May 11, 2015
This recipe was inspired by Kristi Spence in her blog post “Homemade Ravioli - An Italian Easter Tradition.” Kristi can purchase ravioli from the grocery store, but making it from scratch brings back fond memories of her grandma Olga. This was a tradition Kristi shared with grandma and one she wants to continue with her small family. For those of us who do not have an Italian grandma we can prepare a very tasty do-it-yourself comfort – ravioli – and who knows, it may just become a cherished memory for you and your family!
Place flour on clean counter and make a well in center with fingers. Drop remaining dough ingredients in center of well. Using a fork whisk eggs, gradually beating in more and more of the flour from the sides of the well. Work in enough more flour to make a firm dough, no longer sticky to handle, still soft enough to knead. (NOTE: If dough becomes too stiff, spritz the surface with water and continue to knead to create desired consistency). Knead dough until smooth (5-10 minutes). Wrap dough in plastic wrap, refrigerate and allow to rest for 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.
Divide dough in fourths, work with ¼ dough at a time; rewrap remaining dough while not in use. (Ravioli is best made with a pasta machine but you may hand roll very thin on a floured surface. It’s thin enough when you can see your hand behind the dough). Flatten dough into a disk. Using the widest setting on a pasta machine (usually 1 or 0), run the dough through the machine 3-4 times. (NOTE: if dough is a bit tacky, dust the surface with flour.) Fold dough into thirds, feed open side of dough through pasta machine 2 or 3 more times, fold in thirds again and repeat. Lower the setting on pasta machine one step and run dough through twice; continue to run the dough through the machine, lowering the setting 1 step at a time until you reach the narrowest setting or until you can see your hand behind the pasta. While feeding dough into pasta machine, hold the dough with the flat of your hand allowing it to drop into the machine (not pulled through). Lay pasta sheet on lightly floured surface or parchment paper. Place 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons filling 1-inch apart on half the pasta sheet. Dip finger in water and dampen the pasta sheet around the filling dollops. Fold second half of the pasta sheet over filling dollops and gently press to seal edges around filling. Cut into squares using a sharp knife or pastry cutter. Allow ravioli to dry 20-30 minutes; or, freeze for later cooking (NOTE: freeze ravioli flat, in a single layer, on parchment covered baking pan, then remove from pan and stack in airtight freezer container for up to 2 months). Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Bring 6-8 quarts of water to a full boil, gently drop ravioli into boiling water, cook 3-5 minutes or until ravioli floats to the top and are tender. If cooking from frozen state, add additional 30-60 seconds on to cooking time. Drain. Serve plain, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzled with olive oil, covered with a pink sauce (or tomato cream sauce - see quick recipe below), or with an Alfredo sauce.
QUICK PINK SAUCE
Hard? Making ravioli from scratch is not hard, but it does take a little time. Nice thing about this recipe is you can make it in steps – that way it seems like much less time and you can wiggle the time in with little folks in your home who have short attention spans. Start with the dough. My mother taught me to make pasta dough at an early age – she called it "egg noodles" - and ravioli dough is nothing more than a simple egg noodle. To prepare, you create a hollow with the flour and add remaining dough ingredients to the middle. Whisk with a fork, gradually mixing in more and more of the flour from the sides. Then knead...the should not be sticky and should still be soft enough to knead.
Kids love to help with this stage. Divide the dough into 4 pieces (keep 3 wrapped while you work with 1). Flatten dough into a disk and place through a pasta machine 3-4 times at the widest setting. Fold in thirds and roll through again. Do this twice. Now lower the setting by 1 and continue to roll, holding the dough by the flat of your hand to keep it from stretching and pulling. Lay pasta sheet on lightly floured surface
Mix together ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese with two eggs and a little seasoning. Using a small scoop (I love scoops) drop a teaspoon of filling on the pasta sheet, 1-inch apart. Wet your finger and brush water around the filling dollops. Now take the opposite half of the dough and fold it over the filling. Press gently to seal edges of pasta between the dollops of fillings. Now using a sharp knife of pastry cutter, cut the squares apart. At this point the ravioli may be frozen for later – or you can cook them now.
Like all pasta, bring a large pan of water to a boil, gently drop the ravioli into the boiling water. (pan of boiling water ready to drop ravioli in) Because its fresh it only take a few minutes to cook. Remove from the water, drain and serve up – I like it plain, but its great with a pink sauce, alfredo sauce, sprinkled with parmesan cheese…. (bowl of cooked pasta, spoon pink sauce over top)
You better believe it! I have people asking me for the secret to this homemade recipe. Here’s the secret - Heat 1 can of pasta sauce with 1 can diced tomatoes. Remove from heat and stir in cream! Serve hot over the ravioli.