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The other week, I had a fun night teaching a group of teenage girls how to make ravioli! They had an absolute blast learning and making these little pockets filled with goodies. I thought I would share my teaching experience with you and, of course, provide a simple recipe to make your own at home!
After getting set up in the kitchen, I taught the girls all of the important things about making pasta from scratch, much like we discussed in this post. They all got to knead the dough and figured out that between all of them, they only needed to knead the dough ball for a little over a minute each. They also learned how the roller worked and why it was important to create layers within the dough.
I had them take turns in two groups, rolling out the dough, filling and shaping the dough. They all had such a fun time making their own ravioli. I told them the importance of salting their boiling water super well so that the pasta is seasoned and how long it ought to cook for. We had a simple tomato sauce ready for them and they got to taste what they made, with their own hands. It was such a fun night for me (I got to don on my chef clothes once again,) and the girls got to learn something not a lot of people know how to do!
Now, for you fine and lovely people, I am going to share with you some of the important tidbits of making ravioli at home.
First thing that I want to mention is the importance of the thickness of your pasta sheet. Because we’re layering the dough to make the ravioli, in order for it to be not a super thick texture, we need to roll the dough out a bit thinner than would be normal. On this round, I went down to a 7 on my KitchenAid attachment. Be sure to check your rollers settings and make sure that you’re going the second to thinnest.
The filling is just as important as the pasta dough in my eyes. Make sure you season your ravioli filling well. In this case, I made a simple ricotta cheese filling (we had a vegetarian that night) with lemon zest, parsley and salt. Make sure to taste the filling first before making your pasta to ensure that it will be flavorful and super delicious!
The spacing of your ravioli is something to consider as well. Think about how big you want them to be and space your ravioli’s accordingly. If you are using a ravioli stamp, just measure out from the center with the stamp to make sure that the filling isn’t too close to each other.
One piece of important information I have to tell you about filling ravioli:
Make sure there are no air bubbles!
How do you accomplish this? Quite simple. Once you have your dough rolled out and filling spaced apart, egg wash the outside edges of the bottom sheet, forming the shape of the pasta. Lay the top sheet on top of the filling and bottom. Then, working with your index fingers, press the dough together making sure that there isn’t space between your fingers and the filling. Meet your fingers together at the opposite side of the filling than you started from. You will have made a half circle with your fingers by doing this.
Having air bubbles gives you a false reading of when the pasta is done as the air in the filing pocket will make the pasta rise up to the top of the water before the dough has finished cooking. With no air bubbles, ravioli should only take about 3 minutes to cook or until it floats up to the top and stays up there.
When it comes to shaping your ravioli, don’t feel like you need to go out and buy a press or stamps to make awesome ravioli. You definitely can and they do look nice and save some time in the making of ravioli but are definitely not necessary. You can shape your ravioli using a pizza cutter or a good old fashion chef’s knife to cut the dough and a fork to make the crinkled edges. Be sure to not puncture holes with the fork method as that will allow water to seep into your filling, making it leak into the water and diluting the flavor.
One more tip to successfully making ravioli:
Make sure to have flour (it doesn’t have to be semolina) on the counter surface as you are filling, shaping, and cutting the ravioli so they don’t stick. There is nothing worse than making cute little raviolis that are just perfect, only to have them stick to the counter and create a hole. Then you can’t use it and everyone is sad at the disaster.
This is just the basics for making ravioli at home and I hope you have fun making them yourselves! Feel free to get creative with the fillings, as I know that a plain ricotta filling is boring. Maybe I’ll make a festive holiday one in the future; who knows?!
Happy eating everyone and enjoy!
- 1 batch pasta dough
- 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
- 1 each lemon zested
- 2 tablespoon parsley chopped
- To taste salt
Roll pasta out to thin sheets, going from second to thinnest setting on your pasta roller. Place on a semolina covered counter or baking sheet.
Mix together ricotta filling until everything is incorporated. Spoon filling on to a pasta sheet, making sure to leave enough space to properly seal filling with other pasta sheet.
Once filling has been place on the pasta sheet, using either water or an egg wash, egg wash pasta sheet, sectioning off the filling to create individual pockets. Place top sheet over and press down to seal raviolis, making sure there are no air pockets.
Using a stamp, press, or pizza cutter, cut out ravioli's and place on a flour dusted baking sheet until ready to boil. Repeat until all of the pasta dough is used up or all of the filling has been used.
Salt boiling water and gently drop raviolis into boiling water. Once they float to the top, gently scoop out with a slotted spoon, making sure the water is drained.
Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.
*during our cooking class, the girls asked if the dough scraps could be reused. We tried and there was no salvaging the scraps into making more dough.