Ravioli

4 May

Recently, my daughter said she wanted to make pasta with me… I thought we’d be in for a quick batch of home-made spaghetti or linguini, but she was adamant that we should make “the little pillows with the stuff inside them”. So we made ravioli, and took some photos. This is the result.

This recipe serves 4.

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Pasta:

3 cups unbleached white flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
½ cup warm water

 Sift flour and salt together. Place flour mixture on a board or in a large bowl, making a well in the centre of the flour.
Drop eggs into the well, break the yolks and beat eggs slightly

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Combine the eggs and flour together, gradually adding enough warm water to make a stiff dough.
Knead dough well, until smooth; cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes

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Cut dough in half and roll each half of the dough out on a floured board.

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Use a pasta machine or a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin sheet (ideally 1-2mm thick). If using a pasta machine, start on the lowest (widest) setting, feeding the sheet through the machine again, raising the setting (thinner) by 1 each time. The second highest setting (second thinnest) usually gives the right final thickness.

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Lay one sheet out on a floured surface. Place pinches of filling (see below for possible fillings) on the bottom sheet, about 3.5-4cm apart. Each ‘pinch’ of filling will be about 1 to 1.5 teaspoons. The bigger the ‘pinch’, the further apart pinches should be. I usually put 3 pinches across the width of a sheet (see picture), which will also give you a sense of how far apart they should be along the length of the sheet. This will produce the smaller ravioli that I grew up with. Many restaurants, at least in Australia, serve large to massive ravioli, getting only 1 or 2 ravioli to the width of a sheet of pasta.

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Lay another sheet of pasta over the top of the sheet and pinches of filling. Press the top and bottom pasta sheets together, around the pinches and to the edges of the sheets, pressing out most of the air and sealing the edges of the ravioli. You don’t need to be too energetic about this, you don’t have to vacuum seal the ravioli, or form-fit the pasta to the fillings.

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Cut the ravioli using a serrated (zig-zag) edge pastry-cutter. If you don’t have one (though they are cheap and easy to find), you can use a sharp knife. The zig-zag edge, while not absolute necessary, does help the edges of the ravioli to seal better. This will produce the traditional square ravioli. You can also use a pastry stamp with serrated edges to make round ravioli (you’ll get more excess pasta this way, but you can ball that up and roll it out again to make more).

While you can use a ravioli tray, I’ve found that these never produce quite as good a finished raviolo (perhaps they trap too much air inside). On the day we made this, I used a pastry-cutter I’d inherited from my mum and which I remember from almost forty years ago. The wood had deteriorated, and I probably got a bit gung-ho. Now I need a new one:

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Cook these in plenty of boiling lightly salted water for 3-4 minutes. Drain (either in a colander or by removing with a slotted spoon), dress and serve.

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We had a bit of pasta left over after making the ravioli, so I quickly put the cutting attachment on the pasta machine and made a handful of tagliatelle (aka fettucine) and dried them out to cook for lunch later in the week.

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Fillings:

Growing up, our ravioli always had one of two fillings, spinach (actually silverbeet) and ricotta, or meat and ricotta. There are many other traditional variations (pumpkin, three cheeses, mushroom and truffle…), and innumerable contemporary variations.

Here are my versions of the two I grew up with.

1. Spinach and Ricotta

450g ricotta cheese (drained)
150g spinach, stemmed, cooked, drained (squeezed) and chopped
2 eggs
¼ cup freshly grated romano cheese
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.

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2. Meat and Ricotta

125g lean ground beef
125g ground pork
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic (whole)
125g ricotta
1 tablespoon chopped italian flat leaf parsley
2 eggs
2 tablespoons freshly grated romano/parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Brown meats in oil with whole clove of garlic. Let cool and remove garlic.
Mix cooled browned meats with all other ingredients.

Sauce:

To me, an elaborate rich sauce defeats the purpose of the ravioli, which are full of flavour in themselves. I prefer a simple light red sauce (just tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil, or with a small amount of ground meat), or simply olive oil (or butter if you prefer) and herbs, and then grated parmesan/romano on top to taste.

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2 Responses to “Ravioli”

  1. queenmartine May 5, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    superb Rob!

  2. Justin Di Lollo May 5, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    Yum! Sam’s welcome to cook for me any time!

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