Last summer my husband and I spent a week and a half exploring Italy, from the winding streets of Rome, to the olive groves and vineyards of Tuscany to stunning castle walls of Lispida ( more blog posts to come on our travels, I promise!)
On our very first night in Rome, we wound through the narrow streets to hunt down what was claimed to be the best pasta place in all of Rome. We eventually arrived at this beautiful cobblestone courtyard, with incredible lush vines cascading from the roofs, the clicking of cutlery and scents of many delicious things cooking. We sat outside the tiny restaurant in view of the swaying vines, prepared to eat everything off the menu. I ordered a bacon and tomato sauced rigatoni and my husband ordered spinach ravioli with classic tomato sauce. The meal was exquisite. It was so simple, yet sheer perfection.
Since Italy my passion for pasta has grown exponentially. I love to find a noodle with the perfect chew, rich egg flavor and ability to hold sauce and butter in a glossy rich coating. It’s important and changes the entire pasta eating experience. With ravioli, the focus is on the creamy consistency of the center.
As a gardener, I see ravioli as the ultimate form of self expression and as an opportunity to use every bit of what’s in my garden. The noodle itself can be colored to make it visually stunning - I love the bright green of lacinato kale, and the deep rich pink of beets. The filling can incorporate in-season ingredients and brighten up the classic ricotta with fresh and surprising flavors - my favorite from this summer was caramelized patty pan squash with sweet corn and ricotta.
This recipe will walk you through the basic steps of creating a classic ravioli. I am so excited to share more filling options, but for starters I have included a classic ricotta filling. Special thanks to my father-in-law, who helped me test and create this recipe - had so much fun creating this with you!
yield: 48 raviolis
Double batch of homemade pasta dough
300g semolina flour
100g all purpose flour
1 T. Olive oil
2T. Water or vegetable purée
4 c. Whole milk ricotta
1/4 c. Parmesan
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 Egg, beaten
1. To make the double batch of pasta dough, use the measurements above and complete steps 1-7 of the homemade pasta dough post before returning to this recipe.
2. While the pasta rests, whisk the parmesan and nutmeg into the ricotta. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Whisk in the egg. Set aside.
3. Cut your dough into 4 even pieces. Keep your dough wrapped in plastic wrap or in a tea towel to avoid it drying out.
4. Take the first piece and pinch one end before rolling it through your pasta machine on zero.
5. Once the dough is through, fold it in half and roll it through again. The trick with ravioli is you need it as wide as the machine roller (5 inches) and twice the length of the ravioli mold (26 inches). As you fold your dough to send it through again, keep the width of the roller (5 inches) in mind, trying to create a square that width and length. Repeat the rolling through on zero and folding 4-5 times.
6. Roll your dough out until desired thickness. For ravioli, I have found 6 to be the best thickness on my machine. They are thin enough not to just be a thick mouthful of noodle but sturdy enough to withstand cooking and not break open.
7. Now that your dough is rolled, you should have a very long noodle. Flour the metal part of the mold, then lay the first half of the noodle over the mold, letting the other half rest on the bench.
8. Gently flour the plastic mold, then place the mold on top, pressing gently. Remove mold and see the rounded bowls of each of your raviolis.
9. Scoop an even 1/2 tsp. of ricotta filling into each ravioli. Make sure the filling is in the center, not touching the edges of the ravioli square. Do not over fill, as it will burst (I have totally done this).
10. Fold the other half of the pasta over your ravioli mold. Take a rolling pin and roll it firmly over the top, rolling all directions until the metal around each ravioli edge is clearly visible.
11. Remove the dough around the edge, and add to dough pile. Flip your mold over and pop your ravioli out. Pinch any edges with your fingers if they did not seal.
12. Place ravioli on a parchment lined baking sheet.
13. You can use the extra dough to create more ravioli (you may need to make more filling if you want to do this. When you roll it out, use a 7 thickness instead of a 6.) or roll out the extra dough into noodles to dry and enjoy later.
14. You can cook immediately or freeze for later use (See next step). To cook, bring 4 quarts well salted water to a gentle boil. Drop all ravioli in at once and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon to serving bowls. Enjoy with favorite sauce.
15. You can store your ravioli by placing the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or so until firm, then tossing them into a gallon freezer bag for long term storage. Cook the same as above, adding 1 minute to the cook time.