Tuesday, February 16, 2010

you CAN make ravioli from scratch!

way back when, when even this blog was knee high to a grasshopper, I made pasta from scratch for the first time. And after spending hours with a rolling pin, it wasn't half bad.

a few months ago, I made some fantabulous Stuffed Mushrooms and had a metric ton (Ok, maybe 1 cup and a half) of filling left over.

pasta + yummy mixture = ravioli!

Follow the link above for regular traditional pasta, or here is a recipe that I found that claims to make "strong" pasta, for "wet fillings". I'd have to have both kinds of pasta next to each other to tell the difference, but I will say this made some super tasty ravioli.

Makes about 60 ravioli, takes about 1 1/2 cups filling.

3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup white wine
about a 1/4 cup water

mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. (Traditionally, you would do this on a "floured surface", but mixing it in a big bowl makes clean up so much easier!) make a well in the center, and pour in the eggs and oil. mix slowly at first, slowly incorporating more and more flour into the eggy mixture in the center. then add the wine, and continue to mix. the dough will probably be dry and crumbly, so add a little bit of water. keep blending, and adding water a little bit at a time until you've got a soft dough that isn't wet. When it's just at the point where it will hold together, you're done. Knead for 10 minutes, like you would bread dough. It will get smooth and soft. cut into 4 parts, and roll each part into a ball. Let rest covered, for about 15 minutes.

These are directions for rolling by hand, because that's how I've done it in the past. I offered to trade home made ravioli to a friend if she lets me borrow her pasta machine!

lightly flour your kitchen table. One dough ball at a time (keep the others covered), gently roll out the dough. it will be very elastic, and the dough is not going to want to stay where you put it. I found it was easiest to get it into a long strip, and pull as I was rolling. When it is thin enough that you can see your hand though it, it's ready.

I did a vegetarian filling, basically the leftover mushroom filling mixed with some ricotta cheese. Get creative! if it's chopped up into teeny weeny peices, tastes good hot, and mixed with some cheese, it will be good! the drier your filling, the better. Wetter fillings will want to squooge out.

I did some experimenting with ravioli techniques:

the traditional method: cut dough into long strips about 4" wide. put about 1 tsp of filling every 2 inches on one side. brush around the filling w/cold water, and fold the other side over. Push down with your fingers around the filling, then cut into raviolis. I used a pizza cutter.

the Tortellini method: cut pasta into squares. put some filling in the center, and brush the edges with cold water. fold over diagonally, so you have a triangle, and seal the edges. Now bring the two 45 degree corners together and pinch with water. These ended up looking like Pope hats.

the post-modern ineffient method of making the prettiest raviolis I ended up with: cut pasta into rectangles about 2" x 5". holding the peice in your palm, brush the edges with water. put some filling onto one side, then fold over, pinching the edges shut. It took freaking forever to make these, but they looked way prettier than anything else I'd tried.

after eating about a dozen raviolis, I now have 3 freezer bags full of ravioli and Tortellini in the freezer. Nice!

Snowed in? Need something to do for 3-4 hours? Ravioli is it. All it takes is a few pantry ingredients, a little bit of imagination, and some patience.

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