Posted by: Stephlechef | August 31, 2011

Homemade ravioli

Well, apparently being unemployed has its upside for my blog. Although in truth this is something I made a while ago. But here’s the belated blog of it anyway!!!

I got a pasta maker for Christmas (well, after Christmas- when I mentioned it was something I ought to have put on my list on Christmas day, we found one reduced, and with my bro’s supermarket discount as well- steal!) and I hate it. I mean, I love it. And I love what I can make with it, and how yummy the pasta tastes, etc etc etc. But I also hate it. It raises my stress levels beyond pretty much anything else. And that’s saying something. I think it’s because I don’t use the right flour. Or the right eggs. I think we’d call this “all my own fault”. It’s not my fault free-range is so damn expensive. So anyway. My advice is, get the tipo 00 flour and the free-range organic eggs from pink fluffy hens. Or have it cheaper and make sure your machine is WELL lubed. Or floured, I should say. Instead of the “tipo 00” pasta flour, I just use strong white bread flour and sieve it about a million times to make sure it’s really light and fine. The sieving makes a mess, but it’s ok ’cause you’re gonna need a floured side later anyway.

So.

3 eggs

300g strong white bread flour

I don’t do this on the side, because let’s face it, it makes a mess, and it’s more likely than not that the eggs will find some way of squidging out the side of the flour mound. So. Put the flour in a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs. Whisk the eggs up and start to incorporate the flour. It WILL all go together, unless you have basics eggs which are very uneven in size. Woops. Once it’s all sticking together, you gotta start kneading. And it takes ages. But it gets the stress out (pre-emptively) that you are going to feel later. So you knead and pound and stretch and beat the dough, and eventually (after about 10 minutes of heavy breathing) you’ll find that it’s all smoothy and not rough anymore. And that is a good feeling. Put it in something like a bag and leave it in the fridge for about half an hour.

Set up the pasta maker. And leave a LOT of room on the side. And make sure the whole side is clean and dry and floured, ’cause that pasta is going to end up ALLLLLL over the shop. Also, don’t use the pasta maker on a wobbly student-house table. It makes the whole job ever more of a faff. So. I split the dough into a couple of pieces, it just makes it easier to handle. And leave the unused bit in the bag in the fridge. NOT out of the bag, or it goes all crusty.

Flatten the dough down into a sort of rectangle shape (it probably won’t stay this way) and pass it through the machine at the widest setting. Fold it in half and pass it through again. If it gets the tiniest bit sticky then flour it up again. Don’t think “oh it’ll be fine”- because it won’t. (This is a very negative blog post for someone who is eating sausage egg and chips). Continue the folding and passing it through until it’s all nice and smoothy.

Then put the setting down on the machine one notch each time, and pass the pasta through again (this time without folding it). On my machine, I usually only go down to 1 (the thinnest) if I’m making tagliatelle, but for lasagna and ravioli I use 2. I like a bit of chunk.

So if this process works without any screaming, shouting, hitting, sticking or machine oil on your pasta dough (yup), you are ready to….. do the other half!!!! (Making sure to protect the nice flat stuff from the crust-causing air)

Then you can make the filling!

I used

A tub of ricotta cheese

Most of a bag of spinach

An egg

Salt and pepper

and a teeny pinch of nutmeg

Just chop up the spinach really small and squidge the whole lot together. Then, using a ravioli cutter if you have one, a ridge-cutting potato slicer if you don’t, something inventive if you don’t have one of those, or a knife if you’re not inventive, cut out even-sized squares (I made mine massive) from the ravioli. Fill with spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture, and seal two pieces together with beaten egg. Boil (lower them CAREFULLY into the water- you didn’t scream at your kitchen side’s lack of grippiness just to chuck them in and ruin everything) and cook until the pasta is done. I find it takes longer than shop-bought fresh pasta. But maybe that’s ’cause I don’t go down to number 1!!!!

Serve with a tomato sauce (whizz up a tin of tomatoes and some seasoning) and toasted pine nuts and parmesan. Yum!

p.s. This week I have gone a bit mad and spent the money my Nan gave me to congratulate me on my exam results on kitchen ware. Exciting kitchen ware. I expect I shall be blogging soon. And in the meantime, I have an interview to prepare for… eek!

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