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Effervescent storyteller.

Welcome to My Modern Diary, an electronic journal filled with tales of nostalgic cuisine, wistful wanderings & personal recollections by Sarah Orman.

Homemade Ravioli

Homemade Ravioli

Apparently it's National Ravioli Day. I'm not usually one for obscure food holidays, however, when it comes to pasta I'm easily convinced to join in.

As a continuation from my last post {homemade pasta dough} this entry is entirely dedicated to the art of taking your perfectly rolled pasta sheets to create plump little pillows filled with delicious seasonal ingredients, otherwise known as ravioli.

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The beauty of ravioli is its versatility. It can be filled with just about anything and paired with most sauces, from brown butter to marinara.

The tasty little morsels in this blog post were stuffed with fresh ricotta, Parmesan, fontina, a touch of smoked cheddar, and fresh herbs to celebrate the beginning of Spring, however, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to preparing a ravioli filling.

There are really only two basic principals I follow when considering what to fill my dough parcels with. First and foremost, it's important that the stuffing is the perfect consistency, think like a coarse paste. When using any kind of vegetable {peas, spinach, zucchini, squash, etc} it is best to partially cook the vegetable first and then delicately mash with a fork or pulse in short, sharp bursts in a food processor to achieve the right texture. An over-pureed filling is likely to be too moist and will quickly result in squishy, soggy ravioli. Furthermore, I can't imagine why anyone would care for a homemade pasta pillow filled with something that has the texture of baby food. In addition, always chill the filling before working with it. Placing the ravioli stuffing in the fridge for a couple of hours helps to firm-up the ingredients, which makes shaping the pasta dough much easier and a lot less messy.

Secondly, I typically try to use seasonal ingredients throughout the whole process that create a dish reminiscent of the time of year. For example, butternut squash and pumpkin make a rich, nutty filling that's divine served with a drizzle of sage-flavored brown butter and shavings of salty Parmesan cheese in the Fall. For Winter months think chestnuts, caramelized onions, blue cheese and pear. For warmer days filled with glorious sunshine I love pairing delicate cheese and herb fillings with a fresh tomato and basil sauce. Crab is a deliciously decadent Summer filling that works wonderfully with a lemon butter dressing and I'm a huge fan of Spring peas with mint pesto.

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The ravioli photographed contained a combination of cheeses. I added the smoked cheddar to give the filling a slightly richer flavor profile as we're not quite ready for all out bright and fresh just yet. I added finely chopped basil and a little oregano, then served them with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some garlic, balsamic vinegar and thyme oven-roasted tomatoes {again, oven-roasted for depth of flavor as tomato season is still a few months away}.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to filling your pasta dough. Essentially, you can experiment with ravioli stuffing until your heart's content! One of the best things about making your own ravioli is not only how delicious they are but how easy it is to freeze and enjoy them at a later date. So what are you waiting for? Happy National Ravioli Day!


Homemade Ravioli

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 portion of homemade pasta dough
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Semolina flour for dusting
  • Filling of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Roll out the pasta using a Kitchen Aid attachment or hand crank pasta roller until you reach the second to last setting {number 7 on the Kitchen Aid attachment}. The pasta dough should be paper thin and you should be able to see your hand through it. It is important to laminate the pasta dough to make sure it is evenly rectangular and as wide as it can possibly be. See instructions on my homemade pasta blog post.
     
  2. Place the pasta sheet on a work surface coated liberally with semolina flour. This prevents the pasta from sticking.
     
  3. Trim the edges to create a perfect rectangle using a knife or a handheld pasta cutter.
     
  4. Place teaspoon-sized portions of the filling along one half of the pasta, approximately 1 inch apart.
     
  5. Use the beaten egg to lightly brush a square around each teaspoon of filling.
     
  6. Gently fold the dough over the filling so that the long edges of the dough align. Try to avoid pressing the long edges down at this point as you'll need to release air from the ravioli first.
     
  7. Starting from the folded edge, gently press down on the dough using the back of your fingers.
     
  8. Using both hands, gently press the pasta together around the filling, squeezing any trapped air towards the opening.
     
  9. Seal the opening by gently pressing the pasta together.
     
  10. Using a fluted pasta cutter, trim around each teaspoon of filling to create squares, being careful not to cut too close to the stuffing so as to release it.
     
  11. Either cook the ravioli immediately in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes or place on a baking sheet, cover and freeze. Once the ravioli are frozen they can be placed in a ziplock bag and cooked at a later date. They are best cooked straight from frozen, which takes approximately 5-7 minutes.
     
  12. Ravioli are ready when they begin to float to the surface. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and serve with an accompanying sauce.
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Winter reflections

Winter reflections

Homemade pasta dough

Homemade pasta dough