I am officially obsessed with handmade pasta! You need only a few simple ingredients and the combinations of flavors, herbs, spices, and fillings you can add are endless. The kids love cranking out the pasta into sheets, and noodles, and cutting ravioli shapes. Here’s some ravioli we made with my favorite red sauce:
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 5 large eggs
- 3 ½ cups (14 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus any additional needed for dusting/kneading
- 1 container ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- optional: grated cheese for topping
- Red Wine Marinara Sauce
WHAT YOU DO:
STEP 1. MAKE THE DOUGH
MIX: Mound the flour in the center of your work surface. Using your hands, make a well in the middle that will be wide enough and deep enough to hold 4 eggs. Add 4 eggs (save 1 egg for the filling), and add any optional liquids or flavoring (for example chopped spinach, or ½ cup dry white wine, and/or herbs and spices such as basil or parsley). Using a fork, beat the eggs (and any liquids/flavors). Gradually incorporate small amounts of flour from the sides of the well as you go, until all the flour is mixed in. This will be a lumpy mess, but the next step will take care of that.
KNEAD: Knead for 3 minutes or so. If the dough is really sticky, add a little more flour. The dough should be slightly springy and just a tiny bit sticky. Knead for 10 additional minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Wrap ball-shaped dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, for an hour or so.
STEP 2. WHILE THE DOUGH RESTS, MAKE THE FILLING
In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 lightly-beaten egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
STEP 3. After dough has rested, roll into sheets. I used a hand-crank pasta machine, but you could use a rolling pin and flour as well.
Place dough sheets on work surface and place dollops of ricotta cheese every few inches. Wet the dough with a few drops of water around each cheese, then place a second dough sheet on top, and seal with your fingers. I used a cutter to cut out square shapes (a roller tool or knife would work well too). If you want to get really gadget-y (ha) I have also seen molds/forms for homemade ravioli.
STEP 4. COOK
Bring 6-8 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta, and boil until firm but not mushy (fresh pasta only takes a few minutes). Drain and serve with red wine marinara sauce.