Home made ravioli is a staple of my fathers dinner party repertoire. Every time we celebrate something, ravioli have to be somehow included in the meal (e.g. the ravioli in the soup on Christmas eve). I helped him make (and eat) millions of them and I would say I’m quite experienced in the area (you know, in a home cook kind of way). I think one of the things that made Norb really fall in love with me was my knowledge of making home made pasta. He’s even more passionate about it now than I ever was, so for Christmas, I bought him a pasta maker and soon he had too add the ravioli maker to our arsenal of kitchen appliances. (I’m going to write a whole blog post about buying things for making pasta and taking care of them. There’s some things a novice should know, before they spend money on anything). Anyways, I wanted to write a guide on how to make ravioli at home for anyone who’s suddenly in possession of a pasta machine and a ravioli maker (I saw awesome imperia/titania sets in TK maxx for just 70 pound before Christmas, someone out there must have gotten it as a gift:)).
For the dough, for about 4-6 people (this is a basic pasta dough that you can also use for noodles, tagliatelle, lasagne sheets, … but you’ll need more materials to feed 4):
- 300 g of 00/pasta (or strong white bread) flour
- 2 (medium) eggs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- cold water if needed (every flour acts a bit differently and one never knows how much moisture it will need until one starts working with it)
- pinch of salt
1. If you’re making the dough by machine, just add all of the ingredients to the flour slowly(one by one) until a dough forms and then knead it for about 10 minutes. Got to last step.
2. If you’re doing it
properly by hand, pour the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle (prepare to get your hands really dirty). Beat both eggs in a separate bowl a bit. Add half of the eggs to the flour and start mixing with your hand. When it has been mostly incorporated, add the other egg, then add the oil. Mix well. If the dough isn’t coming together, add water by tablespoons until a ball forms. If the dough is too wet (you can’t knead it), add a bit more flour.
3. Transfer the dough to a well floured surface and knead until you get a firm, but elastic dough, around 10 minutes.
4. Wrap the dough in a damp towel (or cling film, if you want to be all fancy and modern) and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Rolling the dough:
Rolling the dough is an art form in itself and the most fun and most time consuming part of making pasta at home. You can obviously do it without a pasta maker, with your hands and a rolling pin, but that takes even longer.
1. Clear the biggest table you have in your house and dust it with generous amounts of flour. Clamp the pasta maker to one side very firmly.
2. Unwrap the dough and cut a small, egg sized piece of with a sharp knife. Rewrap the rest of the dough (be careful to never let any dough that isn’t in use sit unwrapped. It develops a crust and that kind of ruins it). Flatten the small piece with your palms a bit and cover it with flour. (Very generously. ) Put it through the thickest setting on the machine (fun fact, on a Maracdo that’s a 1, on a Imperia that’s a 6). It will probably come out in an awkward, shrivelled shape. Don’t worry, that’s not unusual. Fold it lengthwise and roll it thorough the thickest setting again. If the flour was absorbed during a roll, just dust the dough some more. There can never be too much flour when you’re rolling pasta- it should never ever ever get stuck in the machine (which can happen if it gets too sticky). Repeat the whole rolling on the thickest setting, folding, rerolling process until you get a nice, smooth sheet of pasta, almost as wide as the machine (that takes about 6 repeats usually)
3. Set the machine on the next thickness setting and carefully roll the dough through it. Then repeat that until you get to the second thinnest thickness (does that make sense? the one before last, whatever that is on your machine). Dust with flour between rolls. Again- we do not want the dough to stick to anything. The sheet will become longer and longer and if it gets too long for handling, you can cut it in half. Just be careful that you’ll get a sheet of pasta long enough for the ravioli maker at the end.
4. Start making ravioli with it immediately. If you’re making noodles, you let the sheets dry out a bit before you cut them, but if you’re making ravioli, the sheets have to be fresh.
Making the ravioli
A lot of people (my father included, that’s how I know), make the mistake of buying a ravioli maker that attaches directly to the machine and is operated with the same little rolling handle. If you already have it, make the best of it. But if you don’t, do not buy it. EVER! My father bought 3 different kinds (for different sized ravioli) and they all had the same problems: you can’t really put as much stuffing in as you’d like, even if you try to squeeze it in each ravioli separately; the stuffing gets stuck to the plastic parts and then the dough gets stuck to that and then everything gets stuck together and you hate everything in the world and never want to make anything by hand again; there is no way of really cleaning this thing (you can not wash pasta makers with running water or god forbid in the dish washer. You should only ever use damp cloths). What you should buy is something that looks like this. It doesn’t necessarily have to be made by of the fancy Italian companies and you can get it for less than 15 pounds. It does take a bit more time to make ravioli with this (well, more then it would take for the other kind if it worked properly), but you have absolute controll of how much you stuff your ravioli and nothing gets tangled into anything.
1. Dip the metal part of the ravioli maker in flour and shake off the excess. Place a sheet of pasta, as long as the maker, over it. Now press in the plastic cup part, to make holes for the stuffing. Do that rather gently, you do not want to tear the pasta sheet, nor do you want the plastic to get stuck to the dough.
2.Fill each new little opening with a tsp of stuffing (or more or less, just be careful it’s not too much). Even it out on top.
3.Place another pasta sheet on top. Try and gently press any air that is between the two pasta sheets out.
4. Now roll over it with the pin until the metal edges show through the dough.
5. Gently press on top of each ravioli to get it out of the mould.
6. Roll another sheet of pasta and repeat the whole process until you run out of either the dough or the stuffing.
*cook in boiling water for approximately 3 minutes