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Fresh Ravioli questions

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I want to try to make some fresh Ravioli for a special at work later this week(thinking King Crab and Spinach)

Got any ideas or pointers for making them?

TIA

Billy brose@technonet.com
post #2 of 4
Do you have pasta experience? Ravioli is pretty time-consuming.

Allow 1/2 cup flour per person for the dough when you make ravioli, depending on the filling.

Prepare your filling first and refrigerate. Filling should be of cooked meat or vegetables (not raw, but thawed frozen chopped spinach is ok), processed and seasoned, with bread crumbs (or some other filler) and egg to stabilize it. I like a filling you can poach into a dumpling without completely dissolving-that way you won't lose any leakers in the cooking liquid. Also, they stay attractively plump when cooking, rather than deflating. (If you've never made raviolis before, you should expect some leakers 'til you get the hang of it. There's a learning curve here...) Ricotta cheese filling should be stabilized with egg and flour. For a couple of good fillings, see my recent post under "gnocchi". That spinach-ricotta filling would be great with crabmeat added, and maybe a little crab base instead of salt. Also an Italian favorite is ricotta, sweetened with a little sugar and a touch of cinnamon. A bit unusual in this country, but my daughter pronounced it the best ravioli she had ever had.

I put all-purpose flour and eggs in my KitchenAid stand mixer, turn it on and dribble in water until it starts to form a ball. Then switch to the dough hook and mix at least 5 minutes. Dough should be firmer than a bread dough, or you will find it difficult to handle.

Do you have a pasta machine? I'll assume you do, because I don't do it any other way. I have a Trattorina I recommend highly. I much prefer it to the small one I had before, even with the motor unit it was slower and the narrow sheets were not wide enough to make ravioli on a frame.

Dump the dough onto a floured board and shape into a long flat piece. Put the pasta dough through the machine at its widest. Folding lengthwise, then crosswise, continue feeding through until the dough is a smooth sheet. Sprinkle with flour as necessary. To get the maximum width for your ravioli making, make sure that at the last pass the sheet is almost as wide as the rollers.

Now move the rollers closer one setting at a time and feed the dough through until it is at the lowest setting. As the dough grows, you will need to divide it into sections. The thinner the dough, the more delicate the ravioli, but if it's too thin, it will take forever to make them. If you are doing fine dining and your clients want the best and are willing to pay for it, this is fine, but otherwise, it should be a little thicker than paper-thin. Sheets double up when you form the raviolis, so it's probably a good idea to cook the first few you make so you can make needed adjustments.

Ravioli on a frame
Frames are great, they make very attractive uniform raviolis (especially the triangular and flower-shaped ones), and only cost about $15. On the downside, you may need to buy them over the Internet, and a small pasta machine may not make dough sheets wide enough for one. Sprinkle your frame with flour, drape a pasta sheet across the frame, dimple the filling dents, and brush with water until damp. Pipe in just enough filling so you can flatten it flush with the surface of the dough. Don't overfill! Drape another sheet across, press lightly to seal, then run a small rolling pin over. Some ravioli frames are deep enough to cut apart the raviolis so you can pop them out. Others only form zigzag lines on the dough, so I flip the dough out on a board and cut it with a wavy pastry wheel. Spread the raviolis on a sheet pan dusted with flour.

To make large hand-cut raviolis, lay out your pasta sheet on a floured surface, brush with water to dampen, and pipe or drop uniform-sized globs of filling on it. Cover with another sheet, pressing to seal from the center out. Or place the filling along the center of a narrower strip, then fold it over to seal the opposite edge. Press firmly to seal. Cut with a wheel, a ravioli cutter, or a cookie cutter.

You can also cut your dough into squares or circles and fill them afterwards. Dust with flour as you go so the stack doesn't stick together, then when you are ready, lay them out in a single layer, dampen, fill, fold and seal.

If you're not going to use them the same day, freeze them immediately, then dump the frozen ravioli into a freezer bag or container to store. Homemade egg pasta dough gets green streaks in it after a day or two, very unappetizing. I wouldn't keep them more than a couple of weeks, as they do dry out in the freezer after that.

I don't recommend using a ravioli attachment with your machine. I have one, and I've used it. They take lots of filling, so that'll add $$$ to your prep. It's the delicate handmade raviolis that are so impressive, anyway.

After you've gone to all this trouble, serve your raviolis with olive oil or butter and cream, with a grating of fresh parm or asiago. No fancy sauce! You don't want to hide your hard work.

Did I forget anything? :p
post #3 of 4
I think you covered everything Katherine, however, if you are making a seafood ravioli you (traditionaly) wouldn't serve it with any cheese.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Katherine.

Thanks for the info.
I dont have a pasta machine,but got way to much time on my hands--so I will be doing it the old fashioned way.

As for the sauce,I am going to use a Sundried Tomato and Basil cream sauce.I use this on my Ramano crusted Tuna and it is such a hit at the Resturant I work at.

The King crab is going to be the left over little knuckle pieces that we really cant serve to a customer.Gota keep the food cost down somehow.

Thanks again for all the info.

Billy brose@technonet.com
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