Jun 1, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Homemade Raviolis

Last week, I bragged on my sister-in-law Donna's spaghetti sauce.  A very dear friend (also named Donna) showed me how to make raviolis the way she learned from her Italian mother and extended family.  I try not to think of how many years ago that's been since we stood in my mom's kitchen and made these!

Making raviolis is a labor of love, but they freeze well, so if you find yourself with an afternoon (and a few like-minded friends or family members handy), try making a batch or two.  If I mention we're having raviolis for dinner, my family's eyes light up because this is one of their ultimate comfort foods, right up there with chicken and homemade noodles, or tamales smothered in chili verde (green chili and pork stew.) 

The Other Donna's Raviolis

Filling Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canned spinach, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery  (dice it small)
1 teaspoon parsley
3 or 4 eggs (3 if large/extra large; 4 if using medium)

Pasta ingredients
5 cups flour (I use at least half semolina)
5 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Brown beef, drain.  Add other ingredients in order given and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Knead the pasta ingredients together and roll out 1/8-inch thick.  Cut into small (1 1/2-inch) circles.  Place a small amount of filling in center of each circle; fold over to form a half-circle and seal edges with a fork.  (you may need to moisten the edge with a little water to get a good seal. ) Allow to dry for a half-hour, then freeze or cook immediately.  (I place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze for an hour, then transer to plastic ziplock freezer bags in batches of 12 raviolis per bag.)  To cook, drop into boiling water and cook until done - usually about 8-10 minutes from frozen (they will float and the pasta will become al dente.)  Serve with good marinara or meat sauce.  Makes appproximately 4-5 dozen raviolis.

I confess I no longer roll mine by hand - a pasta press is a wonderful tool.  I run the pasta through to create strips that are the proper thickness, then plop on the filling; cover with another strip of dough and cut into squares instead of the cute half-moons in her original recipe.

Happy cooking!