Few dishes are more versatile than ravioli, and even fewer dishes are better than ravioli when it's homemade.
I could go on and on about this stuff, but I think I'll share my recipe with you first.
Step 1: Pasta Dough
My main, go-to, pasta recipe is as follows:
2 1/2cups flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp oil
1/2 cup water
Start by combining the flour and salt and then add the eggs and oil. When it's an even, crumbly consistency add the water a little at a time. Don't feel like you have to use all of the water and feel free to use more if you need to, this recipe is somewhat affected by altitude and humidity so chances are you will use a slightly different amount than me. Knead the dough for a few minutes, between 6 and 8. When you're done, let it rest for about 30 minutes.
From here you can make several kinds of pastas depending on how you roll and cut the dough. For ravioli you want it to be sure it's pliable but not too thin. I'm not sure on an exact thickness, but when you can see the shadow of your hand through the pasta when you lift it up then it's thin enough.
I used to have a pasta maker, but it was an off brand one that didn't last long. If you don't have one you can still make pasta; in fact I recommend you do, so that if you decide you like making pasta (my guess is you probably will) you will know that getting a pasta maker is a good investment. If you want to make pasta even occasionally it is well worth it to have a good pasta maker; I have my eye on the Atlas Marcato pasta maker, it's available at surlatable.com if you want to check it out too.
Step 2: Make the Filling
There are so many different things you can fill ravioli with, but my favorites are cheese and squash. This is the recipe I usually use:
1/2 cup squash puree (I prefer butternut, but whatever is in season is great too)
2 Tbsp grated parmesean
1 Tbsp sautéed mushroom(finely chopped)
salt, oregano, basil, and parsley to taste
To make the squash puree just peel, chop, and boil the squash until it's soft and then drain and smash with a fork or potato masher.
Alternately, especially if I'm making this for my daughter, I like to use baby food since it is already pureed and relatively cheap for how healthy it is- just be sure to get the right flavor because they like to mix fruits in with some and that might taste weird.
Feel free to change the recipe as you like or use another one altogether. There are so many out there it's worth trying a few.
Step 3: Make the Ravioli
OK, so now you have your filling and dough, now it's time to put them together.
As mentioned before, roll the dough thin enough to see shadows through, but not thin enough that it will tear when you try to fill it.
When it comes to actually making the Ravioli, it helps to have a tray or press, but if you don't have one you can still totally make some without any special tools. With the tray that I have you simply place a sheet of dough on the tray, press it down a little so you can see where the separation will be, place a small amount of filling in each depression, and place another sheet of dough on top which you then roll over with a rolling pin until the pieces separate.
For those without special tools, cut the dough into squares or circles (a pizza cutter or butter knife for squares, a small soup can or cup for circles). Place a small amount of filling in the center, it is very easy to over fill so be careful. Fold the dough in half over the filling and pinch shut. It's not as quick but it's just as effective.
Next you need to boil them. If this is your first time making homemade pasta then you might be surprised at how quickly it cooks. Gently drop the Ravioli one at a time into boiling water, when it starts to float it's done(don't over cook it or it will be rubbery). Place cooked ravioli on a plate and cover with sauce. My favorite is Alfredo sauce, but put whatever you like on it.
Step 4: Hints for Better Pasta
-Although vegetable oil will work, olive oil will produce a more silky texture.
-Allowing the egg to warm up to room temperature will make it mix in easier.
-If you mix the dough right on the table instead of in a bowl it will leave a thin coat on the table that allows you to use less flour. Using less flour will preserve the flavor.
I think that's everything, thanks for reading and enjoy!
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