Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making Ravioli

I finally got to try out my new pasta machine.  Surprisingly the actual pasta dough making is fairly easy and I was afraid of it the most.  It’s making the ravioli all the same size, without a stamp, that’s hard… but like I said in the previous post, I have no patience for precision.
It was imagining tiny, cute raviolis, dough so thin you can see the filling through.  Reality was a little bit sloppier and messier, took more time than I thought, but not too shabby for the first try.  If I invest in a various sized ravioli stamps maybe I can even impress someone … someday.
I also realized that making of pastry dough, the kind than needs butter rolled in, folded, re-rolled, folded again… well you get the point, can be now done in minutes.  Once the initial slab of butter is incorporated by hand the laminating process can be done successfully on smaller batches of dough.  I will definitely try it.
Since the actual pasta dough came out beautify, I am giving the recipe below.  Not the pasta cutting and shaping… still need to work on that one.
Ravioli Pasta.
This makes a lot of 1.5 inch (average) raviolis, enough for 6 heaping portions.
3.5 cups of all purpose flour (see note)
4 eggs
1 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs of water
Note:   I use the all-purpose flour here instead of the mixture with semolina, which is traditional for past making.  Semolina flour can be incorporated as ½ of your four (by weight) if you planning on drying or freezing your pasta.

I find it easier using the food processor for the initial mix rather than starting the dough by hand.  Combine the flour, eggs and olive oil and pulse in the food processor until just combined.  Add water only if need for the dough to just come together.  It will look dry and crumbly and will begin to form a very loose ball.  (If your dough is forming a tight smooth ball, it may be a bit too wet.  You can incorporate more four while kneading by hand.)
Flour a wooden board and begin kneading the dough by hand.  I would stay away from the dough hook attachment on your mixer; pasta really likes to be hand kneaded.    The dough will be crumbly and dry at first, continue kneading until smooth and silky (at least 10 min).
Wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge overnight or for at least a few hours.
When ready to make pasta, four the board again and knead the dough for a few minutes.  Then cut into 6 equal pieces and press through the pasta machine, beginning with the widest setting and ending on the lowest.  You will be left with paper thin sheets of dough that should be stretched out on a floured surface.  Now you can begin to fill and shape your pasta.  Just make sure that all your filled and sealed ravioli come out the same size.  It will insure even cooking times.

I did a simple stuffing of ricotta and pecorino and fresh herbs.  The pasta is so delicate that it only needs to be boiled for about 30 seconds before being finished in the sauce.  If your sauce is fairly thin, almost like a broth, you can cook the pasta directly in the sauce, without boiling it. 

How cool is this?

How the heck did they roll it this thin by hand for centuries?

Fill it

Here I am serving my uneven ravioli in a simple roasted tomatoes and mushroom ragu with a touch of cream sauce.  Delicious!

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