So a few years ago I went on a mission to make ravioli. As it turns out, it’s impossible to make ravioli (or any pasta really) without a pasta machine. I used the heaviest rolling pin I had, I rolled the dough out as THIN as I possibly could…but when I cooked it, it was still way too thick. FINALLY a few months ago I bought a pasta machine! This little beauty right here:
Now, this is not a high end pasta press by any means, but for my purposes (and limited experience) it does a great job. I got it at Ross for 20 bucks, and for those of you who just go to those kinds of stores to look at clothes and shoes…march your butt over to the kitchen section, it is full of hidden treasures.
SO what about most of you out there who do not own a pasta machine, and are not going to go buy one? Well, you can either use won ton wrappers, or you can buy frozen pasta sheets (which are usually found at high end grocery stores).
There are a number of recipes for pasta dough out there, but this is the best one I have found. It is easy to work with, and has a very nice elasticity to it.
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
½ cup all purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ cup water
Sift together dry ingredients, make a well in the middle and add the yolks, olive oil, and water. Mix until the dough comes together into a shaggy ball. Dump out the contents of the bowl onto a clean, floured surface, and knead dough until smooth for about 8 to 10 mins. For the initial mixing, you can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or a hand mixer fitted with dough hooks, or your hands. The only difference this really makes is if you use a machine with dough hooks, it will help to start the kneading process, but your results will be the same. Cover and let the dough rest for 1 hour at room temperature, this will allow the glutens to relax.
Goat Cheese Filling:
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped or pressed garlic
1 cup soft goat cheese (8oz), room temperature
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
1/3 of a cup of arugula, or a small handful
Heat olive oil in a small skillet, and sauté olive oil until tender, about 2 mins. Blend goat cheese and the olive oil/ garlic mixture in a food processor until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste a bit, this is the highlight of the dish, so if you feel something is missing (ie. salt, pepper, a bit more arugula) add it.
After the pasta dough has rested, flatten it slightly, and shape into a rectangular. Score the dough into 6 equal portions. Break (or cut) of one cube and start running it through the pasta press. This needs to be done at least 6 times. Lay out the strip of dough on a clean surface and cut it in ½. Lay the two strips next to each other and using a pizza slicer (or knife) slice the strips so that they are of equal length and width (put trimmings aside). Cut them into equal size squares. Lightly beat one egg for an egg wash to help seal up the edges of the pasta. Place a small amount of the filling in the center of the square of dough. Using your finger, spread a little bit of egg wash on each of the 4 sides.
Place the other square of dough on top. Try to make the edges match up, and press out any air bubbles around the filling. Ideally you want the filling to stay as a little ball in the middle. Using the blunt edge of a knife, score the edges to seal the two sheets of pasta together.
Place finished ravioli onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper while you finish the rest. (Please see notes about pasta making at the end.)
Cook ravioli in lightly salted boiling water. They will take about 3-4 mins each. I usually do about 4 at a time and when they float up to the top, you know they are done. Remove with a slotted spoon. Ravioli are delicate, so I would not recommend using a colander to drain. This will yield about 30 ravioli.
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4- 5 thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto
3 Tbs olive oil
Handful of arugula (about 1 cup)
Squeeze of lemon juice (about 1 Tbs)
Tear, or chop the prosciutto into bite size pieces. This does not have to be an exact thing, since the prosciutto will shrivel slightly while cooking.
In a medium skilled sauté the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant, add prosciutto and cook until it just begins to crisp. Pour sauce over ravioli in a large bowl, add the arugula and the lemon juice, cover for about 1 minute to wilt the arugula (and help warm the pasta if it cooled slightly). Toss to coat, and plate your ravioli!
WAIT STOP HOLD ON! Now, this sauce was SO SO good….but the prosciutto was a little overwhelming for the ravioli. So make this sauce, serve it over fettuccine, add some fresh tomatoes, it will be amazing. BUT what I would really recommend for a sauce this ravioli would be as follows:
3 Tbs of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped
Handful of arugula
¼ of dried cranberries, or golden raisins
Squeeze of lemon juice (about 1 Tbs)
Prepare in the same method as above, add the walnuts to the skillet and lightly toast. Add the cranberries when you add the arugula.
A few notes about pasta making:
There are ravioli attachments, and there are ravioli rollers, and ravioli presses, and about a million other little kitchen gadgets you can get to make pasta. If you have one of those, feel free to use it and follow the manufacturer’s directions. This method works well for me and creates a rustic delicious little ravioli!