How To: Make Handmade Ravioli

There's nothing like fresh pasta. I'm always seeking out restaurants that make their stuff from scratch, so I decided to give it a try at home. This easy-to-follow recipe for handmade ravioli took a bit of work, but for me, it was fun. I foresee a pasta-making party with my girlfriends and a few too many bottles of vino in the near future. I already had the ingredients for the dough itself on hand, and you most likely do too (unless your life and fridge have reached a new low).

I stuffed my ravioli with shrimp and homemade ricotta (overachieve much?) and tossed it in a fresh tomato cream sauce, but you can stuff and top these babies with anything you'd like. And despite what one may think, you don't need any special equipment. I happen to not have a Kitchen Aid Artisan Crome Stand Mixer with Pasta Press Attachment (cough, cough, wedding gift idea), so I used my hands, a rolling pin and a knife. Double bonus; beside these being delicious, they actually gave me a nice little work-out. Now I can skip arms at the gym.

Here's how I made the ravioli:

Ingredients for the Pasta Dough (makes about 24 big ravioli)

  • 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 eggs (2 whole, 2 separated into yolks and whites)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water if needed

Mix two whole eggs plus two egg yolks and add salt. Reserve leftover egg whites for use later on. Put flour in a bowl and make a little well in the middle. Pour in egg mixture and olive oil.

Dust hands with flour. Using your hand, slowly start incorporating flour into the egg mixture by pushing a little flour into the well and mixing. Repeat until a sticky dough forms, adding a few drops of water to incorporate all the flour if needed.

This is where the workout comes in. Knead the dough on a heavily floured surface until it becomes smooth, stretchy, and no longer sticks, about 10 minutes. Place in bowl, cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes, allowing the gluten to relax and making the dough easier to roll out.

Workout # 2. Divide dough in half and, using a rolling pin, roll out dough into a thin sheet on a floured surface, keeping the other half in a covered bowl as to not dry out. Continue flipping and rolling the sheet until dough is paper-thin (about 1/8 inch). Repeat with other half. Don't worry if dough sheets are irregularly shaped; just make sure they are around the same size and thickness.

Prepare filling (whatever your little heart desires) and drop spoonfuls (about one to one-and-a-half tbsp depending on the size you want your ravioli) onto one of the sheets of dough, making sure to leave enough space in between.

Paint the spaces between the mounds with leftover egg whites. This will act as glue for your pasta dough. Cover completely with second sheet of dough, pressing firmly between the mounds of filling so that each ravioli is well-sealed.

Using a knife (or ravioli cutter if your fancy), cut out ravioli into desired shape. I used an inverted glass to make circles b/c it felt fancier. Then as I continued working, I broke the glass, so that was cool. Any excess dough can be cooked and used as extra pasta or tossed, if you're a wasteful human being.

The ravioli are done! Place them on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper in a single layer and freeze them for at least 10 minutes before cooking. You can take a shower while you're waiting; I did because at this point I was covered in flour. If you are not cooking them right away, freeze them completely, then put frozen ravioli in an airtight container until ready for use. To cook, place a few at a time in boiling salted water for about four to seven minutes, until pasta is cooked through; they will rise to the top when they are ready. Toss in sauce and voila - you're a professional pasta maker.

Enjoy (preferably with someone who will appreciate all of your hard work)!

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano