David calls me the Blonde Italian mainly because of my lasagna, but Sunday I decided it was time to make homemade ravioli.
There are three components that make up my homemade ravioli: Cheese, Sauce, and Pasta. Homemade ravioli is a true labor of love and with a little time in the kitchen, you will have some of the best ravioli you will ever put into your mouth. Nothing beats homemade ravioli!
THE RICOTTA CHEESE:
First, I make the ricotta cheese for the ravioli. I have been making homemade ricotta cheese since I saw Ina Garten do it on her show.
Making ricotta cheese is so easy! All you need is a saucepan, 4-ingredients, some cheesecloth (found in the craft section of department stores or in the kitchen gadget section of most grocery stores), a sieve and about 45 minutes.
Most of the time needed to make ricotta cheese is for cooling and draining. You can learn how to make homemade ricotta cheese HERE. However, it’s perfectly fine to use store-bought ricotta cheese, but trust me when I say this, it won’t be as good!
There are many types of sauce recipes. You may have your own favorite recipe if so feel free to use it. I do not really follow a strict recipe, but I make the sauce from scratch and loosely add ingredients, to taste.
Always remember, browning tomato paste makes a huge difference in the way your sauce will taste. That simple trick will make a quick sauce recipe taste like one that has simmered all day.
I cook the hamburger then remove it from the pan to drain and add it back in after I start the sauce to simmer. Once it is simmering, I work on the pasta.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH PASTA:
Homemade ravioli starts out the same as any pasta, with flour and eggs. Once the pasta comes together, I use the KitchenAid Pasta Roller & Cutter Set to press and cut the dough. I taught myself to make pasta by watching Food Network TV.
Start making the pasta by dumping the flour and eggs into a stand mixer with the dough hook, or use the “Well Technique” (pictured below).
The Well Technique:
Place the flour on a table in a mound and make a well in the center. Crack all 5 eggs into the well, so make the well deep and wide.
Start out by mixing the eggs together with a fork without disturbing the flour. Gradually incorporate the flour into the egg mixture a little at a time. Once you have incorporated all of the flour together with the egg, use your hands to blend the mixture together well. Bring the mixture together with your hands to form a ball.
If the mixture is too wet and sticks to your fingers, rub your hands with flour and sprinkle some on the dough. Discard the little dry bits that do not incorporate. (See the pile on the right in the picture below) Don’t panic, it may seem like a lot, but it isn’t. Keep kneading the dough!
It is pretty cool to feel it come to life in your hands, but make no mistake, kneading pasta dough is no walk in the park. It takes 10 minutes of constant kneading to form a silky ball of pasta dough. If you are not used to kneading dough for long periods of time, it will make your arms start to burn.
Once you have the silky ball formed to cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for a good 20 minutes.
Attach the pasta sheet roller to your stand mixer and set it on 1. Cut off a small section of the dough and cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap. Flatten the small section into a rectangular shape and sprinkle flour on both sides. Turn on the mixer to speed 2. Run the pasta dough through the pasta sheet roller. Keep the setting on 1 fold the dough in half and run it through again. Do this many times. This helps the ribbons in the pasta form.
Once you have a good smooth sheet, dust the sheet with some flour on each side, change the roller setting to 2. Run the flour sheet of dough through the sheet roller. Set the roller attachment on the next thickness level and repeat the process until you have the desired thickness you want for the pasta you are making. For ravioli, it is recommended to go as thin as setting 4 or 5. When you are at the desired thickness, dust the sheet with flour on each side of the long pasta sheet. If it is really long you can cut the sheet in half to make them more manageable.
Filling the Homemade Ravioli:
I do not have the ravioli making attachment, so when making homemade ravioli, I tried two different techniques.
1. Two Sheet Technique: I made two sheets of pasta.
I laid one on the counter and used a piping bag filled with the ricotta cheese I made earlier.
Next, I used water on my fingertips and tracing borders and in a way drawing out where the seals and cuts should be. (Always, use water to seal your pasta. An egg wash will make it tough)
Then, I laid the second sheet of pasta on top and used my fingers to press the two sheets together, making sure to seal all four edges of each individual piece. I then ran a dough cutter across the dough to cut the ravioli out.
2. Fold-Over Technique: I made one sheet of pasta. I used my fingers to break off pieces of the ricotta, making sure each piece was as close to the same size as the other and placed them evenly across one sheet. I laid the cheese a little past halfway of the width of the pasta.
Just like in the Two Sheet Technique, I used water on my fingers and traced out the ravioli by hand. I then folded the pasta sheet in half and sealed the edges by pressing down with my fingers.
I liked the fold-over technique better than using the two sheet method. The fold-over technique took less time and you only have to worry about sealing three sides of the dough, rather than four.
As you can see, making homemade ravioli is very messy, but it is so worth every minute!
Boil the pasta for only needs 3 to 7 minutes, making sure that the pasta does not overcook and bust the seams of the ravioli.
Toss the noodles with the sauce. Allow them to mingle a little bit and then plate. Top with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
I hope this inspires you to make some homemade ravioli at least once; it won’t be your last.