Saturday, January 21, 2012

Busy Cooking: Homemade Four Cheese Ravioli

Repeat after me, "I will never buy store bought ravioli again!".

OK, fine, I know that's impossible to say, but after trying this homemade version (pasta and all), I can't imagine a better tasting ravioli (even at a restaurant).

I have been wanting to try making homemade pasta for a long time, but it just seemed like something that was completely impossible to do, or at least too advanced for me.  Guess what?  It couldn't be easier and it  doesn't require that many ingredients.

I have been eyeballing and wishing for the pasta maker attachment for my kitchenaid for some time now.  I finally got some money for Christmas, found it on sale at Macy's, and bit the bullet.  So far, I made spaghetti and now ravioli.  Both times, I pretty much used the same pasta dough recipe, except this time, I used a special flour for pasta.  I was at the grocery store looking for Semolina flour, which is necessary for the pasta, and this italian woman pointed to a bag of flour that said "00".  Evidently it is very popular for pasta making in Italy- I'm not sure you can find it in your local store, I was in a special store like Whole Foods.  Never fear, you can use part all purpose, part semolina if you can't find the "00".

The recipe I used was a combination of what I found in Gourmet cookbook, and on Annie's Eats.  I always do a google search for a new recipe because I like to see someone else who has made it and their honest opinion on the results.  I have never made anything from the Gourmet cookbook, so I was a little leary, but their recipe and the one on Annie's Eats were very similar.  The Gourmet cookbook mentions the "00" is low in protein and gluten so it produces a softer pasta.  They said the closest flour to that in the US is all purpose, but you can add part or all cake flour to produce a lighter fluffier pasta.

Now, I used the pasta roller to thin out the dough, you can do it by hand, you just have to be strong and use your elbow grease, so don't be turned off to trying this if you don't have a pasta roller.

Seriously, this was THE BEST pasta I've ever had.  EVER!

One thing checked off my New Year's Challenge list!

Pasta Dough:
3 cups 00 flour (If you can't find it, use 1 1/2 c semolina flour, 1 1/2 c all purpose or cake flour)
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP water
1 TBSP oil

Four Cheese Filling:
1/2 c shredded mozzerella
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1/2 c shredded fontina cheese
1/2 c shredded fontinella cheese
1 clove garlic, minced through press
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt

1) In bowl of mixer, with dough hook, combine flour and salt.  Make a well in the center, add eggs, mix until lumpy.
2) Add in water and oil.  The dough will be a crumbly mess, turn out onto counter and hand knead.  It will come together, I promise.  I thought about giving up, but after about 4-5 minutes, it came together in a smooth ball.  It will be dense, but smooth, you don't want it to be sticky or too pliable like bread dough, firm like cookie dough.
3) Divide the dough into 4 balls, cover with a damp towel and let sit about 20 minutes.
4) Make the filling.  It was very thick, like cream cheese, I almost added an egg, but resisted- it turned out great, so don't worry.

5) Set your pasta roller to the widest setting.  If you have the kitchen aid, it will be number one.
6) Take one of the dough balls and gently flatten it to about 1/2 inch thick.
7) Turn the kitchen aid on, slowly feed the dough through the rollers.
8) Take the dough back to the counter, Fold it into thirds, like a business document, then in half, press down with roller, and feed it through the rollers again.  Repeat this about 5 times, the dough will get nice and soft.

9) Change the pasta roller setting to 2, run it though once.  Then, change it to 3, run it through again.  Repeat changing to thinner settings until your dough is the thickness you want, I went down to setting 5, at this point, it was slightly translucent and I felt like it would be good to hold filling and not rip. **(If you wanted to make spaghetti, next time through, you would switch to the pasta cutter attachment of your choice).

10) I hung the long dough strip over the backs of one of my chairs while processing the next ball of dough.
11) Someone was too tempted by the long pasta strip and this is what I found.  After that, I did one ball at a time, stuffed them, and cut out the ravioli before moving on to the next one.
12)  Lay the dough out on your counter or mat. I had half the dough on the mat and the other half hanging down the side of the counter. Scoop filling onto the dough.  I used a ravioli press I bought at Sur La Table and moved it along the side of the pasta as I laid the filling, to make sure I was spacing them out enough.  I used small amounts of dough, about the size of a teaspoon.
13) Flip the dough that was hanging off the counter up and over the filled dough.
14) Using the ravioli cutter, cut out the ravioli, making sure that the filling is in the center and that the edges are sealed.
15) Place cut ravioli on a lightly floured board or pan while they are waiting to be cooked.  
16) Boil some water with a little pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oil.  Add in ravioli (I did half batch at a time).  They puffed up, see ravioli to the left in picture below.  I was worried they'd pop, which they didn't.    Cook for 2-3 minutes, top with sauce and cheese, and enjoy!
The water is orange because this was the second batch and I stirred it with the spoon I was using to mix the sauce.
Make them today, you'll be glad you did!

No comments:

Post a Comment