Adventures in ravioli-making

Chatting with a few friends on New Year’s Day, I mentioned how I had recently made a batch of homemade ravioli. And what happened next kind of took me by surprise.

“Oh, I’ve tried it. Once. And that was enough for me.”

“That was a long haul, all right.”

Admittedly, I had a clue about that already; my inspiration for trying it out came from a day my Dad spent with some colleagues making ravioli. Two kinds. But it was pretty late at night when he got home. Still, he had quite a bit of ravioli to go around, along with some homemade sauce. We tried some, and it was delicious. Even my husband, who’s not a big fan of Italian cuisine (or at least the American fare that’s frequently passed off as Italian), enjoyed the ravioli.

And so the idea was hatched to try my hand at ravioli.

The recipe for the pasta dough wasn’t anything unusual: semolina flour, eggs, olive oil, salt, and water. After it rested for a half hour, we made sheets of pasta using a pasta maker.

Having a pasta machine helps make rolling more uniform and easier to fit in the press.

Since this was our first attempt at ravioli, we just followed a very standard meat filling recipe: a little spinach, beef, pork, salami, cheese and egg.

There was so much filling, in fact, that we froze half the batch to use in a future ravioli-making frenzy.

Then came the real time-saver: a ravioli press! This metal press had raised ridges for making seams, as well as gaping holes where the dough could shape to accommodate your filling. A plastic form is laid over the metal press to indent the dough before you fill:

Just place another sheet of dough on top, roll with a rolling pin, and an easy dozen done.

There is a time element involved: where the little raviolis sit and dry a bit before cooking or freezing (which we did with about half the ravioli we made).

It took us less than a half-hour to churn out 3 dozen ravioli.

But the wait was worth it!

With a little sauce on top, and a slice of garlic toast, we're ready to eat.

The press made a big difference; I was worried about air pockets in the ravioli, but that turned out to not be the case. Now we’re scouring more recipes to find ways to fill up on squash or cheese-filled goodness. Or wild game, even! While the pasta maker retails right around $100, the press is available for under $20. And worth every penny.

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