Friday, April 27, 2012

Home Made Ravioli

photo by Jen Boyer
For years, I have been thinking about buying a pasta maker, but was intimidated by the complex choice and did not know which would be best for me.  We have always loved ravioli- meat ravioli I mean. ..but they have become hard to find. Fresh or frozen, stores are filled with cheese raviolis and offer mushroom, butternut squash, even lobster ravioli….but no old fashioned meat ravioli!  I was lamenting about this to one of my aqua-aerobic partners, Susan Quigley of Clinton Corners. Today she manages art collections for museums, galleries and private collectors, but in a former life, she was a chef.  “I make my own- it’s easy!” she responded.  I went over to Susan’s and she taught me to make ravioli. We made duck ravioli and since then I have made beef ravioli for which I offer you the recipe.

We made them by hand and they were delicious. I am told, by an expert that most pasta making machines are not good for meat ravioli because the raviolis are too thick to get through the machine, which would explain why they are so hard to find. Susan’s suggestion of rolling our own dough by hand seemed like a good solution. She and I rolled dough and cut and filled the pasta for over an hour and the two of us made enough for four servings. Very happy with the results, a week later I repeated the recipe at home and found that alone making them for 6 servings took me all morning and I was so tired by the time my luncheon guests arrived, that I vowed to buy a pasta maker! But, at least now I know I want the one that will let me easily make thin flat dough and then I can cut and fill the raviolis myself.
In any event- enjoy. They are fabulous! The problem is that my family keeps asking for more!

Making the Pasta  (hours, days or weeks before cooking).
(6 servings)
2 cups pasta flour (Hodgson Mill, Golden Semolina or Extra Fancy Durum Pasta Flour)

2 large eggs, whole
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 tablespoons water

(egg white mixed with water to seal edges)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix on “dough” speed for 30 seconds. Check consistency and add a small amount of flour if pasta is too wet to form a ball, or a small amount of water if pasta is too dry. Process another 30 seconds to incorporate any additions. Turn dough out onto a work surface sprinkled lightly with flour and knead by hand until smooth. Roll into a ball and flatten slightly.  Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in plastic until filling is ready (see fillings below)

When ready to make the raviolis, cut the pasta into quarters and then halves again. Roll one piece until really thin - about 1/16 of an inch. Cut the pasta into rectangles about 2“ x 4" or cut out circles with a cookie cutter or rim of a glass. Roll out a little thinner (if they are not thin enough). Put a good sized teaspoon of filling just off center. Dip your finger in egg white mixture and run it around 1/2 of the edge to moisten. Pull top flap over filling and stretch if needed to make a rectangle or half moon.  Pinch edges together with fingers and seal the open edges by pressing fork tines into them. Turn over and seal again. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Repeat until all of the pasta is used.

When frozen, remove from cookie sheet, and pop into salted boiling water or store frozen in a freezer bag until you want to use them.

Meat Filling

1 lb raw chopped meat or leftover chopped cooked  beef  or a combination there of

1 onion chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil (optional)
2 Tablespoon tomato paste

Salt & Pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan. Sautee the chopped onion until translucent. Add garlic  Add chopped meat and stir. Allow meat to brown. Drain. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, and herbs. Run through a food processor so the meat is finely chopped.

Easy Tomato Sauce

2 cans of Del Monte Italian Style stewed tomatoes

2 cans of Del Monte Original Style stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoon fresh basil
Blend together with a mixer, leaving the tomatoes a bit chunky add salt, pepper and fresh basil.  Let simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes.

Putting it together – Just before serving
Boil a large pot of water. Add salt (a tablespoon!) When water is in a strong boil add all the frozen ravioli at once and boil until done. For mine it took 4 minutes once the water started boiling again- but that will depend upon the exact size of the ravioli- you need to test them. They should be slightly al dente- not overcooked.   Drain the ravioli. Serve with a few ladles of the sauce and a sprig of basil in the center and the extra sauce in a gravy boat on the side.

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