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Homemade Ravioli

  • CindyJ Nov 30, 2009 07:03 AM
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I don't know whether to post this question in Cookware or here, but I'll start here.

A few times a year I find myself wanting to create special fillings for homemade ravioli. I don't have a pasta machine, so I'm once again debating my options: (1) buy a hand-cranked pasta machine, (2) use wonton wrappers for the dough, or (3) just forget about it.

I need some help sorting through the options. Regarding Option 1 -- I've made fresh pasta in the past using an attachment I bought years ago for an old Cuisinart food processor. It was an extruder-type attachment, not made for rolling pasta dough for things like ravioli, and I've got to say, I never did like the end result. The pasta never turned out al dente, no matter how briefly I cooked it. So now I'm wondering, if I buy a hand-cranked pasta machine, can I expect a better finished product if I make ravioli? Is there a particular dough recipe that is better suited for ravioli? And (the "Cookware" question) if I do decide to buy one, which machine should I buy?

Regarding Option 2, using wonton wrappers -- I just need to hear some opinions about this. Are they adaptable for this use? Are they thin enough? Do they make good ravioli?

Finally, are there any other options I haven't thought of for making my own ravioli? Thanks.

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  1. Do you have a kitchenaid mixer? If so, there is a very convenient attachment for rolling pasta dough.

    If you can't get that, I'd suggest just rolling out your dough by hand with a rolling pin. It's inconvenient, but it isn't THAT big of a deal if you're only doing it a few times a year.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jeremyn

      I do have a Kitchenaid mixer. I rarely use the mixer and I didn't realize there was a dough rolling attachment available. Have you used it? Does it work well?

      1. re: CindyJ

        I have the pasta attachments. It's actually three things: the roller and two different size cutters. But it's at least $100. I'm glad I have it though.

        1. re: c oliver

          That's pretty pricey for something I'll only use a few times a year. For now, I'm inclined either to go the hand-crank route or to try some pasta sheets made by my local Italian specialty store.

          1. re: CindyJ

            If I had them available, I'd sure buy the sheets. And I've used wonton wrappers and found them to be just fine. Especially with something like jfood's all cheese filling. I'd have it at room temp and the cheese should get warmed enough, I'd think. I got the mixer for under a $200 through Amazon and the grinder as a gift from my daughter so didn't feel bad paying for the pasta attachments. But wouldn't have been able to justify it otherwise.

    2. This thread which includes jfood's goat cheese ravioli and pasta recipe should give you some ideas:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/590780

      BTW, it's a great recipe :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: c oliver

        jfood's recipe looks positively decadent. And that thread offers another option, namely using purchased sheets of pasta dough and rolling them a bit thinner.

      2. I have done the rolling by hand and I have used an ATLAS pasta roller (manual). Really, making the dough either way is not a big deal...almost kind of relaxing in a way...so I've never even considered adding a motor to the ATLAS machine.

        As far as pre-made wrappers go, you _can_ use either the thin, square wrappers designed for wontons OR their round-cut, slightly thicker cousins designed for dumplings. They are a passable but not ideal substitute. So although they're not ideal, they work well enough as long as you bear in mind that raviolis made this way will cook very quickly...very easy to overcook.

        1. As suggested by an earlier poster, the pasta attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer is convenient and works very well. It is rather expensive. The hand crank pasta machine such as Atlas is cheaper, work just as well and can be had for half the price. Both of these produce fresh pasta that is similar to hand rolling though it still lacks the suble elasticity of hand made pasta. The extruder method produces pasta with a totally different texture, way too dry and dense.
          I don't find won-ton skins a good substitute. After they are cooked, the texture seems too soft. For me, it just doesn't taste "Italian". Maybe it is due to the fact that there are no eggs in the dough. My suggestion is to buy a pack and try it yourself. It is not a big investment and you might find it to your liking.

          1. For Goodness Sake (not a pun, either), get yourself a hand cranked Pasta Machine. They are not that expensive! You can even get a motor to do the physical cranking and cutting of dough. There are a variety of cutters available, from angel hair to wide ribbon cutters. And....it will last just about forever !!

            There are also frames for making raviollis. Just lay your rolled out dough over the frame; put your filling into the pockets....then another layer of rolled out dough, and pass a rolling pin over the whole thing to cut the individual pieces.

            I don't use water in my dough making. Just egg, flour, salt and a teaspoon, or so, of olive oil.

            1. I can get thin enough noodles w/ a hand crank but it does take practice, at least, it did for me, and takes me aa whole afternoon, from making the dough, the rest, rolling out, filling, etc. The wonton wrappers aren't the same but I like them. I just don't think of them as the same product--I use them for lighter fillings because the dough almost melts in your mouth. They're fast and easy, though. I also find a difference in brand/where I buy them. These cook in even less time than fresh dough ravioli.

              1. (2) I never have time to make my own pasta and fill ravioli...so I always use wonton wrappers. The texture does come out a little bit softer than if you use real pasta, but I actually like it better that way. It's not so chewy and almost melts in the mouth. I think if you're into experimenting you should definitely try them. I think compared to the time I've save they've been excellent.

                (3) Definitely don't forget about it! Some of my favorite dinners have been homemade raviolis!