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.
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- Water, if needed
- 1 small/medium butternut, kabocha, or other firm, dry winter squash.
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh or dried sage
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, optional
- Make a mound with the flour on the counter, and create a crater in the middle.
- Break the eggs into the crater, then, using a fork, gradually work the eggs into the flour.
- Add a pinch of salt, then knead the dough for several minutes or until smooth. Add small amounts of flour or water if the dough is too sticky or dry.
- Form the dough into a ball and let it rest, covered, for a good hour or so.
- While the dough is resting, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, then bake at 400 F for about 45 minutes, testing periodically with a fork for doneness (it may finish sooner, depending on the size of the squash).
- Scoop the cooked flesh out of the squash, then in a bowl, combine with salt, pepper, sage, maple syrup, and ricotta. Mix well - you should end up with a fairly smooth, fairly dry filling.
- Using a pasta machine or rolling pin, roll the dough into sheets.
- Lay one sheet onto the base of a ravioli maker. Using the press, gently push down on the pasta to create small divots.
- Fill each divot with 1-2 tsp of filling, being careful not to overfill (you'll learn from experience).
- Lay another sheet of pasta on top, and with a rolling pin, gently roll over the entire thing until the metal starts to show through the pasta. Flip the ravioli maker to remove the ravioli.
- Cook in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, or until they float.
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