I got this ravioli press awhile ago, and as with many things, it sat unused for some time, despite my best intentions.
But I did get around to it eventually, and we recently enjoyed some homemade ravioli. Happily, it’s a pretty easy process, and the end result beats the frozen stuff hands down. Happilier, you don’t even need the press; you can get by with nothing more than a sharp knife (or this pastry cutter if you really want the ruffled edges).
Like I said, the process is simple. Whip up a batch of your world-famous pasta dough, then let it rest for a bit.
While the dough rests, you’ll want to make a filling. For this batch, I halved and baked a small winter squash (something with dryish flesh will work best) for about 45-50 minutes at 400 F (give or take, depending on the size).
When it finishes baking, remove the seeds, if you haven’t already, and scoop out the flesh. Mix this with a little salt, pepper, sauteed garlic, sage, and/or ricotta. You want a thick but smooth filling to work with. Set that aside and get back to the dough.
Start to roll the dough out into sheets (as I referenced in the original post, I have a basic pasta machine, but a rolling pin works fine). If you’re using the press, make sure that the sheets cover it completely, with a little extra on each side. If you’re not, you can be a little more flexible.
Once you have your sheets rolled out, you can proceed in a couple directions.
Lay one sheet of pasta over the ravioli maker, then using the press, push the dough down to make the little divots. Spoon a little filling into each of these divots. Note: start small with the amount of filling; I overfilled the first couple, since it may look like there’s more room than there actually is. If you do too much, it’ll squirt out the sides when you put the top on and just cause general havoc.
When everything is filled, lay the next sheet of pasta over the top, then roll over the top gently with a rolling pin until the metal starts to show through the dough. At this point, the instructions say you can simply flip the ravioli maker over and everything should fall out nicely. I had to coax a few out, but if everything falls out nicely, good for you.
Lay one sheet out on the counter. Place spoonfuls of filling evenly across the pasta. Gently lay the other sheet on top of the first (it may help to brush a bit of water between the scoops of filling before you put the second one down; this makes the pasta sheets adhere better).
Press the second sheet down firmly into the first around the mounds of filling until everything’s nice and stuck together. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut out individual ravioli. These will look more rustic than the ones made with a press, but I promise they’ll be just as delicious.
When you’re ready, place the ravioli into a pot of lightly salted boiling water. They should cook quickly, maybe a few minutes. They’ll float when they’re done. Top with melted butter, tomato sauce, or another sauce of your choosing.
Feel free to experiment with fillings: meats, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, cheeses… just note that you’ll always want something fairly dry. If you have too much excess liquid, the edges may have a hard time sealing, or the pasta may simply fall apart.