A ravioli recipe
At Italian restaurants, I always order ravioli when I’m feeling greedy. I look at the other suckers who just have pasta with one sauce and laugh. You see, I have effectively ordered two sauces… just one of them is trapped inside the little pasta packets. Oh, but I never let on what I’m doing. It’s my avaricious secret.
So it was quite exciting to learn how to cook ravioli during a Tuscan cooking experience organised by Eating Italy Food Tours.
It wasn’t actually as hard as I was expecting, although it was probably the most difficult dish I helped prepare. Still, it was also the tastiest, so it was certainly worth the effort.
I will include the recipe and ingredient list at the bottom of this post, but let me talk you through it first of all, so it all makes sense.
The first step is to make the dough. We do this by making a mound of flour with a crater in the middle that looks like a volcano.
Then we crack the eggs into the middle and gradually fold in the flour with the eggs until it’s all mixed together into a sticky mound.
Then we cover the dough in a dishcloth and put it in the fridge for an hour to rise.
We can use some of this time to make the filling. It’s actually quite simple. We just mix the ricotta, salt, nutmeg, and parmesan cheese together until it becomes a smooth cream.
We also make a second filling. My cooking teacher for today is Stefano Schieppati and he has a whole range that he likes to play with.
“Well, the stuffing can be made of several different things”, he explains, “from mushrooms to fish to meats to vegetable to cheese only or potatoes”.
The second filling we’re trying today is with peas, butter and mint that is cooked until soft and then blended together.
When the dough is ready we need to flatten it into long and wide rectangular sheets. You can do this by hand with a rolling pin but if you’ve got a pasta maker, it’s even easier.
Just pass the dough, bit by bit, through the pasta maker until you get it nice and thin. You want the rectangle to be about a metre long and 20 centimetres high.
Then we lay this sheet on the table and mark the halfway point. On one half, put scoops of the filling into the middle of imaginary squares with sides of about 6 or 7 centimetres.
For the ricotta filling, it’s easy enough just to scoop it out with a spoon. For the pea filling, it’s better to use a piping tube.
Once we’ve done that, we fold the empty half of the pasta sheet over the side with the fillings and then push the pasta down so it sticks together and makes pockets of filling. The key here is to not leave any air inside, so you can use your fingers to push that out before you seal it.
“The key of ravioli is to make a very thin layer of pasta and to join them properly”, Stefano reminds me.
Then, using a pasta cutter (or a knife, if you need to) cut the pasta sheet into the individual ravioli segments. Make sure the sides are all sealed tightly, it’s all stuck together and there is no air inside.
And that’s the raw ravioli done!
It then doesn’t take too long to cook it right before it’s ready to be served. Just put the pieces in boiling water for abut 8 minutes and scoop them out and let them drain.
You can serve the ravioli with any sauce you like but Stefano recommends a simple sage and butter sauce because the real flavour is on the inside. Personally, because I am a glutton when it comes to tastes, I would cover it in a meaty bolognese. Greedy, I know.
In the meantime, here is the recipe. Good luck!
- 250g wheat ﬂour
- 250g white ﬂour
- 5 eggs
- 600g ricotta cheese
- 100g parmesan cheese
- fresh sage
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- Knead together flour and eggs by hand to form dough
- Leave to rise in a bowl covered by a dish towel at room temperature for 1 hour
- In the meantime, prepare the ricotta cheese stufﬁng by mixing the ricotta, a pinch of salt, a pinch of nutmeg, and parmesan cheese into a smooth cream
- If using a “KitchenAid” pasta maker, set width to #6 and pass the dough through until a smooth and thin sheet is formed (Otherwise, roll by hand adding ﬂour when needed)
- Place a spoonful of the ricotta ﬁlling every 5 cm on the left side of the sheet;
- Fold over right side of the sheet over the left
- Using your ﬁngers, push down on side of ﬁlling to remove air pockets, closing the ravioli and uniting the two sheets
- Cut your ravioli using a pasta cutter
- Cook in boiling water for 8-10 minutes
- Serve with melted butter mixed with finely-chopped fresh sage