Pasta is supposed to be something cheap, quick and simple, requiring the kind of effort you’d expect from a hungover student one week before their loan installment; or perhaps a blind sloth with no manual dexterity. Unfortunately, the ravioli available in supermarkets also tastes as though it’s been made by one or the other. The semi-solid paste of a filling seems to only ever taste of stale air, whatever ‘flavour’ the packaging promises.
In my head, ravioli is a winning dish. Tiny, doughy carb parcels with a sharp, yet creamy filling; a bitesized explosion of Italian flavour. No matter how expensive the pasta, nothing from a supermarket has ever matched the ravioli fantasy in my mind (as I write this I am becoming aware of how sad and simple my tiny mind is…) Anyway, on an evening tout seul, I stopped blaming the lack of pasta machine and other gadgetry I’d previously considered essential and started about hand making what shall now be known as the Ravioli of Dreams.
It’s not quick, but freezes well and is easy to produce in large quantities, so you can hoard batches for lazier days. The filling is divine! Whatever you choose, you’re not limited in texture or taste, as per ready-made as it doesn’t have to be preserved in the fridge for 3 weeks.
Overall, I think it’s worth the effort every once in a while.
Do you think pasta is worth making, or is it a fail-safe fall back you’d rather reach from the pantry?
Make a well in the middle of the flour and break in most of the eggs, reserving a couple of teaspoons worth for later on. Add the salt and oil. Beat the eggs with a fork, slowly incorporating the flour. When dough becomes thicker, use hands to amalgamate. Dough will be sticky, but should form shape easily.
Knead the dough for 10 – 15 mins (depending on arm strength..ahem) until it is stretchy and smooth. Leave to rest for 25 mins.
While the pasta dough rests, make your filling. Pretty much anything goes, this is my version of primavera: peas, mint, feta, a touch of creamy buffalata (creamy mozarella/ricotta) and lots of pecorino! (or parmesan). I also added a squeeze of lemon juice after tasting.
Flour a board and a rolling pin. Halve your pasta and roll out each half of the pasta, paper thin so you can see your hands through it. Keep swiveling it around and flouring, so it doesn’t stick to the board.
Cut out using a biscuit cutter, or knife round a jar lid/circular object! Use the remaining egg to brush on to half of the pasta circles. This helps seal them and prevent them bursting when cooked.
So pretty! Now, ready to cook. Bring a pan of salted water, with a splash of oil to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Gently lower in the ravioli. When they float to the top, they are done. This should take under a minute. Drain on kitchen paper.
The ravioli filling is tangy, sweet, fresh and rich – aka no sauce necessary. Simply serve with extra grated pecorino, extra virgin olive oil and black pepper.