The Making of Ravioli

The history of ravioli throws up many theories related to the invention of the ravioli. The one that I found quirky is that the dish was first invented by Genovese sailors who would wrap the leftover portions of their meals, within a dough pocket in order to add some additional variety to the typical sailor’s diet. I cannot vouch for its authenticity but is sure a good dinner time story for the truant child…………

Making of the dough
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
1egg, lightly beaten
In a food processor, combine flour, 2 eggs, and salt. Cover and process until well mixed. If necessary, with processor running, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water through feed tube until mixture forms a dough- though avoidable. Remove dough and shape into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough about 1 minute or until smooth. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into four portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 12-inch square. (If using a pasta machine, pass each portion through machine according to the manufacturer’s directions until dough is 1/16 inch thick.)


Pocket Squares or ravioli finishing touches on the pan

Pocket Squares or ravioli finishing touches on the pan

Allow the dough to rest for at least half an hour.
Always wrap the dough in plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out
When you start rolling out the dough using a pasta machine, first work it through the widest setting 5-10 times, folding it in half after each passage, until the dough becomes even more smooth and elastic
If the dough seems too sticky while you are rolling it out, dust it lightly with flour;
If the sheet of dough becomes too long when you are rolling it out to such a thin setting, cut it in half and finish rolling out the two pieces separately.
When tasting the filling for ravioli, you should always season it slightly more than seems right. This is because the flavor will be ‘diluted’ by the pasta that will surround it.
Refrigerate the filling for a while. The filling will become firmer and easier to handle. When the ravioli are cooked, the filling will become creamy again.

How to make it

Arrange a sheet of pasta on a floured work surface (to prevent the sheet from sticking to the work surface). The sheet of pasta should be about 10 cm (4 inches) wide and (approximately) rectangular. Do not dust the top of the sheet with flour, this should remain slightly sticky.
Arrange small heaps (teaspoon-sized) of filling on the sheet of pasta dough, just off-center, with about 2-3 cm (1 inch) space in between. You can do this either with two spoons, your fingers, or a piping bag.
If the dough is slightly sticky there is no need to moisten with water. If however the dough is too dry, moisten the edge as well as between the heaps of filling.
Fold over the sheet of dough. Now lightly stroke (‘caress’) each heap of filling, working from the top to the sides, to ‘massage’ out any trapped air…pushing down firmly when you reach the part where there is no more filling and two layers of dough are touching. Repeat this with all the heaps of filling, making sure not to trap any air in between the two sheets of dough. Using a scalloped pastry wheel serves two purposes: it will make the ravioli look pretty and because of the ‘bluntness’ of the wheel it will help sealing the ravioli. It is important not to leave too much ‘skirt’ around the filling, about 4 mm (1/6 inch) is sufficient, as otherwise the ravioli will end up looking out of balance (taking into account that the dough will expand when it is cooked).
You can gather all the scraps of dough that you cut off, knead them briefly, and use the dough to make more ravioli, or gather all the scraps and eat them the next day with a simple tomato sauce and burrata.
Turn the ravioli (5 minutes on each side) to dry. You can dust it with little semolina as well so that they do not stick.
Bring water to boil in a pot with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of oil and put the ravioli ( One litre of water for 08 Ravioli) in boiling water to cook.
Because the dough is so thin, ravioli take only 1-2 minutes to cook in ample boiling salted water. If you cook them for too long, they may start leaking and the pasta will become too soft. Trick is to allow it to boil and float to the top.

When draining the ravioli, be careful not to break them. For this reason, I prefer to lift the ravioli out with a strainer and gently lower them into the sauce or place them on a plate and pour the sauce over the ravioli.

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