Like the old adage, “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” Unfortunately, the only time I was in Rome I had the pizza, not the pasta. Well, I am Sicilian, so I thought it best to attempt to hand-make my own pasta. Then I could imagine I was back in Rome. After all, going to my grandmother’s for dinner always meant pasta and garlic bread! Can I just say here, always add paprika to garlic bread, it makes it 100% better. Okay, back to the pasta. Making this pasta brought me back to those days with my grandmother and the stories she would tell about the “old country” before she passed away. I hope trying this recipe will bring you back to fond memories as well!
Ingredients: From Isabelle Boucher Author of Crumb
Basic Pasta Dough:
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 lb ricotta, strained
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
1.Once the dough starts to come together, turn it out onto a clean work surface dusted with a little flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
They say you can make pasta with simple flour, but if you have your hands on semolina flour then you should do fifty- fifty.
If you want to infuse your pasta, this is the time to do it.
Red Pasta:Add 3 tbsp tomato paste.
Orange Pasta:Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup pureed carrot or pumpkin.
Yellow Pasta: Add 1/2 tsp crumbled saffron threads steeped in 1 tsp hot water.
Green Pasta: Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup pureed spinach or broccoli.
Purple Pasta: Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup strained, pureed blackberries or blueberries.
Magenta Pasta: Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup pureed beet.
Black Pasta: Add 4 tsp squid ink.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing together all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
This filling is really tasty, but it is not the only one. Feel free to make the filling unique to yourself and your preferences. You want your filling to be creamy so it does not rip through the pasta. If you want meat in your ravioli, just try to use ground meat.
3. After half an hour, unwrap the dough and cut into thirds. Cover two of the pieces with a damp towel and set aside.
You don’t want too much pasta in the pasta maker at once. This is why you want to cut it. Above is what happened when I tried to just put all the dough through.
4.Using a pasta maker on the lowest (ie. widest) setting, roll out the first piece of dough. Continue rolling, using progressively thinner settings, until the desired thickness is achieved. Alternatively, roll out the dough using a rolling pin on a clean work surface lightly dusted with flour until very thin.
I rolled out the pasta… It did not work the first time around. I just kind of pushed the dough through the machine like everyone says, and it did not work. So I tried to roll it out with a rolling pin, which is what you’re supposed to do if you don’t have a pasta press.
Once I got it thin enough to not have to shove a big ball through a machine, it worked so much better. Once I got the dough thin enough, I cut it in half and began to fill it.
5. Trim the sheet of pasta into two equal-sized rectangles and lay one of these on a clean work surface. Spoon the filling onto the pasta in tablespoon sized dollops, spacing them an inch apart.
I did not make mine into perfectly sized rectangles. That’s fine just for me eating alone, but if you are serving it to someone else, I would advise you to shape the pasta sheets.
6. Brush all of the exposed surfaces of the pasta with egg wash, then top with the second layer of pasta. Using your fingers, gently press out any air bubbles and seal the two layers of pasta together. Cut them out into individual ravioli using a pasta cutter or a sharp knife.
The reason you want to get all the air out is because when you cook the ravioli the air will expand and could rip the pasta.
7. When ready to eat, cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5-8 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.
After I ate this batch, I tried my hand at the other types of pasta the machine would make. After I trying all the types, I think ravioli is the easiest type of pasta, which is a surprise to me. I would have thought that ravioli would be hard, but it’s not.
If you don’t want to eat all the ravioli right away, make sure you par bake them or they will separate.
In the end I think this was a success. It started out a little hard, but got easier as I kept going. As the cook I may be biased, but I can say I ate twelve ravioli in one sitting. Most restaurants serve six ravioli. The best thing about fresh pasta is the satisfaction that you created it. Plus, it takes minutes to cook, and you really can’t go wrong with it. If you decide ravioli aren’t for you, you can make angel hair or fettucini. Plus, you can always dry it out and use it later. I guess the Romans had it right in the first place. No matter the type of pasta you make, you can never go wrong if you make it yourself.