I've read about folks using their food processors to make fresh pasta, but I've never had the inclination to try it myself. There are a few tools that make ravioli making extremely easy and are well worth the initial investment.
Those items are:
- A Pasta Extruder (Or Pasta Machine) - this item is used to roll the dough out evenly at various thickness'. There are numerous models available for around $40 and will last a lifetime if properly taken care of (Don't Submerse it in water!) There are a number of different types, we actually use the kitchenaid mixer attachment.
- Ravioli Form - we use the Norpro Ravioli maker and press- I love this particular model because it does offer a press which makes it considerably easier to keep the ravioli all the same size (which helps when cooking!). If you decide to get a ravioli form- keep in mind that it should have an open bottom, rather than a solid one or the ravioli will get stuck and split/break open when you try to remove them.
Now, you don't HAVE to have these items to make your own fresh ravioli, but it certainly makes the job faster and easier.
For a Basic Egg Pasta you'll need:
3 Large Eggs, well beaten
2 c. all purpose flour
In a mixing bowl mix beaten eggs and flour together until it forms a ball, (about 30 seconds in all). If the dough doesn't come together well add a teaspoon or two of water.
Turn the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it's smooth, (about a minute). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes- to 2 hours. This gives the dough time to relax and gives you time to make whatever filling you'll be using to fill it with!
Cut 1/6 of the dough off at a time to use and rewrap the remaining dough with plastic wrap to keep it moist.
Flatten the dough into a disc shape and run it through the extruder on the thicker setting first, then fold it gently and run it through the extruder again. Fold the dough again and run it through the extruder again. Then, without folding it, reduce the thickness of the extruder and run it through 2 more times, or as many as needed to get the dough very thin.
When the dough is ready you should be able to see the outline of your hand very clearly through the dough. This Italian Pasta dough, pictured above, is still just a little Too Thick!
You'll need a length of dough that is double the length of your ravioli form.
Place the pasta on a clean surface and cover with dampened papertowels to keep it from drying out while you work the remaining dough.
Once all the dough has been rolled, spray the ravioli form with non-stick spray, or dust liberally with flour. Lay the dough across the form:
Using the Press, place it over the dough and gently press down to create even cavities.
Fill each ravioli cavity with whatever filling you'd prefer.
Then wet your finger with a dab of water and run it along the edges of the ravioli pasta, wetting the dough slightly helps it to seal.
Bring the other end of the dough over the entire tray of ravioli.
Using a rolling pin, start at the already closed end and gently roll over the top of the ravioli form to seal the raviolis shut.
Gently invert the ravioli form onto a lightly floured surface, separate and repeat until all the raviolis have been made.
This recipe makes about 48 ravioli
Making your own Flavored pasta is simple:
- Old Bay Pasta- this is excellent for seafood fillings, just add 1 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning to the flour before mixing with eggs
- Pizza Pasta- add 1 1/2 tsp Pizza Seasoning to the flour before mixing with eggs
- Fresh Herb Pasta- 2 Tablespoons finely minced blend of fresh parsley, basil, mint, cilantro,thyme, sage or oregano
- Black Pepper Pasta- add 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground tellicherry pepper
- Tomato Pasta- increase flour to 2 1/4 c. flour, add 2 Tbs Tomato Paste