I made ravioli last night and damn, they were good. The best thing is that ravioli take no particular expertise; just an hour and a pasta roller. Maybe a couple of trial runs. Anyway, here’s how I made them.
(for reference there are 450 grams in a pound)
100 grams whole wheat flour
300 grams semolina flour (plus some for dusting)
4 eggs (from Greystone Farms and yes, the eggs make a huge difference here)
Stir flour to combine and form a well at the center. Crack the eggs into the well, whip slightly and gradually incorporate the flour. Eventually your fork or spoon gets bogged down and that’s when it’s time to play with your food. Pull your nascent dough together and knead – pushing down, rolling up, pushing down again – for about ten minutes. I had the four year-old help with his own ball of dough, so you know you don’t have to be Mario Batali here.
Wrap in Saran wrap and set aside while you break out your pasta roller. I received mine as a birthday present last year and it’s really gotten some use. They run about $50.
Cut off a quarter of the dough, slightly flatten it with your hands and begin feeding it through the roller, starting with the widest (thickest) setting. I folded it over and fed it through on this setting ten times, more than usual, and this might have helped stretch the gluten that gives great pasta it’s distinctive “bite.”
Here is an excellent video of the process.
Begin to feed it through – once only per setting now – progressively more narrow settings. I stopped at “8,” since the pasta was already translucent.
Repeat with remaining 3/4 of dough or wrap the remainder in plastic for another day. Stopping here will yield two generous servings of ravioli.
Move the ravioli dough onto a floured service and begin spacing spoonfuls of filling (see below) about every two inches or so. Fold the dough over the filling and begin pressing between each ravioli with your fingers, taking care to gently force out as much air as possible. Press all around the individual ravioli to ensure a good seal (I did not brush with egg and found this unnecessary). Seriously, the video is helpful.
Now the fun part: take a half-cup measuring cup and – like a cookie cutter – cut out the ravioli. Remove to floured cookie sheet while you finish the rest of your ravioli.
You’ll end up with some extra dough. You can either combine it all at the end (with a teaspoon or two of water) and re-knead for a minute for more ravioli. Or, you can just slice it into random chunks and use as you would any pasta, albeit a somewhat unseemly one. It’ll still taste great.
Add the ravioli, ten or so at a time to the pot of boiling water and boil for exactly two minutes. Remove directly to a warm pan with olive oil and pine nuts (or whatever), sprinkle a little Italian parsley and bask in the wonderfulness of your creation (and add the rest of the ravioli to the boiling water…you’ll want seconds).
The difference between these ravioli and the others I’ve made was tremendous. Al dente almost to perfection, I found myself setting the filling aside so I could concentrate on the pasta alone. That’s a good sign. I chalk it up to the semolina flour, which I haven’t used before, and the additional time spent rolling the dough over and over itself through the pasta machine’s widest setting. It paid off.
For the filling I just sauteed some oyster mushrooms (beautiful at The Root Cellar) and shallots in olive oil and stirred them into a bowl with some ricotta and goat cheese I had laying around the fridge. You can use whatever you have on hand. Leftover squash, chestnuts, salami, whatever.