Sunday, March 9

Ravished by Ravioli!

Homemade pasta continues its reign in my kitchen with no signs of relinquishing its new found power. I would like to be clear that the power pasta has in my home is really an illusion, as I am the ONLY queen of my kitchen, but I am content to let it rule along side me, at least for a time.
So, I was talking to my brilliant geologist friend Cassie, and after having seen the previous post on pasta, she asked if I knew how to make ravioli. Well, one thing led to another and suddenly we had a date for Saturday night to have a ravioli making evening.

Ravioli is one of those things that seems alot more intimidating than it actually is. You should know by now that I am not a fancy pants chef with a fancy pants kitchen and fancy pants accessories. I loathe watching 'chefs' who cook things that make the average person feel like they could NEVER recreate what they are making.

Food brings me joy. Finding inventive ways of preparing and creating foods makes me GIDDY.

So, that being said, you don't need a ravioli ATTACHMENT to make gorgeous ravioli. You don't need a ravioli FORM to make those tasty filled pillows of goodness.

All you need is a 2 dollar pair of crafting scissors from Hobby Lobby.

YES! CRAFTING SCISSORS. You heard it here first on the beautiful diabetic.

Let me show you just how easy making awesome looking ravioli can be! I promise you will be amazed.

So, Cassie and I decided on making two types of ravioli. One stuffed with your basic cheese mixture and the other stuffed with homemade spicy Italian sausage and mozzarella. To make the cheese stuffing, simply mix together ricotta cheese, fresh grated parmesean, fresh basil, oregano, sea salt and cracked pepper.

I try to keep things on the healthy side here on my blog, so for the Italian sausage, take a lean pork chop, trim the fat, throw it in a food processor and pulse it until it is totally mutilated.

I am all for anything that makes creating good food easier, I am not going to hand mix my Italian sausage seasonings, especially when Penzey's spices has already done it for me:

If you go to their website, you will be amazed and will end up ordering stuff. Great quality, great prices, great combinations! Check it out!

So, put the pork in a bowl, add some crushed red pepper and a tablespoon or so of the Penzey's spice mix. Use your hands to mix it up and fry it up with a little bit of olive oil, and set it to the side to cool, when it is cool add some shredded mozzarella and any leftover ricotta.

Once you have your chosen fillings ready to go, make your pasta dough. Divide it into 4 balls and roll them out into long sheets.
Take one of your pasta sheets and lay it flat on the counter top. I like to start with the cheese filling, so any of the left overs we can put into the meat mixture to give it a little moistness. So, take about a heaping teaspoon of the cheese filling and drop it on the pasta sheet, I can't really explain it well, so here is a visual:

You get the idea? Kind of make them caddy cornered to each other. Remember that you are going to need enough room between each one to cut it into ravioli!

When you have your cheese all spooned out, take another sheet of the pasta and gently lay it over the other:

Ok, so now, gently press the dough around your lumps of cheese. You want to the two sheets of dough to touch in as many places as possible. This will make your cutting easier! So, it should now look like this:

Ok. Time to grab the aforementioned crafting scissors!!! This is the fun part, if you can make a scrapbook, you can make ravioli! If you are unsure what kind of scissors I am talking about, it's these kind:

Any scissor that makes those crazy patterns will do. I have found that when you start cutting the dough, the shaped FLAT edges of the crafting scissors will actually SEAL the ravioli as you cut AND will give you cool edges!! So, pick up an end of the dough and start cutting out your ravioli!

No need to be perfect, just get one cut out and then trim the edges:

And suddenly, you have perfect ravioli:

Amazing, huh??


Just continue cutting and shaping and then repeat the whole process with your sausage and mozzarella mixture!

For the sauces, Cassie and I decided on a basic marinara sauce for the cheese ravioli and a low fat (aka totally fake and not authentic) alfredo sauce for the sausage ravioli, which is basically a dressed up bechemel sauce.

Now, bring a pot of water to a boil. I should mention that you need to give your craft scissor ravioli a once over and look for any oozers. An oozer is a ravioli who has an unsealed edge. If you don't squeeze these back together, your filling will OOZE out into the boiling water. Once the oozer check is complete, gently put your raviolis in the water:

They will not take long to cook. Basically, when they float to the top, let them cook for about 1 minute longer and then remove them with a slotted spoon.

For the cheese ravioli, top it with some marinara:

For the sausage ravioli, a little of the faux alfredo:

So, now for the all important taste test. The cheese ravioli was awesome! The combination of the marinara and the ricotta was really perfect:

Next we tried the spicy Italian sausage and mozzarella. I really was enjoying it, but then Cassie announced that it reminded her of sausage and biscuits:

Not exactly the review I was looking for, but I had to agree a little with her. There was a distinct similarity to what I was eating now and what I had eaten at Cracker Barrel on several occasions in the past.

So I think we all learned a valuable lesson here: Don't use a flour based sauce and try to sneak it over on people as a proper alfredo sauce! Just splurge and use butter and cream.

Alas, our ravioli journey has come to its end, with overall GREAT results!

And to think you thought your crafting scissors were only good for paper!!


Shannon said...

Ooh...I have crafting scissors AND I've been contemplating making a meat filled ravioli. I have excess meat leftover from a cassoulet I made that never made it into the dish, so I plan to mix it up with spices and use that as the filling.

Thanks for the scissor tip!

That dinner looked great.

Karen said...

Very impressive. :)


Patty said...

I think I have those same scissors! Maybe I will try to make some ravioli now. Your blog always makes me hungry. :)

DivaDr175 said...

Now I HAVE to get a pasta maker. I have the scissors. I even have different types of edges! Looks fabulous. Can I get the marinara recipe?

shell said...

You are so creative! I would not have thought of using craft scissors. I love seeing what you are up to.
I have a simple recipe for alfredo sauce, let me know if you want it - I love to share!

Elsie said...

Oh, what a good tip for the scissors - also love the recipe. Stay well.