Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Pasta

I've made pasta at home a few times before.  I feel like it is a Fall/Winter activity.  This is because it usually takes a while to make and I don't want to spend my summer hours rolling out pasta dough.  I don't mind cozying up in the kitchen with my helper when the sun goes down before I even get home from work. 


That's right, I said I had a helper!  Making pasta at home tends to be a two person job.  To keep me from making a mess of the ravioli, Boyfriend made a special appearance in the kitchen this weekend to lend a hand.  He only whined about it for a second, then he floured up and dove right in. 


Boyfriends main job was to catch the pasta dough as it made its way through the pasta maker.  If you can rope someone into helping you make pasta, it will make your recipe much easier to prepare.


I'm a big fan of storebought pastas.  These days you can get plain, whole wheat, gluten free, tricolor, herb-infused, the choices are endless.  It also helps that pasta goes on sale for a dollar a box.  When a recipe calls for penne, angel hair or rotini, I'm reaching for the pantry, not the flour bin. 


Where I think the storebought pastas are lacking is in their filled pasta selection.  Sure, you can get cheese tortellini or four cheese ravioli, but unless you want to shell out big bucks for fancy pasta you should think about making your own at home.


For todays recipe I decided to go with a sun-dried tomato ravioli, infusing both the pasta and filling with tomato flavor.  Pasta dough is really easy to make.  All you have to do is pile your flour up, make a well in the center and add your wet ingredients.  Mix your wet ingredients with a fork and slowly start to incorporate the flour.  Once the dough starts to come together, you just knead it with your hands and form it into a disk.  Just like pie dough, you let it sit for a little while and let the flour hydrate.


Once your pasta dough is rested, you get out your flattening tool of choice.  You can use a rolling pin, which was my method of choice for the first few times I made pasta.  You need to have patience and keep rolling and rolling.  The pasta will spring back each time you roll it out, gradually getting flatter. 


After making pasta a few times, I decided to get a pasta maker.  It's heavy duty and clamps onto the countertop.  The pasta maker makes it much easier to roll out the pasta to an even thickness.  I find that the pasta dough springs back less when using a pasta maker.  My machine also came with a spaghetti and linguine cutter.  There are attachments that make thicker or thinner pasta, even a ravioli making attachment.


Boyfriend and I made the ravioli by hand after rolling out the pasta.  When it comes to ravioli, I've found that it's best to roll out the pasta to the thinnest option on the machine.  You'll be putting two pieces of pasta on top of each other and the last thing you want is to bite into a thick piece of pasta.


The best thing about homemade pasta is that it takes so little time to cook!  Once the pasta was done, dinner was ready in fifteen minutes.  The sauce took a while to cook down.



One Year Ago: Parmesan Chicken with Thyme Ghocchi
Two Years Ago: Roasted Red Pepper, Leek and Potato Soup

Sun-dried Tomato Ravioli with Basil Cream Sauce
A Wilde Original

Be sure to prepare your pasta dough on a wooden surface or plastic cutting board.  Don't prepare the dough on a granite countertop because it will chill the dough too much and decrease the elasticity of the dough.

Pasta
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp olive oil
pinch salt & pepper

Filling
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 egg yolks (set 2 egg whites aside)

Basil cream sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Pour flour into a mound on your chosen surface.  Make a well in the center of the dough.  Add eggs, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the well.  Using a fork, begin to whisk the eggs with the tomato paste.  Begin to incorporate the flour into the eggs.  As the dough begins to form a shaggy mass, switch to using your hands.  Begin to knead the remaining flour into the dough, pressing with the heel of your hands.  Once all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, form it into a ball and wrap in plastic.  Set dough aside for 1 hour.

Prepare filling by mixing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set egg whites in another small bowl.

Divide the past dough in half.  Using your desired method, roll out pasta until it is almost paper thin, mine was about 1/8-inch thick.

Flour your work surface and place one sheet of pasta dough on the counter.  Add teaspoons of filling about 1-2 inches apart.  Using a pastry brush, paint around the ricotta filling with the egg whites.  Lay the second sheet of dough on top of the first.  Press the top layer of pasta onto the lower layer, trying to remove any air bubbles from the ravioli.  Cut the ravioli apart using a knife, pizza cutter or pasta cutter.  Let finished pasta rest on a baking sheet dusted with flour for about 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  As the water comes to a boil, prepare the cream sauce.  Combine basil, white wine and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour contents of the blender into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Add heavy cream and stir with a whisk.  The sauce will take about 15 minutes to reduce.  Don't be tempted to raise the heat to high, let it reduce slowly.  Once the sauce is close to your desired thickness, give it a taste.  Season with salt and pepper.

As the sauce is reducing, add ravioli to the boiling water.  Don't walk away, it won't take that long to cook the ravioli through.  Once the pasta floats to the top, it is done, this will take about 3-5 minutes.  Fish out pasta with a slotted spoon and set to drain in a colander.  Allow pasta to drain for 1 minute before serving.  Serve ravioli with basil cream sauce.
Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Leave them here!

Related Posts with Thumbnails