It’s been a painfully long time since my last post. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. My theory? I’ve been cooking too much. So much cooking that last week, I was making brownies for a friend’s birthday celebration–the Moosewood recipe (with 5 eggs and 2 sticks of butter). It wasn’t until after the brownies didn’t bake up right that I realized that I forgot the flour.
But no rest for the weary. Next weekend we are having a holiday bash and I am feeding the masses. Still working on the menu. One thing is certain–we won’t be eating homemade ravioli.
My lesson in ravioli making was filled with amazing stories from my friend and coworker Bonnie Pease. Bonnie’s family is Italian and she grew up in Barre, VT. Her father was the Italian community’s baker and she remembers fondly, the loaves of fresh bread that accompanied every meal.
Bonnie’s recipe for ravioli comes from her mother, who she only made ravioli for once (becuase that was her mom’s job)–to which her mother commented “they’re alright.” But years of practice and modern technology have made what used to be a multi day process, a quick yet artful afternoon for Bonnie.
The recipe isn’t exact–it’s about what feels, looks and smells right. Your first batch might turn out “alright” but with some practice, you’ll be a pro.
Heat 1/2 cup butter and olive oil, brown 1 chopped onion. Add 1 pound pork (can do half and half pork/veal) and brown. Add 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste and 2 cups water. Simmer uncovered while you make your dough. After simmering, add almost 2 cups of Bell’s stuffing, one egg (beat before adding) and 1 pound spinach. Taste and season to your liking.
Combine 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/3 cup water. Mix with dough hook until combined. Slowly add 1 more cup flour. If sticky, add a bit more flour. Knead by hand for 2 minutes. Let rest in the refrigerator in an oil lined bowl, covered with a wet towel, for 30 minutes. We made this recipe twice and had just enough dough to use up all the filling.
Putting it all together
Here’s where modern technology comes in. Bonnie has a pasta maker that attaches to her stand mixer. without it, she would have to roll the dough to the perfect thickness–which is why, in the past, it took days to make 150 ravioli.
she also has a little device that holds the dough while you fill it with the perfect amount of filling.
Once you have the filling in place, put another piece of dough other the filling and cut the ravioli.
Once the ravioli is cut, we sealed each one by pressing the fingers of a fork into the dough, all around the filling. Place ravioli on towels to dry before using or freezing. If you are going to freeze, layer ravioli with parchment paper. don’t stack ravioli on top of each other or they will stick together and freeze that way.
When cooking fresh ravioli, be gentle. they are fragile and you don’t want them to break during cooking or serving. they only take a few minutes to cook. you will see a change in the dough color and texture when they are ready.
serve with red sauce and enjoy.