Pasta making at home seems like a daunting task, but with a minimum of two ingredients, that couldn’t be further from the truth. At its simplest, pasta dough is but egg and flour, one binds to the other to create a sticky, dense dough. Some recipes call for olive oil, others for salt, some for both—they affect texture and flavor but are by no means necessary. Start simple, learn what consistency of pasta dough you prefer, then explore, manipulate, and taste from there.
With pasta dough down pat, ravioli are a logical next step. Those small parcels of flavor, can lean delicate or robust. Make them at home and decide for yourself where on that spectrum they fall. Our contributor, Emiko, had this to say about the process: “Don't be daunted by the thought of making your own ravioli. It's really pretty straightforward, if a tad fiddly your first time. If you don't have a pasta machine, just use a rolling pin—you'll need a bit more elbow grease, but it works just fine. Also, enlist the help of someone else—if you've got four hands, then it's much easier to prepare the dough, not to mention quicker and more fun.”
Keep her advice in mind as you begin. The beauty of ravioli is that there are three avenues for flavor: the dough, the filling, or the sauce. Bend any, or all three, to your whims. For an extra convenient twist, make a bunch of ravioli and store them well wrapped in your freezer for up to a month. I'd recommend freezing them first spread out on a sheet pan, then combining them in a bag or storage container once they're frozen to avoid sticking. They’ll last a while in the confines of your freezer and when you’re ready, pop them directly into boiling water for a quick but surprisingly decadent dinner. You'll know they're ready when they float to the top. Here are a few iterations of the pasta bound packages to carry you through the week.
Fold pureed beets into the ravioli dough for a bright and exciting exterior.
These casunsei opt for beets in the filling. The colorful stuffing has a stunning effect. Valentine's Day, anyone?
Bathe your ravioli in broth for a soupy, comforting feel.
Ricotta fillings provide a firm but pillowy texture. Fill these, then freeze them to enjoy later.
Citrus brings an unexpected levity to this inspired take.
What's your ravioli of choice? Let us know your favorites in the comments.