Four sisters and our mom. Each month one of us comes up with a topic and we all create something based on that topic. Whether we cook, sew, crochet or design, it's up to us. With five very different personalities and areas of expertise you're bound to see some interesting creations.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
You guys weren't really going to let me get away with posting about pretzels for Italian week, were you? Well, I tried something that I've never ever tried before and I'm so glad that I did.
But first, I have to tell you about my morning. The girls woke up earlier than I did. Not good. They were kind of quiet. Also, not good. I went upstairs and saw Stella sitting at her computer with a big pile of hair on the floor behind her. Especially not good. But Stella wasn't missing any of her short curls. I could see Mabel hiding behind the clothes hanging on my drying rack along with another pile of hair. When I asked her what she was doing she said, "I just want to be like Stella". That melted my heart into an ooey-gooey mess. And then she crawled out sporting the most amazing mullet I've ever seen. I cleaned it up a bit and cut off the tail and she looks adorable. After a long look in the mirror, she said "I look like Rapunzel!" And I completely agree.
A friend of mine was telling me last week about a cooking workshop she went to and learned how to make ravioli. What perfect timing!
The pasta dough took only three ingredients, eggs, flour and a pinch of salt. The tricky part was mixing it because it is a very dry dough.
Shape the flour and salt into a little mound and make a little well in the middle for the eggs.
Using your fingertips, work the flour into the eggs.
I'm sure that there is a machine out there that can do this better than I can.
You just have to believe that at some point it will all come together. Don't give up!
Knead for 10 minutes until it is smooth then wrap in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Make the filling.
Cut the dough into two pieces and roll out very thinly. The sheets should be nearly transparent after rolling.
I know that there is a machine for this. If you've got one, use it. Otherwise, use wax paper on top and bottom and get out your rolling pin.
Choose the smallest pasta sheet and brush with a beaten egg.
Drop teaspoon sized amounts of filling on the sheet. Space about 1-inch apart.
Top with the remaining sheet.
Gently finger-press the air bubbles out from around the filling and seal the spaces in between.
Aren't they cute?
Cut into individual raviolis. I used my pizza cutter.
Raviolis can be cooked immediately or frozen for later.
Drop ravioli into large pot of boiling water with 2 tablespoons of salt and cook until al dente.
My pasta sheets might have been a little on the thick side so mine took longer to cook. Wait until they all start floating and then nibble the side of one to test for doneness.
Gently toss with a nice sauce and sprinkle with freshly ground romano cheese.
I tried to do everything from scratch and make my own sauce from fresh tomatoes, but tomatoes are way too much work.
Serve with bread sticks baked with butter and parmesan cheese then sprinkled with mozzarella.
1. Make the dough: Mix the flour and salt on a counter and shape into a mound. Make a well in the center and add the eggs to the well. Using your fingertips, work the flour into the eggs, theng ather into a dough and knead by hand; add a little water if the dough is too dry or a little flour it if it too moist. Knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth, then shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, and let rest 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and adjust the salt to taste if needed. Set aside.
3. Assemble the ravioli: If you have a pasta machine, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping the others covered, roll each piece out into a thin sheet using a pasta machine; the sheets should be nearly transparent after rolling. Be sure to lightly dust the sheets of pasta with flour every time you roll them through the pasta machine or they may stick or tear.
If you do not have a pasta machine then cut the dough into two pieces, and place one piece at a time between wax paper sheets and roll into a thin sheet. And be grateful for the arm workout you are about to receive.
4. Brush one of the sheets lightly with the egg wash. Arrange the filling in small mounds about 1 inch apart on the sheet you just brushed with egg. Top with the remaining sheet. Use our hands to press out any air pockets around the filling and seal the edges well. Cut into squares. Spread the ravioli out on a lightly floured tray in a single layer and refrigerate until needed, covered with a clean, dry towel. Alternatively, ravioli can be frozen by placing ravioli in a single layer on a wax paper lined tray. Once frozen, store ravioli in a resealable freezer bag.
5. Cook the ravioli: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in the ravioli and the 2 tablespoons of salt and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Remove to a heated platter with a slotted spoon. Gently toss the ravioli with prepared tomato sauce and sprinkle with Romano. Serve immediately.