I finally did it!
I broke out the pasta machine John got me for Christmas and made myself some pasta!
It only took 4 hours, the biggest mess I’ve ever had in my kitchen ever, and a whole lot of flour in every crevice of my body! But I did it! And then… we feasted.
But seriously – Biggest. Mess. Ever.
I love making pasta! Aside from the mess, the time, and learning that corn meal does not belong in a pasta machine, I love making pasta! I like to think the next time I tackle this flour-demon I’ll be quicker and less messy. It takes years to become efficient at quality pasta making – and I’m up for that challenge. Have you ever made your own pasta? It’s soothing, nourishing and infuriating all in the same moment.
If I was going to be honest with you, I’d have to tell you that making your own pasta takes a bit of a time investment. And as noted above, it’s also a wee-bit messy. But doll-face, it’s so worth the effort. Homemade pasta is nothing like the store bought stuff – including their “fresh” section. Look at the ingredient list and then look at this one. You can recognize everything in this recipe – all 3 ingredients; can you say the same about the store bought stuff?
It’s true, you’ll need a pasta machine to do this, but you can find a good one for under a hundred bucks and just think of the money you’ll save in the long run by making your own pasta rather than buying it. Make sure you look into it a bit though and get a good one. It’s a lifetime investment!
And if I really wanted to sell making pasta to you, I could also talk about how the flavor and texture of scratch pasta is absolutely incomparable to anything else you’ll ever eat. Seriously.
But I don’t need to tell you. You’re clever. And beautifully brilliant. I know you’ll know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t…. I’ll let the pictures convince you.
Scratch Ravioli: Lemony Ricotta, Chard & Caramelized Onion
Ingredients for Pasta:
1 Lb Tipo “00” Flour (very fine sieved flour).
Extra Flour for dusting, etc…
1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt.
5-6 Large Free-Range Organic Eggs + 2 Eggs.
Ingredients for Filling:
1/2 Large Spanish Onion, finely diced.
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled & crushed.
Big Bunch of Swiss Chard, roughly chopped.
2 C Ricotta Cheese, drained of excess liquid if very liquidy.
Handful of Parmesan Cheese, grated.
Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
What to Do:
To make the pasta: So very, very simple.
Dump the flour on the counter. Starting from the peak, take your fingers and make a well in the center, gently pushing the flour out as your hand moves in careful circles. You want to make sure you have walls all the way around.
Crack your eggs in the center of the well – this is fun! When else do you get to smash eggs on the counter??
Now, gently and patiently mix little bits of flour into the eggs until all the flour is incorporated. Use your hands.
Once all the flour is incorporated, knead the dough. Kneading is very easy and a great arm workout! Pretty much bang, massage, flip and rotate the dough until it has the consistency of play-dough all over. If it’s drier than that, add a little bit of water. If it’s too wet, add a little bit of flour. As soon as it reminds you of play-dough – smooth, elastic, firm – cut into four to eight equal sized pieces, wrap well in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
As that sets:
In a large non-stick pan, heat a couple glugs of olive oil over medium-low heat. Once hot, toss in the onion and mix to coat with the oil. Season lightly with some salt. Allow to slowly caramelize for about 20 minutes or so until golden. Set aside. In the same pan, add a little water and add the chard. Cook until tender and until moisture has evaporated. In the last minute or so, add the crushed garlic, lemon juice and zest. Cook about 1 minute or until fragrant and pull from the heat.
Puree the chard mixture in a food processor until very fine. Throw in a big mixing bowl along with the onions, Parmesan, ricotta, and a good helping of salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
Okay, pasta making time!
In a bowl mix together the final 2 eggs with a Tbsp or two of water. Set aside.
Line 2 Baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with flour. Set aside.
Remove dough from fridge. Unwrap one piece and run it through your pasta maker at the most open setting (mine is 1). Fold it in half and then again put through the machine. Repeat 6-8 times until you have a rather rectangular looking piece of dough. Flip to the next setting (2). Put through the machine. Now move to 3, then 4, etc… Until it’s thin enough that if you were to put a book or newspaper under it, you could see through it.
* If it starts getting too long to handle comfortably (see above), cut it and work with it as two pieces.
* If it seems to be getting caught in the machine and is making your strips rough, dust machine with a little flour.
Place ready strips on a very well floured surface. Work with no more than two at a time. Spoon Tbspfuls on one strip, leaving about an inch or so in between each dollop. Brush the eggwash all around the open sections of pasta. Gently place the second strip of dough over the first, pressing down at the base of each filling outward, making sure to eliminate all air bubbles. Cut each ravioli out and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and begin with the next piece of dough.
Once all the dough has been filled and assembled, you can let the pasta sit for a while if it isn’t time to eat yet, freeze it, or you can cook inmediatamente:
Heat a big pot of salted water over high heat. When boiling, add pasta – careful not to crowd them too much – and cook until el dente, approx 3-4 minutes. Drain and serve with sauce of your choice – in my case, I used some Saucy Tomato Sauce topped with a good helping of finely grated Parmesan, though brown butter, a cream sauce, or whatever else tickles your fancy would work just fine as well.