9.11.2010

Conquering Homemade Ravioli

I had a serious day in the kitchen, creating something I have longed to do since a spring semester spent in Italy years ago: I made ravioli.  Not boiled from a package ravioli.  Not even made-out-of-wonton-wrappers ravioli.  But the real-deal, full-fledged, authentic, homemade ravioli.

Italian (not EYE-talian,  by the way), food is probably my favorite type of food, both to cook and to eat.  Not that I discriminate against food of any ethnic background, but Italian tops my list nine times out of ten.  This poses a problem for me quite often, because I can't eat dairy.  (Regular alfredo? Not a chance.  Tofu and soy milk alfredo?  Why yes!).  So after a serious craving, I decided to make ravioli for dinner.

I found a recipe for ravioli dough, told myself I WOULD FOLLOW IT (because I rarely, rarely do), and got down to business.  After gathering the necessary supplies to make the dough (recipe in full at bottom), I set off to work.

(No judging my ugly kitchen. We rent.  Someday, I will have a gorgeous kitchen with maple and tile and stainless and granite.  But not today. Not for many days!)

First, you make what I call a flour volcano. Combining the salt and flour thoroughly, you make a well in the center and break the eggs inside. 


Then you act like a child with play dough and knead away (note: take off rings first!).  Eventually you end up with a beautiful ball of dough like this: 


Let it rest for 15 minutes while you make the filling.  For ours, I did a mix of spinach, mushrooms and onions/garlic/fresh ground pepper/Italian seasoning (because I never cook without these ingredients!).  Super easy - Just sautéed it all up and then let it cool in the fridge while I rolled out the noodles.


Back to the dough.  Cut it in half, roll it out (everybody knows the trick about a wet rag under your board right?  That way it doesn't move...useful for chopping veggies too!  Just get a rag damp and spread it out underneath your board.  That sucker won't budge).  This recipe made a seriously beautiful dough, pliable, yet tough that my impatience didn't tear it. 


After I had the two sheets of dough rolled out, I got out my semi-cooled filling and threw it in the blender with an egg and some "mozzarella" (again, no dairy.  So it's pretend cheese), and let the blender work its magic.


Then you just plop little teaspoons of it onto one sheet of dough, about 1.5 inches apart.  Top it with the other piece of dough, and use your fingers to gently press the dough between each dab.  Cut them out, crimp the edges and then let them dry on parchment paper for an hour (this step got me. My eyes must have glazed over when reading the noodle recipe, so I didn't realize this "hour long waiting" step existed.  Needless to say, Mr. and I ate dinner around 8:30!).  It was a useful time to clean up the kitchen though.  I don't know about you, but every time I open my flour canister, it seems like my kitchen ends up a war zone.

(Yes, the recipe makes more than eight ravioli!)

I also made some homemade sauce to go with the raviolis....Phenomenally easy, as I had some of my spinach and mushroom filling leftover which made a great base.  I just added in tomatoes, more onion/garlic, and basil.  Easy peasy!  Just an hour of simmering and it was delicious!


Post-drying, drop the ravioli into boiling water and let them cook up for 10-15 minutes.  Gently remove them with a slotted spoon, and viola!  You have conquered homemade ravioli!


Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli with Homemade Sauce
Ingredients
Dough:
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
Warm water (as needed)

Filling:

1/2 package of frozen spinach
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Sliced mushrooms (8 oz)
Italian seasoning
Black pepper
Mozzarella cheese
1 Egg

Sauce:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 onion
1/4 of remaining frozen spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
Dried basil
Leftover puree from filling

Directions

Dough preparation
-Sift flour and salt together.
-Place flour mixture on a board, making a well in the center of the flour.
-Drop eggs into the flour well, using your hand or a fork, break the yolks and beat eggs slightly.
-Combine the eggs and flour together, gradually adding enough warm water to make a stiff dough.
-Knead dough well, until smooth; cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
-After resting, cut dough in half and roll each half of the dough out on a floured board, into a very thin sheet (about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick).

Filling

- Sauté spinach, mushrooms, 1/2 onion, Italian seasoning, one clove garlic and black pepper in EVOO.  Cook down, chill and then puree in blender (add in 1 egg and some cheese prior to blending).

Filling the Ravioli

-Drop about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls (Small! These will plump up!) of filling about 1 1/2 inches apart all along the dough.
-When the sheet of dough is fully dotted with dabs of filling mixture, cover filling with other sheet of dough.
-Using your fingers, gently press dough between each dab of filling to seal it.
-Cut ravioli into squares with a sharp knife.

Drying
- Allow ravioli to dry for one hour before cooking.

Sauce

-Combine remaining spinach/mushroom filling with tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion and seasonings.
-Simmer for one hour or until pasta is cooked, stirring occasionally.

Cooking the Ravioli
-Bring 6-8 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil (remember that this will take a while, so start it early...another factor that played into our 8.30 dinner time!).
-Drop ravioli in and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until dough is tender.
-Remove cooked ravioli from pot carefully with a skimmer or a large slotted spoon, and drain well.
-Top with cheese and sauce
-Enjoy!

[ Sorry that I don't measure seasonings/spices.  Goes back to my "no-recipe" attitude towards life. Just do what feels right! ;) ]

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1 comment:

  1. Hello. I am new to your blog. So far I'm LOVING it :) I am newly dairy free (started in the beginning of this year.) I have gotten pretty good at substituting the dairy for the non in almost every recipe. But I'm struggling when it comes to cheese... I miss it so much!! Is there a specific brand that is your go-to? I'm scared of fake cheese lol... but I really want to know what to use so I can be normal again :) thanks in advance! Keep up the great work!!

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