Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Ravioli -If at first you don´t succeed try and try again

I think that nearly everyone who loves to cook—even those of us who enjoy complicated projects when the mood strikes—have a culinary kryptonite or a baking bête noir. You know, that one thing that you’ve never made because it’s intimidating or it seems overly complicated. Mine has always been ravioli. I love to eat it, but it has always seemed like . . . shall I say it, a lot of fannying about
Pasta machines give a smooth finish, which is fine, but if you’re going as far as to make your own pasta, why not go all the way? Although Italian nonnas use a long narrow pin called a mattarello,you can use any heavy rolling pin that feels right to you.Below is a recipe for a basic pasta dough but everybody has a recipe for pasta dough that works for them, so I would suggest using the recipe that you are accustomed to. Practice makes perfect.Good luck!

Makes 48 ravioli
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 


To make the dough by hand: Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface, shape into a mound, and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall and mix it with the beaten eggs. Use 1 hand for mixing and the other to protect the outer wall. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a smooth dough. Dust some flour on the work surface; knead and fold the dough until it is elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. 
To roll out the dough: Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the piece you are not using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it turning it over and rolling it again until your dough is paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick. Roll out the other half.
There are many methods for forming and cutting ravioli. You can use a ravioli cutter or a cookie cutter to form round or square ravioli. Or you can roll out strips of dough, add the filling, fold the dough over and use a pastry cutter to form the ravioli.I was recently given a ravioli press or mould.The result was an improvement on my first attempt but the thickness of my pasta dough still left a lot to be desired and I am now feeling I should give up following in nonna´s footsteps and invest in a pasta rolling machine.Nonnas have time and patience on their side - I don´t.

For Butternut Squash Filling
500g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2-3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 pinches dried thyme
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste

Place cubed squash into a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven ( 220C ) until squash is soft.While squash is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until tender, 7 minutes. Reduce heat and add in garlic. Cook 1 minute and remove from heat.
Place cooked squash, onions, garlic, and remaining ingredients into a food processor. Puree. Store in refrigerator until ready to fill raviolis.

To cook. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Drop in your raviolis and stir gently. Raviolis will be finished cooking once they float to the top. Drain and pour back into the hot pot. Place on the warm burner. (You don’t need the burner on)
To make a simple garlic cream sauce, melt some butter in with the hot raviolis {still in the same pot you used to cook them in}. Grate in a little garlic, a splash of cream, some grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two or until sauce thickens slightly. Serve immediately. (For about 12 raviolis, I used 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 large clove of garlic, 1/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper.)
My first attempt in 2013, I´ve come along way since then

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