Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recipes: Homemade Ravioli (no. 1)

Ravioli filled with prosciutto, mozzarella, sun dried tomato, and fresh basil
BY: Sam Parks (January 2012)

The finished product

Author's Note:
So this past week's ravioli dinner at the Nook Tavern featured more technical faults than a Chinese coal mine; the stove kept overloading the breaker, I dropped a stack of plates, and there was a minor mishap with the dough (rending fives orders of the ravioli unsellable).  We did manage to finish the meal, but not without an impressive string of Yiddish profanities.

I'm not a perfectionist in the kitchen.  And while I do try to present my food in the most appealing manner possible, I draw a line on using tweezers to individually place micro-green garnishes.  But even with my casual approach to cooking, the problems with the ravioli dinner left me feeling vexed and unsatisfied.

So I plopped in my DVD of "Anchorman" and spent the next afternoon recreating the dish.

This is not your stereotypical incarnation of filled pasta.  There is no tomato sauce.  And the intensely contrasting flavors almost ambush your palate.  It's a great dish for dinner on the patio in the spring and summer, but after a week of January rain it's a refreshing departure from drab and grey.

Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy!


For the dough:
1 lb. bread flour
1 lb. semolina flour
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 whole eggs
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
8 oz. low-moisture, shredded mozzarella cheese
1 oz. finely chopped fresh basil
8 oz. finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (NOT in olive oil or brine)
6 oz. finely chopped prosciutto
1 tsp. dried oregano 
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

For the toppings:
1 oz. finely chopped fresh basil
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil


Pour the semolina flour, bread flour, and salt in a large bowl (I used the bowl on my Kitchenaid  stand mixer fitted with the dough hook).  Make a sizable divot/ well in the flour.  Into the well, pour the olive oil and the eggs.  Mix on low for approximately 5 minutes, until the mass is fairly cohesive.
Though the flours are equal weights, as you can see the bread flour has a greater volume
This is "dough" before it becomes identifiable as such
Dough in the mixer
Dough pre knead
After the dough has become a single cohesive mass (you may need to squish it together a bit), transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 5-10 minutes until it is completely smooth and elastic.

Kneading the dough
This is the dough, post knead; note the smooth surface

Cover the dough-ball with a damp paper towel and allow it to "chill" in the fridge for 30 minutes - 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling by chopping all of the ingredients.

Ravioli filling, pre-chop
Once the dough has chilled, divide it into four even lumps.  Working with the first quarter of the dough (keep the other dough-balls in the fridge under the damp paper towels), mash it into an oval approximately 1/4 of an inch in thickness.  Run the oval through the pasta machine on the widest setting.  Continue running the sheet of dough through the machine, progressively decreasing the width between the rollers (i.e. first run on setting seven, second run on setting six, etc.).  When finished you should have a long sheet of dough, approximately 20 in. x 5 in. x 1/16 in.

Repeat this process for the remaining three dough-balls.  Keep the finished sheets of pasta on a baking sheet, and covered with damp paper towels.

Divide the filling into 20 portions and forcefully shape each portion into a 1 in. ball.  This will require some pretty extreme hand strength, but the firmer each lump of filling the better the final product.  Place the lumps of filling onto one of the pasta sheets.

Filling success!
Dip your forefinger into a small bowl of cold water, and smear a small amount around each of the filling lumps (continue wetting your finger as necessary).

Take a second sheet of pasta and carefully place it over the filling lumps.  Gently and carefully, press the two sheets of pasta together around the filling lumps.  Be very cautious not nick the dough with your fingernails.

Using a pastry crimper or a sharp knife, carefully cutout the ravioli.

Note the pastry crimper in the upper left

Carefully pull the ravioli off of the cutting surface and lightly dredge them in white rice flour (all purpose flour can be used as a substitute).

Dredging the ravioli

Ravioli waiting to be cooked
After the ravioli have been rolled, filled, crimped, and dredged (you may have some extra dough), bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil.  Add 1/2 of the ravioli and cook for no more than 5-6 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining ravioli.

Drain well, and serve topped with olive oil, chopped basil, and shaved Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Very, very attractive, I'm sure they were out of this world too! I love homemade pasta. Congrats on the Liebster Award! Am a faithful follower now on Google Connect! Hope you visit my site sometime, we go all chocolatey later today for the whole month! Lin xx


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