Today was ravioli day. Making homemade pasta is fun and rewarding and homemade tastes so much better. Years ago I was a guest in the home of a first generation Italian family in Toronto. Not being Italian I was unfamiliar with the number of courses that constituted a typical Italian meal. We all sat around a table in a small dining room where the table and the fabric upholstered seats were all covered in heavy plastic. The first course consisted of antipasto, a beautiful salad and lots of crusty bread. The leftovers were cleared from the table and the homemade pasta arrived. Spaghetti with a meat sauce. And more bread. It was wonderful. I cleaned my plate and felt very satisfied and pretty full. The table was cleared and in came the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and more bread. It was all I could do to eat a few more bites and listened to everyone say, “What’s the matter? You don’t like the chicken?” Who knew the pasta was an appetizer. But I’m a quick study. I learned to take much smaller portions. And to never wear a skirt when the chairs are covered in plastic.
Today our ravioli was the entree.
The first step is making the pasta dough.
2 cups of AP flour
2 large eggs
I used a food processor. Put the flour in and pulse it a few times. Whisk the eggs and slowly add them in with the processor running on low.
The dough should come together in a ball. If it looks like small pebbles add 1 tsp of water at a time. If it is too wet and the dough is sticking to the sides add flour 1 T at a time. Once the dough has come together in a ball remove it to a lightly floured work surface and knead it by hand until the dough is smooth, a couple minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting prepare the filling.
2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup sweet onion in a fine dice
1 cup mushrooms diced
2 cups fresh spinach chopped
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes diced
1 1/2 cups grated Asiago and Paramesan cheese
In a heavy skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the garlic, onion and mushroom just until tender and fragrant. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the diced sun dried tomatoes and the cheeses and your filling is ready to go.
Divide the dough into six pieces. Flatten into a disk and run through the pasta machine rollers. Continue folding and running through the rollers until the dough is thin and shiny. If, at any time, the dough is too sticky dust it lightly with flour.
Stretch the dough over the ravioli form. Fill each indentation with about 1-2 tsp of filling. Do not over fill.
Put a second piece of dough over the filling and run a rolling pin over the top. Invert and remove the ravioli.
Cover the ravioli with a clean dish towel and prepare the sauce.
2 T olive oil
7-8 cloves of garlic chopped
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 pint diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
salt to taste
In a Dutch oven heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic until fragrant and tender. Don’t brown the garlic. Stir in the diced tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes.
Stir in crushed tomatoes and basil. Reduce heat and simmer.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the ravioli until tender. Approximately 5 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the ravioli to a serving dish. Ladle sauce over the pasta and serve with grated cheese.
NOTE: You can fill your ravioli with a meat or a cheese filling. You are only limited by your imagination. I made 48 ravioli and froze half of them. I put them in the freezer on a pizza tray and, once frozen, dropped them in a freezer bag for another day. You don’t really need a ravioli form but I do think you need a pasta maker to roll the dough out properly. I had extra dough and made linguini with it.
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