|Ravioli "Love Letters"|
When I bought a ravioli maker, a new addition to my little kitchen, I had to put it to test right away. I made a dough, and went to pick up the teenager from school. When we came home, his first question was: "What are you going to do? Not the ravioli on a week day?!" See, the reason he was surprisingly confused was that we usually make ravioli on weekends, when we all gather around the table, tell stories, while filling the dough and shaping it into something resembling a traditional ravioli.
"Don't worry", I told the teenager. "I will make it myself, quick. Look what I've got!", and I proudly pulled the new ravioli maker out of a cupboard.
"If you say so", was his still suspicious reaction, and he went to do his homework (I think that's what he did. I hope).
|The dough after 30 minutes resting looks silky and is smooth to touch.|
I prepared everything on my little kitchen table, and rolled the dough. Everything went so smooth: the dough had time to rest and was elastic, easy to roll, just perfect. A first layer of pastry went on the ravioliera, then each hole was filled with a filling, covered then with another layer of dough. I haven't spent even five minutes, and I already had 12 raviolis. Almost. How little did I know!
|Too much filling... but I realized it a little later...|
When I started to roll the pin over the top to press and cut ravioli, I understood that I am in a little trouble there: apparently, I put too much filling in each hole. As I was pressing, I also was pushing the filling into another hole and all over the sides of the dough. I stopped, and called the teenager. Skipping the details of our conversation, which was quite fun, we cut each ravioli out of the press with the knife, and finished it by hands. They looked quite different from the one's pictured on the box, but edible.
|Not perfect yet...|
The next batch came out better, and by the third batch I figured out how much filling I had to put in each hole to make ravioli worth picture taking.
|And here they are!|
When the dinner was served, the husband came out of the office, smiling and holding a letter in his hands, a letter, that I wrote to him just a few days ago, just because it's a holiday season and I was all romantic and sentimental to put a few words on a piece of paper. And then it just hit me as I was looking at the letter and those rectangular shaped ravioli: they looked alike! A Love Letters Ravioli!
Ravioli "Love Letters"
For the dough:
- 3 cups semolina flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2/3 cup water (I always use a little more water for filled pasta)
- 1 lb (500 gram) ground pork
- 1 lb (500 gram) ground beef
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry dill (optional)
Combine all the ingredients and make a nice silky dough. I use stand mixer for the mixing task, then I knead the dough for about 7-10 minutes. Then I always let the dough rest wrapped in plastic film for 30 minutes.
Then give the dough another knead, and start working. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, shape it into a fist size balls, and cover to prevent from drying. Work with one cut at the time: roll it into a thin sheet size of the form, place on a raviolera, fill each hole with filling just a little bellow the edge of the hole. Cover it with another layer of rolled dough, and press with the rolling pin. Overturn the tray to remove the ravioli. Keep a small bowl with flour on your workplace to dust the table/board, rolling pin, and form.
At this stage ravioli can be frozen, or cooked in a big pot of 5 liters (about 5-6 q) of rapidly boiling salted water (1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt)
Now, there are as many opinions about how long to boil raviolis as there are ravioli makers, or eaters. Because this raviolis have raw meat filling in it, I make sure it's done by cutting one raviolo after about 3-4 minutes of boiling. We don't like our pasta overcooked, and as soon as filling is done, usually the pasta is also done. Although it does depend on how thick was the dough rolled, and on the size of ravioli.
* If semolina flour is not available, use all purpose flour. Using the semolina flour is our preference.
* You can make raviolis with any filling you wish. You can also pre-cook your meat filing by sauteing all ingredients in the skillet. The above filling is one of my men's favorite. We grind our own meat, and finish grinding with the onions, which gives a lot of flavor to the meat. Any other meat or meat combination can be used. Just experiment what you like the best.
* You don't have to have ravioli maker, you can perfectly shape ravioli by hands.
* How thin to roll the dough for ravioli? Again, there are numerous opinions, or tastes, I shell say. Paper thin is a classic, but we like a bit more pasta in our ravioli, so I roll it about 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick.
* How many ravioli to cook at one time? I cook 12-15 large size or up to 25 very small ravioli, dropping 3-4 at a time.
* Sauce or not to sauce ravioli? It is very personal, really. In our family everyone has their own way of eating ravioli: the teenager likes it with red sauce; the husband likes it either with no sauce or a little starchy water it was boiling in with butter and parsley; I can have it with a white sauce or just plain with a little pecorino romano cheese and herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil on top; our daughter likes it with a white sauce.
|Ravioli "Love Letters"|
Experiment to find a simple pleasure in making your own ravioli... :)