DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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18 April 2008

Homemade pasta tutorial - ravioli

There is a secret gauge by which cooks measure other cooks - that gauge is how well dough is made. If you can make good bread, pasta, noodles, muffins, scones, tortillas or biscuits, you usually make other things well too. The secret to making a good dough is to use a good recipe and to feel the dough with your fingers. Most doughs require fingers in the mix but if you've only made dough in a bread machine in the past, I encourage you to feel the dough as you go. After a while you'll get to know the exact texture and whether the dough needs more water or more flour. If you go by eye alone, you won't get know "the feel" and you won't get a consistently good result. Please feel the dough. Become involved with the food you eat, feel it, know where it comes from, and make it exactly how you like it.

PASTA TUTORIAL

Wash your hands thoroughly.

PASTA RECIPE for 4 - 6 people

500 grams (1lb) plain (all purpose) flour

4 medium eggs - taken from the fridge two hours before use

salt

  • Make sure your working surface is clean and dry.
  • Tip the flour and salt onto your bench. This is where you'll mix your pasta. You could also use a bowl for mixing, and if you're a little bit uncoordinated, that would be better for you. Eggs might escape.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour, making sure the walls of the well are high enough to contain the eggs. Break the eggs into the well.

  • Using your index finger, break the egg yolks, then swirl your finger around the eggs, slowly incorporating the flour into the eggs. Keep mixing the eggs and the flour together, making sure none of the eggs escape out of the well.
  • Mix until you have a firm ball of dough. The dough should be not too sticky and not too dry. If the dough is too dry, add half an egg shell of water to the mix. If it's too sticky, add more flour.

  • Place the dough on a clean plate and cover it with a slightly moist clean tea towel and leave for 30 minutes.
  • While you're waiting for the dough to settle, make your filling or sauce.
  • I made ravioli yesterday - with a spinach and ricotta filling.

RAVIOLI FILLING RECIPE

1 kg spinach or silverbeet (chard)

1 onion, finely chopped

garlic

olive oil

3 eggs

250g ricotta cheese

fresh oregano and thyme

salt and pepper

breadcrumbs or polenta on standby, just in case

  • Gently fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  • Chop the spinach and cook it in with the onion for a few minutes.
  • Put all ingredients, except the breadcrumbs/polenta, into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Cool the filling.

  • Feel the filling. If it's too wet and sticky, add a small amount of breadcrumbs or polenta. I added about ¼ cup of polenta so I had a firm mix. When I put it on top of the pasta, it stood up without flopping or running.

  • Set up your pasta machine. Now go back to your pasta and sprinkle the dough ball with a little flour. Cut the ball in two, flatten it out and run it through the pasta machine on its widest setting about ten times. If the kids are around, they can help you by turning the handle while you feed the dough into the machine.
  • I used only half the dough I made, and froze the rest for use later.
  • Putting it through the machine ten times will work the dough and make it smooth. You can see in the photo below that the dough is kind of lumpy. This is the second run through the machine.
  • If you don't have a pasta machine, knead the dough for a few minutes to get that smoothness, then cut the dough in two and start rolling it out with your rolling pin. You need to keep rolling until you have a very thin dough.

  • You'll end up with a very long thin piece of dough. Cut it in two in equal portions.

  • Take dessertspoon portions of the filling and place them along the pasta dough, giving yourself enough space in between to cut the dough with an edge between each ravioli.


  • Put the other piece of pasta dough over the top of the filling.

  • Now get some sort of cutter - a cookie cutter, or scone cutter and cut out the ravioli.


  • Lightly sprinkle some flower onto a clean plate and place the ravioli on top. They will stick to the plate if there is no flour on it. Don't pile them on top of each other. At this stage they're fragile and have to be handled with care. You might need two plates. If you intend making up all the dough, sprinkle flour onto your bench and place them on the bench until they're cooked or frozen.
  • To cook the ravioli, boil water in a large saucepan and place the ravioli in. Continue a gentle boil. They will come to the surface after a couple of minutes, then cook for another five minutes.
  • Pour into a strainer to drain off all the water.
  • Serve with a little butter and a good sprinkle of fresh, finely grated parmesan.

If you make up all the pasta into raviolis, it will keep in the fridge for one day if you don't cook them all straight away. The ravioli may also be frozen: place the raviolis onto a lightly floured board or cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. When they're all frozen, take them off the board/sheet and store in a sealed plastic bag or container.

The pasta recipe above is enough for the amounts given for the ravioli filling. Just to clarify, you cut the dough ball in two - I used half and have the other half in the freezer to be used later this week. When you work the dough, you halve it again, but this time the two halves are used - one as the base of the ravioli and one for the top. I hope that makes sense.

You could also use this pasta recipe to make fettucini.

If you want to be more frugal with this recipe, use two eggs and enough water to form a firm dough. You could also make this pasta with no eggs, using only tap water or mineral water.

Pasta is a good wholesome meal that can be modified many ways. If you're learning to cook, pasta would be a great early addition to your cooking skills. If you've only ever eaten dry pasta, try this recipe, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

29 comments:

  1. I received my grandmother's pasta maker after her death several years ago. I have used it for oodles of noodles but have never made ravioli with it. I never even though of it! duh!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe -- I can't wait to try it out!

    Kristina

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  2. wow..these not only look yummy but easy to do...If I can figure out a dough recipe I can make with some other flour other then wheat( my little boy has severe allergies)I will make these...I love the fact that you can also freeze them.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Nadine

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  3. I'm saving this until I'm feeling brave! I'm quite competent with bread etc now, so I should give pasta a shot. I'm always just scared that I'll have wasted so many eggs if it doesn't work out! I should search for a smaller quantity recipe.

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  4. Rhonda,
    You make everything you cook look so scrumptious!

    Do you think I could make this non-dairy (eggs are okay).

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  5. Now I'm really really hungry!!

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  6. Hi Rhonda Jean :) Thanks so much for the pasta lesson! This looks like fun. Love, Q

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  7. Get that machine out, kristina. It's a good recipe that works with lots of different fillings.

    good luck Nadine. I hope you find a recipe suitable for your little boy.

    kez, cut down the number of eggs in the pasta and replace them with water. When you perfect the recipe, you might want to make the full egg recipe. good luck love.

    Lyn, sure, don't add the ricotta if should work fine.

    Hi sharon and quinne, i Hope you try it. : - )

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  8. Thanks these look great, I will have to dig out my pasta maker.

    Nadine not sure what your little boy is allergic too, but I am intolerant to wheat and I think I will give it a go using some gluten free flour.

    Libby

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  9. I recently bought a pasta machine from Lidl on impulse. I absolutely love it. I never realised that dried pasta wasn't half as nice as fresh.
    I cheat and make my dough up in the processor. I put all the flour in and gradually add the eggs and it works EVERY time. I have two small children and life is hectic, so I just would'nt have time to make it by hand.
    So far I have made lasagne sheets and spaghetti, but never tried Ravioli, I am sure the children would love it.
    Thanks for the excellent tutorial, I will try that filling, it sounds gorgeous.
    All in all pasta making is shockingly easy so I would urge anyone who has the time to give it a try.
    Steph xxxxx

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  10. Thanks for encouraging the ladies, steph. I like the sound of the processor if you're busy with work or children. Excellent!

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  11. Looks fantastic! slightly jealous now.... :/ :D

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  12. I think I'm having pasta for tea tonight :-)

    Thanks again Rhonda, you're such an inspiration.

    FiFi

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  13. Thanks for the tutorial Rhonda. I didn't know that about dough being the measuring stick of a good cook ~ I just do it!

    Dh gave me a pasta maker a few years back and by far, we enjoy fresh pasta more than any other. I made lasagna sheets for a vegetarian lasagna a couple of weeks ago and boy was that a good lasagna! I'll have to have a go at ravioli next.

    My pasta recipe is 2 cups flour to 3 eggs. That does the five of us very nicely...in case anyone wanted to par the recipe down just a little bit in quantity.

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  14. thanks for sharing your recipe, tracy. I'm always happy to find tried and true recipes. :- )

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  15. Great tutorial! I love your heart of knowledge shared. You are a treasure.

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  16. Rhonda Jean~

    What kind of pasta maker do you own? I'm researching which brand to buy.

    Thank you!
    ~Anissa

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  17. Hi Anissa. My pasta machine is "Atlas", made in Italy. :- )

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  18. What a great tutorial! I have an atlas machine just like yours that I have had for over 30 years. They are just wonderful. Well worth the initial expense. I also purchased the spaghetti attachment a few years back and use it quite a bit. One thing I wanted to add on the recipe. I always add just a little bit--about a teaspoon of oil when I make 3 egg noodles. It seems to make the dough a little easier to work.

    Just an idea.

    Thank you for a fantastic blog. One I read everyday.

    Buckstop319 (Joyce)

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  19. thanks Joyce, much appreicated. I'll try that.

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  20. Homemade ravioli?! Wow! I think I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for graciously sharing your recipe.

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  21. HOLA, MUCHAS GRACIAS!!!!!!
    LA RECETA ES FABULOSA, LAS PASTAS SON LA COMIDA FAVORITA DE TODA MI FAMILIA.
    QUE DIOS TE BENDIGA Y TENGAS UN EXCELENTE DIA.

    ODETTE

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  22. I've made pasta once before with a similar or perhaps even identical recipe - fettucine and lasagne sheets and I even chopped up the leftovers in hundreds of fine pieces for soup.

    But I've never made ravioli! My partner looooves ravioli but it's getting really exxy so I am definitely going to start making it. Much healthier too. Plus we love spinach and ricotta.

    I think I will also try using that spinach and ricotta recipe for pastries. :)

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  23. The brownies were a hit in our house. I had to take a plate to Mother's night so chose to make those.

    I tried the pasta tonight and it turned out really nice as well. I made a vegetarian lasagna with pumpkin, spinach and ricotta.

    It was about time my pasta maker got some use.

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  24. These look like little Russian pelmini....Yummo!

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  25. For those who have a flour mill, red lentil flour makes wonderful pasta and is gluten free for those with allergies.

    Annie

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  26. I love what you say about dough. I can't imagine doing dough any other way than with my fingers, at least for the finishing "touch" - kneading. Besides having to feel it, it's also fun to eat the dough off my fingers afterwards. XD

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  27. I'm making this tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

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  28. Hi
    My wife is from Queensland, I'm a kiwi and we have lived in Japan now for 24 years. I am a pickle lover and stumbled across your blog and made your bread and butter pickle recipe which was delicious. I am the cook in the family and love it so have checked out your other recipes and I am also into gardening and may look a little closer into aquaponics after seeing your experience.
    Blessings
    Bruce

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  29. My pasta machine also belonged to my Grandmother. She's been sick for the last 5 years and my mum decided to give it to me. I brought it to Ireland and my husband is seriously happy about it :D
    I'll be making ravioli this week and hopefully I can make enough for freezing as well.
    I will be making the dough without the eggs, as my son is allergic to them, and the filling will be lighter than yours, just ricotta and spinach, just like we do in Italy.
    Thanks for giving me this wonderful hint!

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