October 23, 2012 by Emily
Sometimes, regardless of what my scale and waistline may want, all I want it a big delicious plate of Italian carbs…ocassionally filled with even more carbs! And while I’m willing to disappoint my scale, I’m not willing to sacrifice my budgets bottom line. Sometimes we all want a restaurant style meal in the comfort of our own home…making a an elegant and satisfying plate of ravioli is easier than you may think!
First things first, we need to worry about the dough (this dough recipe makes enough for 24-30 decent sized raviolis) .
You will need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons water, as needed
Mix all of the ingredients in the blow of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment until the dough comes together in a ball on the hook, you may need to add a bit of water to get all the flour incorporated into the dough… but add it slowly, you don’t want the dough too sticky. Once the dough comes together; remove from the bowl, wrap in cling wrap and allow to rest at least an hour (or up to a day). This will give the gluten in the dough time to relax, and give YOU time to make some fillings!
Speaking of fillings my tastes run the gamut, from traditional cheese fillings to a mix of sweet/savory goodness. Here are a few of my favorites:
Traditional Cheese Filling:
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/3 Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
Mix all ingredients, add pepper to taste. For an even more traditional take on cheese filling add a sprinkle of ground nutmeg if you have it on hand! Trust me, it won’t taste like dessert but will add an extra something that makes you go MMmmm!
Savory Sweet Potato Filling:
1 Large Sweet Potato, Mashed
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoons Red Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Chopped Sage
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Mix all ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Almost Meaty Mushroom Filling:
1 Ounce Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms, soaking in 1 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/2 Cup Onion, Diced Fine
1 lb Assorted Mushrooms (portobello, cremini, shitake, button, etc…), stems removed, wiped clean and chopped fine
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped Fine
Freshly Ground Black pepper
Finely chop the dried mushrooms and place in a bowl, cover with one cup of boiling water and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes to reconstitute.
While the dried mushrooms are…becoming un-dried….heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until translucent, then add the chopped fresh mushrooms and salt and cook down until the mushrooms are a deep brown and they have reduced by half. Add the reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking liquid and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in the shopped parsley, season to taste with pepper.
Now on to the making of the raviolis!
I’m a lucky lady, because my boyfriends parents recently gave me a pasta roller which cuts down on a lot of the wrist work…but never fear you can roll the dough by hand, it really isn’t that hard!
Divide the ravioli dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each ball of dough into a thin sheet, thats long and skinny, with a rolling pin. Make sure to have flour on hand to dust the working surface or rolling pin often, because the dough will be sticky. You can trim up the edges to make everything nice a neat, but I tend to leave them as they…it ends up making wonky shaped raviolis but they’re just as tasty as the perfect ones!
Starting about 3/4″ in from the edges of the pasta sheets, place a teaspoon(I eyeball it with a regular spoon) of filling on the side of the dough strip closest to you. Continue down the length of the strip, leaving about 1 inch between mounds.
With a pastry brush dipped in egg wash, carefully wet the surface all around the filling. You’re just moistening the dough, not soaking it, because if the egg wash goes off the sides, it will make the dough stick to the counter and it will be close to impossible to pick up without ripping the dough.
Fold the extra dough over the filling and begin sealing the dough by pressing around the filling, this also helps press out any air surrounding the filling which could explode while cooking.
Cut the dough into individual raviolis and seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Keep going until all your dough is gone. Now you’re ready to cook these bad boys!
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add the ravioli and gently boil 3-6 minutes or until the pasta is tender and they float to the top.
As far as sauces, the fillings are flavorful enough to stand up on their own. More often then not I’ll toss the cooked raviolis in a saute pan with a little olive oil, pine nuts, salt and pepper then call it a meal well made!
For dinner today I tossed the sweet potato ravioli with oil and sage and served it over sauteed kale. The sweetness of the potato complimented the dark bitter greens perfectly! This vegetarian dinner even satisfied my “no meal is complete with out meat” boyfriend!
Oh, I almost forgot! these freeze like a dream! I usually make a double recipe, because I like making a mess out of my kitchen once, but getting many meals… once all the raviolis are formed I place them onto a bakers cooling rack and freeze them for 20 minutes (so they won’t stick to each other), then toss them into labeled zip-top freezer bags to use later!!
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