December 22, 2011

Lessons in Making Ravioli

As a follow-up to my previous post about my first time making ravioli, I wanted to share a few things I learned during my second attempt.

Lesson #1 - The type of ravioli filling that I made the other day should be cooked the same day it's made (or frozen inside ravioli).  Not only did it taste terrible when we cooked it the next day, but an off flavor always gets me worried about food poisoning. 

Lesson #2 - Small cookie cutters work well for cutting ravioli shapes out of the scrap dough.  My favorite were the little Christmas trees I made.  However, I filled some too full and the seams didn't seal which led to ravioli exploding in the boiling water.

Lesson #3 - Substituting whole-wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour worked really well. All the photos you see below are of ravioli made with the half whole-wheat flour dough.


Lesson #4 - A pastry mat is great for rolling out the pasta dough, but once it's rolled out it should be transferred to cutting board.  I cut two holes in my pastry mat, while attempting to trim the edges of the square raviolis.

Lesson #5 - The best way to freeze ravioli, is to place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and then place them in the freezer until they're frozen solid.  Then you can transfer them to a freezer-safe container. 

I really liked cutting ravioli with a medium-sized biscuit cutter because it was faster than using the press, and the size is smaller than a body pillow, which a friend on Facebook said about the size of my square ravioli :)

The square ravioli are 3x3 inches, and the round ravioli are 1.5 inches in diameter.  Below is a photo of round ravioli I made using the first batch of dough made with only all-purpose flour.


Spinach & Three Cheese Ravioli

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 minutes


Ingredients (12 servings)
    Dough
    • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 6 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup water
    Filling
    • 15oz container ricotta cheese
    • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
    • 1 large egg
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Sauce
    • 1/3 cup butter
    • 1 clove crushed garlic
    • 1/4 tablespoon dried basil
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
      Instructions

      Dough
      • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the flour, add the eggs and water, then mix. Mixture should form a stiff dough. If you can't get all the flour hydrated into a dough, add more water until you can form a nice firm but sticky dough.
      • On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3 to 4 minutes until it is smooth and stretchy. With a pasta machine, or by hand, roll dough out to desired thinness.
      • Although you can roll out the ravioli sheets immediately, letting the dough rest for 20 minutes or more allows the proteins in the dough to relax and makes rolling much easier. Rest the dough covered under the mixing bowl so it won't dry out too much.
      Filling
      • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
      Sauce
      • In a small saucepan melt butter, add garlic and saute until cooked. Add dried oregano and dried basil and stir until heated through. Serve warm.
      Recipe adapted from: Dough-All Recipes, Filling-Food Network, Sauce-All Recipes
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