I told you guys I wanted to do more recipe posts, and here we are! One of my aims for 2020 is to make one new recipe a week, and last week I started with making ravioli from scratch – which was actually my first time making pasta ever and I greatly underestimated what I was getting myself into.
I can’t say that it wasn’t a daunting task, and also a very stressful experience (my pasta machine broke so I had to roll the entire thing by hand – and yes, my arms are still sore), but I’m honestly very proud of myself for actually doing it.
For a first attempt at pasta I think I did a pretty good job, but I definitely learnt a lot as I was going along that will come in handy for my next try at it. I didn’t use any specific recipe, just the general pasta ‘rule’ of 100g flour per person, and 1 egg per 100g flour, and then just went for my favourite ravioli filling and used my go-to tomato sauce
It ended up tasting pretty great, so I’ll be sharing with you my recipe, tips and talking through how I found the experience!
What you’ll need:
For the pasta (serves 3 people):
- 300g 00 flour per person
- 3 medium-large eggs
- salt (for the pasta water)
- 1 jar sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 16 small mozzarella balls, halved
For the sauce:
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 1 onion
- 1 can san marzano tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- salt, to taste
- Weigh out your flour and pour onto a wooden board/surface. Shape into a mound and use your hands to carve out a well in the centre. Make sure the well is large enough to hold your eggs without spilling over – this was where I first went wrong, the walls of my mound broke down and so did I. TIP: If you’re a little nervous about trying this for the first time, make the mound in a bowl so that the eggs can’t leak out as easily.
- Crack your eggs into the well and whisk the eggs together with a fork until they’re homogenous. Slowly add flour from the walls into the mixture until it resembles scrambled eggs, then begin working with your hands until a dough forms. Tip: DON’T use cold eggs straight from the fridge. I don’t know why, but that’s what I’ve read.
- Knead the dough for 15 minutes, rolling it out with your hands, folding it back on itself and then turning 90º. This is kind of a workout, but believe me, it’s necessary. TIP: If you find your dough is a little dry (which mine was because my eggs were too small), wet your hands and keep kneading until it’s reached the consistency of modelling dough. Equally, if it’s a little wet, add more flour.
- Once kneaded, wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Whilst the dough is resting, begin making the sauce. Chop the carrot, onion and celery stick in a food processor until very finely diced. Sauté on low heat in a pan with the olive oil until softened, around 10 minutes. What we’re making here is a soffritto, which will add a lot of flavour and depth to your sauce. Mince the garlic and add to the pan, cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Whilst this is cooking, pour the san marzano tomatoes, with their juices, into a bowl and crush with your hands until they’re, well, crushed, and fill the can about 1/6th of the way full of water to get any remaining juices.
- Add the tomatoes and the can juice/water into the pan, raising the heat to medium to bring it to a simmer. Add the tomato puree and reduce the heat, letting it simmer for about ten minutes before taking it off the heat. Do not season yet because we’ll be adding pasta water later, which will add salt to the sauce.
- Once the dough has rested, cut it into four pieces. Keeping the other three pieces covered so as to not dry out, begin rolling the first piece on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. If you are using a pasta maker then you only need to roll it thin enough to fit into your pasta maker. Flour the rollers and dough on each side, then begin rolling using the widest setting twice, then working your way down through the numbers until you’re on the second to last setting. TIP: The pasta should be thin enough to read a newspaper through.
9. If you are rolling by hand, like I did, you’re in for a ride. Try to keep the sides as even as possible to maintain a rectangle-like shape, and roll it long enough that you can get a decent yield of ravioli out of one sheet, and wide enough that you fold the sheet in half to create the ravioli. It won’t need to be as wide as you think it will (I made the mistake of rolling my sheet too wide on the first go and only got four pieces out of it, which was such a waste of dough), probably about 25cm x 50cm. TIP: Hang one half of the dough off the side of your surface whilst rolling the other half, gravity will help to stretch the dough and save your aching arms.
10. Begin adding your filling into small mounds on the bottom half of the dough – about half a teaspoon of sun-dried tomatoes and one half mozzarella ball. Leave about a 3.5-4cm gap between each filling mound, small enough to get a decent yield but large enough to have a decent-size edge around the filling. I left the gap way too big on my first batch (see the above photo), but by my third and fourth try I was getting about 8-9 pieces of ravioli per sheet.
11. Fold over the top half of the dough and press firmly around the filling mounds to completely seal the ravioli. You want to avoid getting any air pockets inside the ravioli, and make sure they’re sealed as tightly as possible to avoid any leaking during the cooking process.
12. Once you’re on your second sheet, place a well-salted pot of water on to boil. Continue rolling and making the ravioli until you have used up all four pieces of dough. TIP: The pasta water should be as salty as the ocean, this is the only seasoning the pasta dough will see.
13. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for no longer than three minutes. Take 1/4 cup of the pasta water and add it to the sauce, then place the sauce back on a low heat to warm it. Taste to check for seasoning and add salt as necessary. TIP: When the pasta floats, it’s ready.
14. When the pasta has finished cooking, remove each piece gently from the water with a spider – avoid shaking to ensure that the ravioli stays intact – and transfer to a bowl. Top with the sauce, parmesan and black pepper, then serve!
Well, this was a surprisingly intense recipe to begin the year with! Making your own pasta is definitely a labour of love, and a skill that I need to keep practicing, but there’s something pretty awesome about making a meal completely from scratch.
I don’t think this recipe would have been anywhere near as taxing had my pasta maker not broken, but it definitely gave me a real respect for the traditional way of making pasta, because that was probably the most intense workout of my life. But, strangely enough, I’m already looking forward to making pasta again and really trying to hone that skill.
If you fancy trying this recipe then I would love to see your versions – you can even experiment with the filling and the sauce (I love a good brown butter, so I might try that next myself).
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post, let me know what you think of my new cooking addition to the blog, and if you do try this recipe please let me know what you thought and how you found it! See you next time,