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Weekend Project - Ravioli

With the upcoming President's Day Weekend I find myself with an entire Sunday and Monday to spend time with a visiting childhood friend and nothing to do except cook. (I'm very excited about this) I've been wanting to try homemade pasta and Ravioli seems the obvious choice for sheer variety. No pasta machine, so we'll be rolling it out by hand.

I'm thinking three varieties. One with a braised meat filling, one mushroom (and cheese?) and one Cheese/Herb or Veggie. I'd like to end up with a freezer full of yum for weeknight meals.
Also thinking about making beef stock while I'm at it...or a delicious long cooked pasta sauce. Since we'll be in the kitchen anyway, might as well have something simmering on the back burner.

So anybody have any recipes for the dough and/or fillings? Flavor suggestions? General ravioli making tips? Fabulous all-day sauce that I would love to have in my freezer?

Thanks in advance 'hounds!

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  1. Check out Hazan's dough recipes- easy to handle, esp if you're not using a machine... 2 pointers- Make sure
    1. Your fillings are not too moist- the excess moisture ruins the pasta dough and it all just falls apart.
    2. Pasta is well sealed. If not, the filling runs out during cooking.
    Filling wise?
    Love beet and goat cheese, squash with sage brown butter, and mushroom with a cream sauce...But that's just me!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bunnyfood

      Which Hazan book am I looking for here? My library has 4 different ones...

      Alternately, could somebody paraphrase the recipe or point me at an online source?

    2. If you're rolling by hand, keep rolling and rolling and rolling. When you think it's thin enough, roll some more!

      Before I had a pasta machine I made ravioli by hand a few times and I never got the dough thin enough. It's really difficult, it should be almost thin enough to see through (if you hold the dough up to the light the shadow of your hand should be very pronounced. Rolling by hand is very labor intensive, be warned and best of luck!

      1. I sure wish Ann Burrell, Mario Batali's sous chef would give us her tips to make pasta, she makes it look like kids play. Obviously doing it over and over is the answer. Does she have a site?

        1. One note is that I have found that I prefer a fairly smooth filling. Ravioli should be smooth and melt in your mouth, and meat textures can get in the way of that. So I tend to throw them in the food processor before filling. It's really a personal preference, but it's something for you to consider.

          1. spend the 29$ and get a pasta roller at bed bath beyond or linens and things, best 29 you'll ever spend even if you use it only once.

            I also second the meat filling in a food processor, otherwise its too "clumpy" like taco meat and "crumbles out" when you take a fork to it.

            Also, with the meat, you want it to be like a mini meatball and stay together, an egg or 2 will work...not too much though, and if it still doesn't hold together in a little ball then a little seasoned breadcrumbs wont hurt.

            either cook right away or freeze right away, no fridge.....and when you freeze, place on a cookie sheet and in freezer until they get a little "hard" then you can put them in a freezer bag.

            remember that they "grow" when cooked so don't make them too big.

            4 minutes when fresh 7-8 when frozen or until they float to the top.. (make sure there is no air in there.

            5 Replies
            1. re: RPMcMurphy

              Run, don't walk, to your local library or bookstore and get "The Lost Ravioli Recipies of Hoboken" by Laura Schenone. This is the ULTIMATE ravioli book with many tips throughout - great reading plus authentic recipies from the old country. Definitely a must have for anyone who makes ravioli on a regular basis.

              Or you could try the St. Louis way and fry those puppies up for something different :>

              1. re: TwoPointers

                Ok, no available copies at the library, but I've got a hold request on it now. Hopefully it will come back sometime in the next 2 days! :)

              2. re: RPMcMurphy

                Our budget is a little tight for me to even get the extra groceries for this project. The $29 dollars for a pasta roller is definitely not in the budget.

                The comments about processing the meat filling are interesting...since that's what I had planned to do until I read an older thread about meat fillings in ravioli's and everybody said that a un-ground braised meat filling was much better. I guess it's a toss up.

                Thanks for the reminder about growing...I always have a hard time managing the size of anything with a filling (tacos, omelets etc). I just add one more little bit until the thing explodes.

                1. re: wawajb

                  To be 100%, perfectly honest with you, I'd recommend toning down the expensive ingredients (like whatever you'll be braising, the mushrooms, the fresh herbs, etc), going half-sies on a pasta machine, and just making plain ricota ravioli. I can almost guarantee that a plain ricota ravioli made with a pasta machine will come out better than anything you've stuffed without it.

                  If you don't get the roller, make one batch first and test-taste. There's a VERY strong chance it won't taste right due to dough thickness. Use that as a basis of comparison for the next batch.

                2. re: RPMcMurphy

                  I second the No Air in There advice. The one time I made ravioli I had a real problem with air trapped in the filling pocket. They burst and it was a mess. We didn't even see big air pockets beforehand - they weren't obvious - so be diligent about keeping the air out.