How to make ravioli? It's not hard and it's so satisfying once you get the hang of it. Especially freeform ravioli because it flops around the plate elegantly and it's fun to experiment with.
It is much easier to make pasta in a restaurant because of the space and professional equipment available, but with the help of a hand crank machine I can make it at home. This is an egg pasta...
Place flour on countertop and make a well. In the well add liquid ingredients. Use a fork to blend together until dough starts to form
Knead the dough to help the gluten form and get stretchy. This can take awhile by hand. About 7 minutes. The dough needs to rest before rolling out. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate.
Take dough out of fridge and set up pasta machine. I begin placing dough in machine at the widest setting and make the rollers smaller and smaller each time I pass the dough through until it is thin enough that I can just see my fingers through it.
I used ricotta, parmesan, and a pinch of nutmeg to make a light cheese filling and then experimented with different pasta forms. The first batch was similar in shape to cannelloni, long and tube like. The next were oversized agnalottis (pillow shaped pastas). With a filling as light as ricotta a heavy sauce would ruin it, so I opted for some colorful sautéed rainbow chard with garlic and red pepper flakes. And garnished the pasta with fresh Early Girl tomatoes and finishing olive oil from Spain.
Free Form Cheese Ravioli with Sautéed Rainbow Chard and Tomatoes Serves 6
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup of water (add little by little)
2 cups ricotta, drained
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt, pepper, nutmeg
8-10 leaves of rainbow chard, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 garlic clove, mined
2-3 tomatoes, seeded & diced olive oil red pepper flakes
Place flour on countertop in a mound and create a well in the middle. Pour egg yolks into well. With a fork mix the yolk with the flour working from the inside out. Once the dough resembles rough cornmeal add water little by little and knead the dough until it is pliable and elastic, about 6-7 minutes. Press dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap to let rest at room temp for at least 5 minutes.
Set up pasta machine. Follow manual instruction and roll out pasta into sheets. It should be thin enough to see your fingers through it. Lightly dust with cornmeal or flour if folding the sheets so they won't stick together
In a bowl combine ricotta with parmesan and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Cut pasta to desired shape and place up to 2T of filling in each form. Seal edges of pasta by pressing firmly with fingertips. If dough is a little dry brush a tiny amount of water on one edge. Cook in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until al dente.
Heat 1 T of olive oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Sweat garlic. Add chopped chard and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Plate sautéed chard in a bowl with pasta on top. Spoon tomatoes over pasta and finish with a drizzle of nice olive oil.