I recently made ravioli and I’m pleased to report that it was a success. Making ravioli is a fairly easy endeavor; it’s really the dough that takes the most time. This was my second time making fresh pasta dough (third time if you count my disastrous first attempt) and the old adage is true here, practice really does make perfect. The first couple of times I made pasta dough, I was constantly checking my recipe instead of paying attention to the ingredients. This time, I was able to anticipate the next step by the look and feel of the dough. Yay for progress!
If you’re wondering what to use to create the classic ravioli shape, I recommend ravioli stamps. My mother-in-law bought me a set of two (one square, one round) for my birthday and they are foolproof. I had debated between a ravioli mold/press, cutter, and stamps and I’m so glad I opted for the stamps. They’re incredibly easy to use and require very little cleanup.
Ravioli fillings can be as imaginative as you’d like. Anna Del Conte’s Gastronomy of Italy mentions ravioli from Liguria stuffed with white fish, ricotta, borage, beets, and parmesan while Alto Adige is partial to a rye flour ravioli with fried sauerkraut (Del Conte 2013: 348). I didn’t want to be overly ambitious for my first run, so I chose a simple filling.
If you want a fun and delicious weekend project, I suggest making your own ravioli. You can thank me later. 🙂
Cheese and Herb Ravioli
Adapted from Food Network’s Cheese and Herb Ravioli Filling
Makes enough for 4-6
fresh pasta dough this time around I used 4 cups of flour and 4 eggs, which yielded enough ravioli for approximately 6 servings
1 egg mixed with water for sealing dough
4 to 6 ounces goat cheese*
3/4 to 1 cup ricotta cheese*
1 cup fresh herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, etc.), chopped
pinch of: nutmeg, salt, pepper
special equipment: ravioli stamps or ravioli mold
Combine all of the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Follow your favorite pasta dough recipe and roll the dough out thin (7 or 8 on a hand-crank pasta machine). Ravioli have two pieces of dough each so you want them to be thin enough to be light but not so flimsy that they can’t hold the filling.
Set out one sheet of pasta dough on a flour-dusted surface and brush the dough lightly with egg wash (egg + teaspoon water). Place 1 to 11/2 teaspoons of filling on the dough, and repeat, spaced about 2 inches apart (distance depends on the size of your stamp). Fill up your sheet with as many ravioli as you can fit then put another sheet of dough on top of the first sheet. Press the dough down lightly between the mounds of filling to seal, then use your fingertips to carefully squeeze out any air pockets surrounding each mound of filling. Take your ravioli stamp and press down around each filling until the stamp has pierced through the dough. Carefully remove the ravioli from the stamp and set aside on a floured surface. Continue this process until you’ve used all of your dough sheets and filling.**
Set finished ravioli on a baking mat or baking sheet dusted with flour. Sprinkle some flour over the ravioli to prevent drying and stick them in the fridge until use. If you’re not cooking the ravioli the same day, arrange them on parchment paper in a bag and freeze. We set aside about 1/3 of our total yield to freeze for later use. Ravioli freeze really well, which is perfect because I didn’t realize we’d have so many!
If cooking right away, bring a pot of water to boil and add ravioli. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the ravioli float to the surface. Drain and top with your favorite sauce. We served our ravioli with an easy mushroom bechamel (recipe forthcoming) and they were fantastic – so light and flavorful. The filling was the perfect mix of creamy, salty chevre, fluffy ricotta, and peppery parsley.
*I used 4 ounces of goat cheese with slightly more than 3/4 cup ricotta and I did not have enough filling for the amount of dough on hand. I whipped up a plain ricotta filling for the remaining 12 or so ravioli.
**You will have leftover dough after cutting out your ravioli. I collected the dough and re-rolled it once but didn’t continue after that at the risk of the dough being too tough from handling and too slick from the egg wash.