Homemade pasta, yum! I used to make a lot of raviolis when Simon and just got married but somehow after the kids were born and almost 5 years on, I never got round to making them again. The other day, I had the sudden urge to make some as those we get in the shops here in Shanghai are rather expensive and 1 pack is not enough!
Somehow there is something about the kneading of the dough and the whole process that just makes it so fulfilling.
It’s quite easy really and ingredients are simple. Thought I’d share this…
For the pasta:
3 cups flour*
3 whole eggs
1/4 tsp salt
For the ravioli filling:
1 container of Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or any cheese I think also works)
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped and cooked spinach
salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
2 tbsp butter
1-2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1-2 bacon strips
1 pack of cream
salt and pepper to taste
*Tipo 00 flour is perfect because it yields soft pasta dough but I cannot buy it here in Shanghai so I usually just get a local flour esp. for making Chinese dumpling’s ‘skin’.
- Make a well in your flour and add in the eggs and salt into the well.
- Mix all ingredients together with your hand. You can either mix these directly on a floured surface or in a bowl and then tip onto the floured surface.
- Knead until the dough becomes a soft solid mass; add water if too dry and add flour if too sticky. Add only in small increments until you reach the right form.
- Do not hesitate to knead as much as possible; the softer the dough the better.
- Wrap in a plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for half an hour.
- After which it is now ready to be kneaded and formed. Unwrap and divide/cut into 4 parts.
- Rewrap the other 3 parts.
- Take 1 part and knead a bit and then flatten it a bit with your hand.
- Run this through the pasta machine. Make sure it is set to the smallest number (widest) size.
- After it has been ran through once, the dough will become slightly flatter and longer.
- Fold the dough into 3 and then run it through the machine again at the same settings. Do this 3 times.
- Next adjust the settings on the pasta machine up one notch (so from 1 we now move it to 2) which will make the dough longer and flatter.
- Continue adjusting the settings up 1 number after the dough has been ran through.
- On my machine, setting 6 is the right size for making fettucine and linguini type of pasta so stop here if you want and then run the dough through the ‘noodle maker’ clamps. If you are making ravioli, sometimes I go up to setting 7 to make the dough slightly thinner. You would need to experiment.
- Mix all ingredients for filling and season to taste.
- To make the ravioli lay your pasta dough on a floured surface. Cut in half.
- Put small amounts of filling on one of the pasta dough. Make sure you leave enough space in between. Try to also make the fillings a bit rounder.
- Use a pastry brush and lightly brush with water the pasta dough, in between the fillings. You need to work quickly because the water will dry quickly.
- Quickly place the other pasta dough on top of the one with the fillings.
- Gently press down in between the fillings to make sure both top and bottom adheres together so the fillings won’t come out.
- Next, cut up the raviolis either with a sharp knife or with a ravioli cutter.
- Let dry on a floured tray. Sprinkle some more flour on top. Approx. 30 mins to an hour.
- Cook same method as other pasta except fresh pasta noodles only require 3-4 mins to cook. Fresh raviolis only require 5-6 mins to cook.
For the sauce:
- Sauteed garlic in butter making sure it doesn’t burn.
- Add chopped bacon.
- Pour in the cream and cheese.
- Season to taste.
Serve over freshly cooked ravioli.
Variations and tips:
- You can make coloured pastas by adding spinach (for green ones like above), tomato paste (for reddish colour), herbs, crushed black pepper, and etc.
- Sauce should be simple to bring out the flavour of the ravioli.
- Freeze extra raviolis for another day. I usually keep them in the tray and put them in the freezer. Once frozen (about 1 hour), I store them in plastic bags with ziplock.
- I also freeze fresh pasta noodles the same method as the ravioli except I ‘whirl’ small servings similar to this, on the tray and then pop into the freezer then store into plastic bags.
- Make sure you sprinkle enough flour so the pieces don’t stick together.
Just for reference, here are links to what the tools I have look like:
- Pasta machine – mine looks similar to this though not same brand.
- Ravioli trays – not necessary. I have something similar to these but I cannot seem to cut up the pieces on the ridge. So the method I used above is quicker.
- Ravioli cutter – works best. Here you will see some examples and types of cutters or stamps.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is something I did not explain right. I don’t usually get to take photos during the making so I’ve tried to write the instructions as clearly as I can…