Homemade pasta of any kind (especially ravioli) can be very intimidating to make. This recipe may sound complicated at first, but if you plan ahead and grab another pair of hands, homemade ravioli is well worth the hard work. Keep in mind that you can always freeze a good portion of these to easily pop into boiling water on those nights where standing in the kitchen is not on your TO DO list. Easy peasy.
If you haven’t made ravioli at home before, here are a few tips:
1. It takes a lot of love to make homemade pasta (i.e. patience, elbow grease, a glass of wine, maybe a great album)
2. You don’t need a pasta roller or a ravioli cutter to make ravioli (we used a rolling pin and one of our favorite Avery glasses to make these)
3. This is a project best made with a loved one. What better time to bond?
We stuffed our ravioli bites with a savory pumpkin filling because, well, we love pumpkin and it’s fall! What more can I say? Other than this pumpkin filling is to die for. I may or may not have licked my plate when I finished my portion. This is definitely a new favorite autumn recipe in our household!
If you’re looking for a shortcut and don’t feel like rolling out your own pasta dough, try using wonton wrappers instead. You definitely save on the hard labor. The only trade-off is there is less chew to your ‘pasta.’ But in a bind, I bet everyone will be too busy gobbling up your ravioli that nobody will notice the difference. Your secret is safe with me.
Place 2-1/2 cups flour in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Beat eggs and oil; pour into well. Stir together, forming a ball. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes, adding remaining flour if necessary to keep dough from sticking. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute pumpkin, shallot and garlic in butter until tender. Add the sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Transfer to a food processor; cover and process until blended. Return to the pan; stir in cream, cheese and bay leaf. Bring to a high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaf.
Divide pasta dough into fourths; roll one portion as thin as you can (1/16-in. thickness). (Keep remaining dough covered until ready to use.) Cut circles of pasta by using a ravioli cutter or a small glass. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of a pasta circle then brush around filling with beaten egg. Place another pasta circle over the filling and press down firmly to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. Add ravioli. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cook for 1-2 minutes or until ravioli float to the top and are tender. Drain and keep warm.
In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil; cook, uncovered, until reduced by half. Stir in butter and sage. Serve with ravioli.
If you wish to freeze any extra ravioli, lay completed ravioli in single lines on a floured cookie sheet and set in the freezer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, store the ravioli in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. When you are ready to cook these, pop them into salted boiling water just as you would if they were fresh. They are cooked when they float to the top of the water.
I’m one of those Americans that is a bit lost in her heritage, or maybe I should say my lack of heritage. I didn’t have an Italian grandmother who taught me how to make noodles from scratch or an Ethiopian family who shared recipes centuries old. I am who I am – a 100% American raised person.
I sometimes wish that I had more of an ethnic upbringing so I would have more to share with my future children (or future cookbooks) but I appreciate what I have learned throughout my cooking adventures. I think of cooking as a learning experience of a lifetime. I learn something every single time I create or recreate a recipe and homemade ravioli was no exception.
Now, this wasn’t my first rodeo with fresh pasta, but it did take me a few batches to get the hang of things. Even after resting my dough was very springy. I had to trick it into sticking to my countertop with a little water so I could add the filling. I eventually figured everything out… except one little thing. I knew this would be a tedious process so I made a double batch of the filling and the dough in hopes of freezing an extra batch. Thing is, even with the double batches, I ran out of dough.
Mister came up with a good idea for the leftover filling. I predict a goulash recipe in the near future. It’ll complement this gorgeous marinara sauce too. A new favorite – simple yet sooooo finger licking good. Simmer, simmer, simmer. It’s worth the wait!
First, crack some eggs, add some flour and get messy, like so:
Wrap your dough and let it rest while you prep your meat filling (if you are using meat) and kick butt marinara sauce.
For the meat filling, chop your veggies, make ’em sweat and add your beef. Drain and add seasoning.
Drop the mixture into a food processor (preferably one bigger than mine) to make a meat paste.
(Vegetarians are freaking out now)
Set the paste aside. Make your delicious meat-free sauce, cover and simmer. I recommend spraying the bottom of your pot before doing this. That was a lesson learned…
Chop of piece of dough from your dough ball, recover and roll the chunk out as thin and as long as you can. If you like large ravioli, roll out two of these (one for the top and one for the bottom). Add your filling, drag a bit of water around the filling with your finger, cover with the second strip of pasta dough and press the ravioli around the filling to seal.
For smaller ravioli, you can use one of these pasta strips, add a little less filling, and stretch the pasta around the filling, like so.
Snip excess dough and combine with your large dough ball or save for later to make scrap noodles. Press the edges down with a fork if you’re feeling especially decorative.
Bring some water to a boil and add your ravioli. They are done when they float to the top. Pour some sauce on them and devour immediately.
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, or to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
extra virgin olive oil
Meat Filling (Optional)
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small carrot, grated
1/2 stalk celery, diced
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
With a stand mixer, beat the eggs and salt. Attach dough hook and add flour a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase the speed and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, until the dough is smooth, soft and pliable.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands lightly and knead the dough for a minute or two. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Note: Making the dough with a machine requires a little less flour than making it by hand. Reserve 1/2 cup or so of the flour. After the dough is kneaded, touch it. If it is silky and slightly moist, it is ready; if it is too sticky, work in the reserved flour.
Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning and basil. Stir to combine.
Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Fill about 1/3 can with water and swish around to clean tomatoes from sides and then pour into the next can and do the same thing. Add to pot. Stir and add sugar and pepper.
Let the sauce come to a boil, stir gently. Reduce heat and let sauce simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Meat Filling (Optional)
Sweat onion, garlic, carrot and celery in oil. Once vegetables soften add ground beef, breaking up the meat as you add it to your pan. Cook until browned and cooked through. Drain the fat and add the mixture to a food processor, pulse until smooth. Add egg and cheese and pulse to combine.
Lay the pasta sheet on a floured surface. Place your meat or cheese filling about an inch apart on one half of the sheet. Use less than 1 tablespoon of filling (more if you want bigger ravioli). Dip your finger in water and drag your finger around each filling. Place the unused portion of the dough sheet over the half with the filling. Press out all of the air from around the meat and press down lightly on the dough to seal. Cut with a round biscuit cutter or cut into squares.
Make sure you save all of your scraps of dough. These are always nice in soups or with sauce for lunch later. Cut into strips and cook these in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.
To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add ravioli (if they were frozen you do not need to defrost) to the pot and stir. When ravioli float to the top they are ready.
To Freeze -
Sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour or cornmeal. Place ravioli on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place in freezer for at least a half hour, or until frozen through. Place in large freezer bags and lay flat. You do not need to defrost these when you want to cook them.