Monday, February 13, 2012

Pasta Dough for Ravioli

Bunker and I are not huge Valentine's Day people. We have never gone out to dinner on the actual night of Valentine's. We just do not like the whole forced fuss...the fixed menu dinner...the push in and out of our table...and the awkward couples sitting next to us! Instead, we stay in and cook a yummy dinner together (Bunker even went to Central Market with me on a Sunday afternoon...a huge gift in itself!). We are actually making our Valentin's dinner tonight...a few days early. Bunker is on a new case which keeps him in town (yeah!), but keeps him at the office until 10 or later every night (boo). Therefore, tonight is kind of our only night to cook and enjoy dinner together. I believe that the date you celebrate something does not matter. What matters is that you are with the person or people that you love...and on whatever date that can happen...then that is the date for the celebration!

I am making Sweet potato Ravioli for dinner. But, to make a specialty ravioli, you have to make your own pasta dough, something that strikes a bit of fear in my heart. I have tried to make my own dough for ravioli before, and really made a mess...and gave up and made wantons out of the dough. It was still yummy...and served the purpose of containing the filling in a tidy little package, but it was not ravioli. Well, no time like the present to try something new. This time, rather than rolling out one long sheet of dough and topping it with another long sheet of dough, I decided to cut out little pieces with cookie cutters, and sandwiching them together to make little sealed oreos. This worked beautifully and was far less stressful!

This recipe is from Epicurious, but I only used the dough recipe, as I used a different recipe for the sweet potato filling. This is a classic pasta recipe that is rather easy to follow, a bit messy (but that is part of the fun of actually get to play with your food as an adult!), and most importantly, reliable. Be creative with your ravioli fillings!

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1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of water

1. Gather your ingredients and prepare a space for making the dough (I used my butcher block counter. A good option would be a large wooden cutting board).

2. Pour the flour out onto your surface and mold into a circle with a well in the center.

3. Add the eggs and salt to the well.

4. Gently fold the flour into the well with a fork, adding small bits of water to the mixture as you pull the flour into the well. (As you can see in my picture, my well feel apart rather quickly. However, the process still worked, I just had a more free form "well").

5.  Once the ingredients are mostly incorporated, start kneading the dough, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes. You want a firm silky dough, not sticky.

Not ready yet!

Silky and smooth and ready to rest.

6. After kneading the dough, place under a bowl and let rest for about an hour.

7. Separate the dough into four pieces.

8. With each of the pieces, roll out the dough and then fold it over on itself and re-roll, repeat about 8 times. As you work on each piece of dough, keep the other pieces of dough covered so that they do not dry out.

9.  With each of the pieces, roll out the dough one final time to the thinnest you can possibly roll the dough.

10. Using a circular cookie cutter, cut out as many pieces of the dough as you can, and set each aside and covered.

11. Place a small amount of filling in the center of every other ravioli piece. The amount will depend on the size of your ravioli pieces.
12. Cover the ravioli pieces with the filling on them with another piece of ravioli (with no filling) and seal tightly around the edges. You could use a fork to help seal the edges.
13. Finish the ravioli in a pot of boiling water, cooking each for about 6 minutes.

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