|My earlier free-form ravioli experiment|
Making the pasta for the ravioli was another thing I hadn't done too much of, despite having the pasta rolling attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I did make the past for the earlier ravioli. I was absolutely 100% sure that the recipe I used was in the booklet for my new Breville Sous Chef food processor. I went to the booklet to recreate the pasta. And . . . it wasn't there! I looked through the recipes at least 5 times. I was THAT sure it had been there! Oh well.
|My new Ravioliera|
|Just formed Cheese & Pesto Ravioli|
When I made ravioli in the past, it was free-form, seen in the photo above. I am no Mario Batali to just whip them out easily and readily. When I saw this little "ravioliera", I didn't know how large or small the ravioli would be, and there was nothing in the description (nor on the box once I received it) to say what size ravioli it would turn out. I used it the other day, with great success (after an initial learning curve), and it makes 2-inch ravioli.
Keeping in mind all the negative comments on this little device, I was determined to make it work. I used a pasta recipe from the latest Food and Wine magazine, though I totally forgot to add the water! I tried, belatedly, to work in some water, accomplishing maybe 2 tablespoons worth. The pasta was nicely dry, which usually doesn't happen for me, so I had less problem with things sticking than usual. I rolled the pasta through the pasta roller attachment and though the recipe stated how many times and how thin to roll it - possibly because I forgot the water in the recipe, but there was no way I could form ravioli into the little wells without the pasta tearing. It was just too thin. I went one roller setting less thin, and had no more problems. I did find that it was easier to make one very long piece of dough (ultimately both top and bottom of the ravioli), setting half of it way off to one side covered with a damp towel, while working with the other half set over the ravioli former. I held the dough up while gently pressing the indents into the wells with the thicker end of my marble pestle. One of my round measuring spoons would probably have worked as well. If this is confusing to read, it was not that difficult. Just a matter of some common sense.
|Exquisitely flavorful Cheese & Pesto Ravioli|
One comment I had read stated that it was best (rather than heavily dusting the ravioli wells with flour as the instructions suggest) to instead heavily flour the bottom of the pasta dough before setting into the mold. This worked well for me. With a little bowl of water nearby, I moistened the perimeter of each filled well before flipping the long pasta tail from off to the one side back over the wells. After pressing very well all around the edge to seal each individual ravioli, I ran the little wood dowel over the top to cut them apart. I will say this was not exact. It appears either the raised ridges are not of even height, or the wood dowel is not totally smooth. However, it did most definitely leave a deep enough impression so it was easy to go and run my pastry cutter (with the same zig-zag edge) over the parts that were not separated. All in all, after the first piece of dough through, I had a system going and it went very well.
In the same Food and Wine magazine article that I used the pasta dough recipe from, was the recipe for the ravioli filling. I liked the thought of the cheese part, though the actual recipe was for much larger ravioli that would have an egg yolk dropped into the center of the cheese filling before sealing. With my little ravioli of a bare 2-inch diameter, there was no way to add an egg yolk into them. I used the Feta, Romano and Parmesan, then added some of my own Pesto to flavor it instead of adding other herbs and such.
This was the absolute best ravioli! Even my husband raved about them. Granted, I did nothing special with the sauce part. I fried hamburger, added some onion and green pepper and a larger jar of Ragu and cooked it. But no matter how you look at it, these ravioli were most exceptionally good! If you prefer a simple marinara, Puttanesca or a raw tomato mixture, any of these would be great. I think these were good enough to serve alone with a drizzle of olive oil, but my husband would so not go for that!
Makes 58 - 60 (2-inch) ravioli
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2 - 4 tablespoons water
2 cups "00" or semolina flour (I used semolina)
7 ounces preferably sheep and/or goat milk Feta
7 ounces whole milk ricotta
1.5 ounces Romano cheese, finely grated
3 tablespoons (preferably homemade) basil pesto
a few grinds of black pepper
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
Place the flour in a food processor. Separately, whisk together the eggs, yolks and water. Drizzle into the processor while pulsing, once all added, process until the mixture starts to come together. Turn out onto a surface and knead a few times to form a ball. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Wipe out the food processor bowl and add in the Feta, broken into chunks, along with the grated Romano. Pulse, then process to completely break down to crumbs. Add in the ricotta, pesto, pepper and nutmeg and process until well combined. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To roll the pasta, a pasta roller of some kind is preferable, unless you have great experience at rolling pasta dough thinly. (I don't.) Cut the dough into quarters, working with one quarter at a time and keeping the remainder well covered. Roll the dough out slightly, into a long oval. Run it through the pasta roller on its widest setting at least 4 times. Turn the setting to the next smaller setting and run it through twice more. Turn the roller to the next smaller setting and run the dough through twice. The dough should be quite thin. If not, use the next narrower setting twice and possibly even one more narrower setting if needed. The dough should be thin, but not so easily torn.
You should now have a very long, narrow piece of dough. Drape half over a ravioli former, or if free-forming, cover half the dough with a towel while forming ravioli with the other half. In a mold, press the well-floured dough into the wells. Use a very small cookie scoop to make even sized little mounds of the filling. If free forming, simply keep the filling mounds evenly spaced for ease of cutting. Moisten the edges all around the filling with water. With the mold, flip the long tail of dough over the top, pressing well around each well to seal. If free-form, moisten the dough all around the filling, and then mold the long remaining tail over each mound of filling, pressing tightly all around each mound to seal. With the mold, run the dowel or rolling pin over the top to make the cuts. Turn out and separate any places that stick, using a pastry cutter. If free-form, simply cut between the mounds with a knife, use a biscuit cutter or use a pastry cutter. Whichever works best.
Once formed, make sure the ravioli are well dusted with flour so they do not stick. They will cook in boiling, well-salted water in about 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce.
MAKE AHEAD: The ravioli can be frozen. Make sure the bottoms are well dusted with flour, then set the ravioli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then remove them to a zip-top bag and return to the freezer for up to 3 weeks. They can be cooked straight from the freezer, though the timing might require another minute or two to bring to temperature all the way through.
My passion is teaching people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and passing along my love and joy of food, both simple or exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me also at A Harmony of Flavors on Facebook, and Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter.