I have a pasta maker sitting in the pantry but I haven’t pulled it out and made any pasta in awhile. Pasta is relatively easy to make, it’s just a combination of flour, eggs and salt with a little olive oil and extra flour as you roll it through the pasta roller. But like pie dough it takes a little practice. Until now I’ve only tried ravioli once and without a ravioli tray I had a hard time of it. So I decided that next time I tackled ravioli I was going to get myself a ravioli tray and roller. I have to say I am so glad that I did, it made the job so much easier. The cheese filling went a lot further than I anticipated and I was able to put up several dozen ravioli in the freezer. Now we can pull out just the amount we want for a quick meal. When frozen they hold together better when placed in boiling water and cook in as little as 6 – 7 minutes. And if you like toasted ravioli just thaw them first and they can be pan fried a couple minutes on each side.
If you are making the cheese filling above you will need to make two batch’s of dough. Some can make the pasta the old fashioned way but I prefer using a food processor for quick and easy work. For 1 batch you’ll need 2 cups of flour, 3 eggs, a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Once you’ve put this batch together, it’s easy to refill the food processor and make another batch.
Flour a work surface. Flour is the biggest asset to keeping the dough pliable and from sticking together. You’ll need to make sure to sprinkle the dough with flour each time before running through the pasta roller.
Brush the dough with olive oil.
There are numerous videos online to show you the settings to roll the dough and how many turns through the roller before it’s ready to cut or fill. I think it’s one of those things you have to do a couple times and learn on your own. From my own experience I run the dough first through the thickest setting a couple times.
And finally once or twice through the low setting. Some instructions go with the thinnest setting, but I have found on my pasta maker that the dough is too thin to hold the ravioli filling and it will push through or it will seep through when set in boiling water. The next to lowest setting works best for me. The final run through the pasta roller should produce a long thin sheet of dough, long enough to cover the ravioli tray twice.
Remove the mold and set a small dollop of filling into the indention. Press the filling down slightly then brush some egg wash around the edges and between each square. I didn’t get a photo of the egg wash but you know what to do.
Now set the mold over top and press down to secure the edges. Use your rolling pin to gently press the dough through the tray to make the ravioli. This will press out all the air bubbles and seal along the edges.
Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and place individual ravioli’s on the sheet. Set the tray in the freezer for 1 hour, then place in ziplock bags, mark with date and filling and freeze until time to use. Place in boiling water for 6 – 7 minutes. Serve with pasta sauce.
Cheese Ravioli From Scratch (adapted from Tyler Florence “Spinach and Three Cheese Ravioli”)
1 (15 ounce container) Ricotta Cheese
16 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 cups Fresh Spinach Leaves, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients. Mix well to incorporate and place in refrigerator to let flavors combine.
Pasta Dough (will need to make a double batch for the amount of cheese filling used)
2 cups All Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs, plus 1 egg for egg wash
1 tablespoon Olive Oil, plus additional for brushing on dough
Cornmeal for dusting
In a food processor combine flour and salt. Pulse a couple times to combine. Add eggs one at a time, pulsing a few times after each addition. Add in the tablespoon of olive oil and pulse. Test the dough by pinching between your fingers, then form into a ball. If too dry add a bit more olive oil. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and knead a little bit of the flour into the dough and mold into a smooth ball. Brush additional olive oil over dough and place in a zip lock bag to rest for about 30 minutes. This will allow the gluten to relax and will be easier to work with the dough. Make a second batch of dough or double recipe for the amount of cheese filling used.
Cut the ball of dough in half. Using your work surface, mold dough into a rectangle and flatten with a rolling pin. Run dough through the pasta maker 2 – 3 times at the highest or thickest setting. Pull the dough with the palm of your hand as it rolls through the pasta machine. Reduce the setting to medium and roll through another 2 times. Lower the setting to next to the thinnest setting and run through twice. Dust the sheets with flour before you run through the roller each time. The dough should now be long enough to cover the ravioli tray twice. Cut the dough in half and place one sheet over the ravioli tray. Place the mold on top to make small indention’s for the filling. Place a small dollop of filling in each mold. Make an egg wash with an egg and one tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash over the edges and between the dough squares. Place the top sheet of dough on top. Turn the mold over and squeeze down over the tray to seal the edges. Press in between each square to press out the air pockets. Use a rolling pin to press and roll the top layer and filling down into the mold. Take a knife and run around the edges of the tray to cut away any excess dough. Turn over to release the ravioli’s. Cut the squares with a pastry cutter or pizza cutter. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal and place ravioli’s single file on the sheet. Place in the freezer for 1 hour then place into marked zip lock bags for the freezer.
To cook ravioli drop frozen ravioli in boiling pot of water for 6 – 7 minutes. Lift ravioli from pot with a slotted spoon and serve with pasta sauce.
Makes 4 -5 dozen ravioli’s depending on size.