Wednesday, September 5, 2012

38 Things: Make Ravioli From Scratch

 Every time I look at my list of 38 Things I Want to do Before I Turn 39, I am most smitten with the cooking and food items.  Maybe I need my own list of food related desires separate from my artsy and home ones?   Last year's list had Make Pasta From Scratch; this year I upped the ante and decided to make ravioli from scratch. 

Ravioli is intimidating.  You have to prepare the filling.  Then you make the pasta.  Then you have to make the raviolis themselves.  Then you have to cook them and figure out some sort of sauce.  It took about 3 hours from start to finish to make dinner. But that included green beans gratin and an arugula salad too.

I actually enjoy all of these monotonous steps.  Prepping: cleaning, chopping, and organizing is one of my favorite parts about cooking.

I made my filling out of shitake and crimini mushrooms plus shallots, garlic, sage, parsley, and rosemary and sauteed it in a blend of olive oil and butter.   Once it cooled I pureed everything in the food processor and set it aside. 

Next up was the pasta itself.  I had 4 different resources out: Ethan Stowell's New Italian Kitchen,  Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and the manual that came with the pasta machine.  I tried both Tom and Mark's egg dough and in the end, Mark's won hands down.  It had 2 whole eggs plus 3 yolks and had a lovely golden color.  Bonus it was easy to work with.  But Tom and Ethan both had nice instructions and photos for making raviolis. The pasta machine manual was extremely helpful in rolling directions.  It's very easy to make the dough: blend all the ingredients in the food processor until it forms a dough, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Then scrape out onto your floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes until dough stiffens.  Cover and let rest 30 minutes.  Then proceed with making your noodles or what have you. 

We found that it was best to work in an assembly line.  Trevor managed rolled out the dough and then I made the raviolis.  Each time you put it through the rollers you have to fold it over and roll it again to really blend the dough.  Then you slowly turn down the thickness of the rollers as you go.  We needed it pretty thin for ravioli.  

The machine cranks out dough about 5 inches wide which is perfect for folding over into ravioli.

I set out little scoops of the mushroom filling onto the dough.  Then with a pastry brush I used water to wet the dough, folded it over and pressed out the air bubbles.  The recipes were very strict about pressing out all the air bubbles but I know I didn't do the best job of it and the ravioli came out great anyways.  

Finally, I used a fluted cutter to cut out the ravioli and then I placed them on parchment paper with a light dusting of flour.  
I lightly boiled them in small batches for about 3 minutes.  When they float to the surface, you know they are done.  I tossed them with an olive oil and garlic sauce and then we dug in!

I think everyone should try making pasta from scratch at least once.  It tastes far, far superior to anything that comes in a box, including the "fresh" pastas you find in the refrigerated section.  And if you are just making linguine, it takes about 1/3rd the time of making ravioli!


  1. There is a very zen component to those long sweeps of cooking, you can just get lost in process in much the same way some of the best art and craft projects.

  2. I feel much more zen when cooking than when making art most times! Maybe because I am not so critical of myself when I am cooking?