When I was little every year we would go to visit my Italian grandmother, Nonna, up in Boston. My father came over from Italy in the 50s with his family and grew up in Boston. Despite decades living in the United States, Nonna never spoke English - she was Italian through and through, which means that she also made her own pasta until her death. I always looked forward to our trips to Boston because we were guaranteed to eat the best Italian food on our Boston trips. When it came time to leave Nonna, without fail, would pull out bags and bags of homemade raviolis for us to take back home.
When I got my pasta maker last month I immediately knew that I would be making ravioli. Last weekend, and with the help of KT, I finally got down to trying it and I personally consider my first attempt a success. Sure, my raviolis didn't look like Nonna's (Nonna's raviolis were perfect - small and plump and all of about equal size), but I'm an amateur and they were still delicious. I can't help but think she would have been proud (though she would never have said it, she was a tough lady).
Below is the run down on how to make your own ravioli - as you can see from the photos, mine are not perfect, but I don't think perfection should stop you from trying because they still tasted great. Also, I know that I have a ton of steps, but that shouldn't intimidate you, I just tried to break the process down as simply as possible.
Homemade Arugula-Ricotta Raviolis
Adapted from Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green.
Before you even start making pasta you need to have pasta flour. The pasta flour base I used required that I mix together all-purpose white flour, semolina flour, and durum flour. I bought the flours in bulk and mixed them together in a food processor. Now I have a big container of pasta flour mixed and ready for whenever.
1 lb. of Pasta Flour
1/2 lb. of all-purpose flour
1/4 lb. semolina
1/4 lb. durum flour
Once your pasta flour is set you are ready to start!
- 3/4 lb. pasta flour mix, plus an extra handful to place on the table
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2-3 tbsp. of luke-warm water
- 5 oz. arugula
- 15 oz. whole milk ricotta
- 1.5 c. parmigiano reggiano, plus more for serving
- 1/2 tsp. of black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
1. Place the 3/4 lb. of pasta flour into your food processor and pulse it to mix together.
2. In a small bowl lightly whisk together the three eggs, one egg yolk, and 2-3 tbsp. of water.
3. Start up your food processor on the dough setting and slowly add the egg mixture into the flour until the dough starts coming together. Once it becomes a bit doughy (see below) stop the food processor and remove the dough.
4. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it for a few extra minutes until it becomes a smooth ball.
5. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
6. While your dough is resting, pour a little bit of boiling water over your arugula until it wilts, then immediately run cold water over it to cool it down and keep the arugula bright green. Squeeze out the water and thinly slice the arugula.
7. In a bowl mix together your arugula, ricotta, the two eggs, parmigiano, black pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Set aside until you're ready to fill your ravioli.
8. Now that your dough has rested give it a few more kneads and then cut it into about four sections.
9. Taking one of the four sections, flatten it into a rectangular shape. Roll it through the Atlas at the 0 setting. Once it has been rolled through, fold the dough into thirds and create another little rectangle.
10. Now you're actually ready to begin rolling the dough! Starting at the 0-setting roll the dough through, increasing the dial by 1 until you reach the proper thickness. For raviolis we stopped at the 4 setting. The end result will be a very long, thin piece of dough. Cut it in half and place one sheet down on a floured surface. Place the other half aside (it becomes the top part of your ravioli).
As a side note, you want your surface to be floured but not too floured. We struggled to get the first raviolis off the table because there wasn't enough flour and then over-floured on the second round (which is why I have some whiter raviolis in the final photos!).
11. Take your filling and drop dollops (about a tablespoon) on the bottom ravioli sheet about 1.5 inches apart. This was pretty imprecise for us, and if you want to actually have more perfect ravioli you can buy a ravioli maker. We learned as we went, our first raviolis were way too far apart and had too much filling, but after one round you can really get a feel for how they should look.
12. Having placed the filling in the right places, take some water and brush it on around the edges of the pastry sheet and between the dollops - the water will help glue the two pieces of ravioli dough together. Take the second sheet of dough you had put aside and brush the entire piece with water. You can also use a spray bottle with water in it instead of a brush.
13. Place the second sheet, wet side down, over top of your raviolis. Press the dough down around your filling to try to reduce the amount of air bubbles that occur. You want to make sure that the two sheets seal together.
14. Take a pastry wheel or knife and cut the raviolis down into individual pieces.
15. Once you've cut the raviolis, set them to dry on a rack and move on to your second piece of dough, repeat steps 10-14 with the remaining sections of dough.
16. Before cooking the ravioli, pierce them with a toothpick to release any remaining air, then add them to salted boiling water and cook them for about three minutes or until al dente. Serve with a fresh tomato sauce or another sauce of your choosing.