My trip to Napa inspired me. Most of the pasta I ate was handmade, and it is true that you can tell a difference. I had always considered making pasta fresh but it seemed like a lot of effort, and I thought I’d need a lot of fancy tools. That is not necessarily true. Motivated by the perfect pasta I had on my trip, I vowed to attempt my own dough as soon as I returned to school.
And so I did. It was much less intense than I expected, but there was a lot of elbow grease involved. No tools were needed, except a rolling pin, and the pasta came out surprisingly good. The best part about this was the satisfaction of looking at my finished, rolled out dough; while not perfect, it was the product of my hard work and that is something to be proud of.
Need further motivation to make homemade ravioli dough? You can stuff it with whatever you want! I used prosciutto, ricotta and parmesan, because lets face it, I love salt. Add some easy brown butter sauce to the fresh made raviolis, sprinkle some parmesan, and you have a great dish (that is fun to show off to your friends – I felt very cool making fresh dough).
Raviolis Stuffed With Prosciutto and Parmesan in Brown Butter
- For the dough:
- 2 cups flour; half semolina flour, half all purpose flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- water, as needed
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup prosciutto, finely sliced
- 1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, beaten and reserved in separate bowls
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the brown butter sauce:
- 6 tablespoons butter (I never said this was healthy)
- shredded parmesan cheese, to taste
So. This is a little more complicated then one of my usual recipes. Lets start with the dough.
Combine the salt and flour in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add the olive oil to the eggs. Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl with the flour and mix the eggs and flour together. Don’t be scared to use your hands! That’s part of the fun. Flour the counter surface and knead the dough on the counter until it becomes smooth and elastic; this should take about 10 minutes.
If the dough feels too sticky, add some more flour. If the dough feels too dry, add some water. There is no real method to do this; just add these elements as you feel is necessary. Practice will make this easier over time.
When your ball of dough is nice and elastic, cover it in plastic wrap and place it under an overturned bowl to prevent it from drying out. Let the dough set for about half an hour. Meanwhile…
Begin the filling. Put your parmesan in a bowl.
Add the ricotta and one of the beaten eggs to the bowl and mix the cheeses together until they become smooth. Stir in the prosciutto.
Stir in some salt and pepper to taste, and there you have your ravioli filling! Pretty easy, and you can modify it however you want.
Back to our dough. Unwrap the dough ball and cut it in half. This will make the rolling out process easier.
Take one half of the dough (wrap the other half up in the plastic again, to prevent drying) and begin to roll it out on a floured surface. This might take a while; you need to roll it until it is incredibly thin. When you lift the sheet of dough up, you should be able to see your hand through it.
When you have achieved the proper thickness of dough, you can start cutting out your ravioli shapes. I used a water glass as the cutter for my dough. Cut out as many dough circles as you can. Work quickly so the dough doesn’t dry out. When you have all your circles cut out, take your ravioli filling and plop a little spoonful on top of each circle.
To form the ravioli, fold over one half of the dough over the mixture. Seal the edges of the dough with your other beaten egg, and crimp the edges of the fork. This will make the ravioli pretty.
Repeat this process with the rest of the cut out ravioli shapes. Then, repeat it with the other dough ball. As you work, transfer the raviolis to a cookie sheet.
Feel accomplished. You just made a bunch of homemade raviolis! To cook them, drop them in some boiling water until they float to the top. Since the dough is fresh, these will cook very quickly. While they are cooking, prepare the sauce. This is simple. Heat the butter in a pan, stirring occasionally, until it becomes brown. As the raviolis finish, add them to the butter and continue to cook over low heat.
Transfer the raviolis to a plate and top with parmesan cheese.
Another good thing about this dough is that you don’t have to make just raviolis with it. You can shape it into any kind of pasta you like. Versatility is a very good thing.