One of the first things I made when I had my little studio apartment was fresh pasta. I was completely amazed that something that I had absentmindedly purchased at the store so often was actually quite easy to make at home. The basic premise is this: flour, eggs, water. And not too much of them. Then a floured surface and some diligent rolling with a rolling pin and a sharp knife. Into boiling, salted water and KABAM! Deliciousness.
Fresh pasta takes much less time to cook, and tastes incredible. You forgo all the junk they put in dried (and even “fresh”, refrigerated pasta) to keep it from spoiling on the shelves. Fresh pasta freezes and dries well, but it’s so good that you may just eat it all in one sitting!
Recipe 16: Homemade Pasta-Stained-Glass Ravioli
Note: This recipe is from Cook with Jamie, by Jamie Oliver and The Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary edition. I always look to these books when I need inspiration.
(Yields 1/2 lb dough)
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour, sifted onto a clean work surface.
- 1/3 cup large eggs, about 1 egg and 1 white.
- pinch of salt
- Fresh herbs for the dough and the filling. About 2 tbsp loosely packed.
- 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
- 1 tbsp or more of parmesan cheese.
Create a well in the flour and put your eggs and your pinch of salt in the well. Gently whisk the eggs with a fork and use your fingertips to combine the eggs with the flour until you have a shaggy mass of dough. Start kneading, adding flour if it’s too sticky. Knead until smooth, then wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Clean and lightly flour your surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. Flip, and roll out wider. Repeat this until you can barely see newsprint through your dough (it’s paper thin!).
Then, locate an axis of symmetry. Spray one half of the dough with a spray bottle and sprinkle most of the herbs onto it. Fold the other side over and roll out thin again. Find another axis of symmetry and this time, cut along that line. Arrange your filling in about 1 tsp size dollops and make sure they’re an inch apart. Use a wet pastry brush or paint brush (or your fingertips) to make a grid pattern around the filling. This will act as a sealant. Pull the other sheet over the filling squares and use the paintbrush or your fingers to press along the grid. Pierce each center with a fork to release air and cut along the grid. Crimp the edges with a fork and bring your salted water to a rolling boil. Cook your pasta for 2-3 minutes until it floats to the top.