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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ravioli Galore!

Why I am writing this post is beyond me because it was all his idea. Oh well, I guess I took the pictures. This is the second batch of home made raviolli inspired by Laura Schenone's book "The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken". Now I haven't read the book (James is half-way through), but we have made the raviolli twice already, and judging by how delicious they were, I highly recommend the book!

The recipe is very well illustrated and we pretty much followed it to the t. To begin, make a pile of the flour and make a well on the top - you will end up with something looking like a volcanic cone. Pour the egg, salt and olive oil in the crater of the volcano and start stirring in the flour, dredging it from the edges of the caldera. Pour in the tablespoons of water one by one, mixing in more and more flour. When we made the ravioli using only all purpose flour (King Arthur Organic) the 6 tablespoons of water were all we needed and the dough came together beautifully. On the second attempt we used a mix of all purpose and OO flour and we had to put 3-4 extra tablespoons of water and the dough still came out tougher. I am sure the amount of water also depends on the air humidity and a slew of other factors so mix the water in a tablespoon at a time and see how much it takes to gather all the flour together. Pasta dough, just like any dough, takes some time to get a feel for. Once you have the dough together, knead it for 5 minutes. Then place it in a bowl and cover it with a wet paper towel. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, make your filling. This filling was our invention - we put it together with what we had on hand - home-made ricotta, some herbs and nuts. Ricotta, parmiggiano and spinach or kale is tasty too (the egg is there to hold things together). I recommend you fill them with whatever suits your fancy. You will need a bit more than 1.5 C of filling.

Dough Recipe
2 C all purpose flour
(or 1 C all purpose + 1 C OO)
1 egg
1 Tbs olive oil
6 Tbs cool water
~1 tsp salt

Filling Recipe
1 1/2 C ricotta
1 egg
thyme, marjoram
toasted pine nuts

Once the dough is done resting, cut it in half (for easier handling above all), flour a surface (counter or table) and start rolling the first half. Start by flattening the ball, and then rolling it and rotating it by half or quarter turns every few seconds. Keep the dough lightly but continuously flowered. Once the circle (or whatever shape you have going on) is about at big as the one above, we rolled the dough on the pin and proceeded to apply the "Bulgarian Grandmother" technique. Notice we are using a rolling pin much thinner than the one usually used for ravioli - a Bulgarian style pin for making filo dough. We found this technique worked for us, but do check out Laura Schenone's video on the original raviolli rolling technique and on the whole ravioli making process! Keep rolling out until... the dough gets pretty thin.

Spread filling thinly on half the rolled out dough. Fold in half and either pat the the dough or roll it VERY LIGHTLY to get the air out. Yes, James got a ravioli pit (for $10 online) but the shapes can be easily achieved using less technology-intensive methods. The squares can be formed using a yardstick or any other long 1/8 inch thick object. After impressing the squares, cut them up using this thingy. I guess a knife would work too but the thingy (pastry wheel is that it's called) actually help seal them better.

Move the ravioli to a sheet- or cheese cloth-covered tray or table (do not overlap) and let them dry a bit, ~20 minutes. You can make the second batch in the mean time. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and drop the ravioli in the water. They only need to boil for a couple of minutes and when they are done they will swim to the surface. Just fish them out with a slotted spoon and drain. Serving suggestion: toss with browned butter and herbs and sprinkle with parmiggiano and toasted pine nuts. Buon appetito!

1 comment:

James said...

"Bulgarian Grandmother Technique" sounds like some long-forgotten martial arts maneuver for, say, disemboweling one's opponent. With a long stick of course.

Love it! =]