched. Cut off the tapered ends and fold in half.

Place the ravioli attachment onto the pasta machine. Fold the dough in half and feed the middle of the dough into the machine turning about 1/4" to begin the first seal.
Place the hopper on the attachment and spoon the filling into the middle. A sheet of ravioli will look like this:

Gently remove the edges of the ravioli (I actually saved these "noodles" and put them in a soup (waste not want not!)

Your ravioli will look like this:

Voila! Enjoy!

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