BY: Sam Parks (January 2012)
|The finished product|
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|
|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|
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.
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|
|Dredging the ravioli|
|Ravioli waiting to be cooked|
Drain well, and serve topped with olive oil, chopped basil, and shaved Parmesan cheese.