This is my first attempt at handmade ravioli. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the family’s ravioli legacy and rightfully so. I’ve still got a long way to go before I can match my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s ravioli talent.
Every year they made 12 dozen raviolis for Christmas dinner. They had a big board, a multi-purpose board, a sheet of thick plywood that helped make the bed firmer but was also used to make the dining room table larger and served as a hurricane shutter I think for one of the sliding glass doors. At Christmas time they’d get it out, cover it with a cloth and put it on the bed. There the raviolis would be laid out to dry. It was the only surface large enough to hold all that Italian goodness, and the goodness was not only the food but the big family sitting around the enlarged table, welcoming anyone who happened to be around.
They rolled the dough out by hand, cut out rounds with a china coffee cup and made half-rounds. I took an easier route with the pasta roller and squares.
I had no idea how much dough I’d need or how many raviolis I’d end up with. I started with my basic pasta dough recipe, doubled it and it made 3 1/2 dozen. Also, there’s way more ricotta here than I needed. There’s a story there but it’s a story for another day. And the leftovers will be ravioli for another day.
- Semolina Flour, 4 1/2 cups
- White Flour, 1 1/2 cups plus more for sprinkling
- Salt, 2 teaspoons
- Eggs, 4
- Olive Oil, 4 tablespoons
- Water, 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups
- Ricotta Cheese, 2 pounds
- Eggs, 4
- Salt, 1 teaspoon
- Coarse Ground Pepper, 2 teaspoons
- Basil, 1/3 cup snipped
Whisk together the flours and salt in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center.
Whisk the eggs to blend and add the olive oil.
Pour the egg mixture in the well and then gradually stir in water.
Mix it until it holds together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it’s smooth, about ten minutes, sprinkling with more flour to keep it from sticking. Set it aside and let it rest for 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, eggs, salt, pepper and basil and stir until well-blended.
Using a handful of dough at a time, run it through the pasta roller at a fairly thick setting. Fold it over and run it through a couple more times, until it’s nice and smooth. Again, you’ll probably have to sprinkle with more flour to keep it from sticking.
Switch to a thinner setting and run it through again until you get a nice, smooth sheet of dough.Lay the dough out on a floured surface and drop tablespoons of the cheese mixture along one side of the dough, spacing them about an inch apart.
Fold the dough over and cut them into squares between the blobs of cheese. The pizza cutter made this easy but any knife will do.
Using a fork dipped in water, press the edges together to seal each ravioli.
Place them on a floured surface to dry for a couple of hours.
I know, I know…eggs and cheese out at room temperature. It doesn’t bother me but if it bothers you I suppose you could find room in the fridge?
When you’re ready to cook them, gently lift them up with a spatula. This was a family affair, with my sister-in-law Marla helping out by moving them from the counter to a baking sheet before they went into the water.
Treat them gently. Instead of dumping them into a big pot of boiling water, I cooked a few at a time in just an inch or so of water. Place them in the pasta insert or steamer and lower them into the water. Cover and let them steam for 3 to 5 minutes before gently removing them with a spatula.
With only 42 raviolis, a bowl was big enough. Next time I make more we’ll get out the ravioli platter.
We were so busy laughing and telling old family stories that I forgot to get a shot of the completely finished dish. I made a pink sauce with vodka, just like Penne a la Vodka but without the prosciutto. Serve with your favorite sauce and enjoy!