Note: The pasta portion of this recipe can be used for all kinds of pasta like, Ravioli, Lasagna, Fettucini, Spaghetti and more :-)
Pour (4) cups of flour right onto the counter. The proper way to make home-made pasta is to mix the pasta right on the counter. I know this to be true because that's how my grandma and mom did it :-)
Important note about the flour: Be careful not to pack the flour. If you don't have a large flour container, you need to pour the flour into a large bowl and scoop out flour from that. Do not try to scoop flour out from the bag, you may end up packing the flour as a result. If you have the flour in a large container of some sort you can fluff up the flour by taking your 1 cup measuring scoop and scoop up and drop the flour several times thus adding some air into the flour, then lightly scoop up 1 cup piled to overflowing and with the back of a butter knife, scrape off the excess, leaving you with a perfect measurement. Do not tap the cup or shake it because again, this can pack the flour. You want to keep the flour nice and fluffy.
Crack (4) eggs into a bowl and lightly beat the eggs. Do not add any seasoning at this point, no salt or pepper like you might want to put in.
Make a well in the pile of flour you now have sitting on the table. Think of it as a nice little nest for the eggs. You will then slowly and carefully pour the eggs into the well you made in the center of the flour pile. (The step by step photos will visually explain all of this for you)
Now, after you have poured the eggs into the pile of flour you will want to slowly start pushing the edge of the flour pile into the center and on top of the eggs while slowly mixing it all together. This will get messy. At one point the egg pool will break through the flour wall and ooze out onto your counter. You have to be quick at this point and scoop the egg back over towards the flour pile while constantly trying to mix it all together with your hands. This is a very messy process but don't worry about it, just get messy. You will need to view the step-by-step photo to fully understand how this works. You are going to be working with this pile of goo for a while. Keep working at it trying to get it all to stick together. After few minutes of working with the egg and flour you will want to add in the 1-1/2 tsp. of salt, work some more....
Note: Most people use a fork for the above process but I like to use my hands for this because that is how grandma did it!
Then add in the 2 tsp. of Olive Oil, work some more and then add the 2 tsp. of warm water and work with the dough some more. You will notice when you add a little bit of water the dough will get slimy and sticky, this is okay, just keep working with it, you will find it will get smooth and elastic.
At this point you will now be ready to start kneading the dough. You are going to have to use some muscle! You will need to knead the dough for a good 10 - 20 minutes. (All depends on humidity and temperature of the room) You are really going to have to work hard at this point and you will probably break a sweat! Don't just use your fingers to knead the dough. You have to use the whole palm of your hand with your other hand on top of that using a lot of force as you press down. Fold over and press again. You can even slap the dough hard down onto the counter and fold again and push again, repeating this over and over until you get a nice smooth elastic dough ball. You may have to add more than the 2 tsp. of warm water that is mentioned in the ingredient measurements, (for the Raviolis you see in the photos I used a total of approximately 4 tsp. of water). Just remember when you add more water, add just a little at a time. When your dough ball is ready it should have a nice smooth feel and be elastic to the touch, meaning you can press into it with your thumb and the indentation will bounce back up about half way or more. Getting the dough ball right is the most important part of this recipe.
Now you are going to make the Ravioli filling. Get a large bowl and put the following items into the bowl; 1 lb. Ricotta Cheese, (1) Egg, 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese, 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (finely chopped), a dash of coarse ground black pepper and 1 tsp. Sweat Basil (grind the basil up in the palm of your hand and then put it in the mix). Now mix this up well with a fork then set this Ravioli filling aside to use later. You can get very creative with this filling adding Spinach and all kinds of yummy stuff, but for now lets stick with this simple Ricotta cheese filling I have spelled out.
Now you will work with the pasta machine. For some helpful tips on how to use a pasta machine, check out this page from the italian-americans.com website: (How to use a Hand Cranked Pasta Machine). You will need to roll out your dough ball so that you have a large amount of dough flattened down to 1" high. Then you will cut strips of dough that will be 3-1/2"x1"x1" in size. Pinch one end of the rectangular pasta dough strips that you created so it will catch in the rollers. This is important. Set your flat pasta roller setting to "7", run it through, and then set it to "3" and run it through again and this will be the perfect thickness for Ravioli. Be sure to check the photos in regards to this process. They will help you better understand this process.
After you have the Ravioli pasta strips all rolled out and ready to work with you will want to start making each Ravioli by hand. This is a lot of work, but it's how grandma did it and you will be rewarded with the best Raviolis you ever had, so persevere! Here is the process of the creation of one Ravioli: Take a precut rectangle of pasta dough (approximately 2-1/4" wide and 3-1/2" long), drop 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. of filling onto one end of the rectangle while leaving ample space on all sides of the filling so the ends can be sealed together. Fold it over, then squeeze the edges together with your fingers being sure that there is no filling oozing out anywhere, then with a fork, press hard on the two sides basically fusing the pasta together creating a water tight seal. You don't want the filling to fall out while you are boiling the Raviolis. Walla! You now have one Ravioli. Just do this 99 more times and your ready to cook :-) So you finish making all the Raviolis and you have a table full of Raviolis drying on the table waiting to be cooked. I then take some cookie sheets, put wax paper on them and put all the pre-made Ravioli on these sheets so I can clear off my table.
Before I do any cooking. I let the Raviolis sit on the counter while I get the kitchen all cleaned up and the table all set and ready to go. Once you start the Raviolis cooking you need everything ready to go, you want to serve these very fresh from the pot. Be sure to have the sauce ready that you want to use. You can use a nice Alfredo sauce or a nice red sauce. For the red sauce I, of course, recommend Anthony's Pasta Sauce and Meatballs :-) I usually have a nice red sauce with these Raviolis. I don't have a recipe for Alfredo sauce on the site yet, but all you use for Alfredo sauce is, Half and Half cream, Butter, Parmesan, Parsley and Course ground black pepper. Some of each, mix it up, heat it up, and pour it on the Raviolis.. so good!
Cooking the Raviolis: Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and drop in your Raviolis, cook for about 10 minutes. Do not pour out the water and ravioli's into a strainer, they might fall apart. Gently take the Ravioli's out of the water with a slotted spoon. Place them on a plate and quickly pour your desired sauce on them. Serve immediately! EnJoY!
Anthony's Hot Basil Oil Recipe
Here is a quick recipe for a nice hot oil I like to use on these Raviolis from time to time. You can also use this over Spaghetti. Ingredients are as follows:
1/2 Cups Virgin Olive Oil
3 Large Garlic Cloves finely chopped.
5 Slices of Jalapeno's peppers and 2 Tbs. of Jalapeno's pepper juice directly from the jar of sliced Jalapeno's.
A Dash of Cajun seasoning.
A dash of Garlic powder
2 tsp. of Sweet Basil
1 tsp. of Oregano
Salt and coarse ground black Pepper.
Crushed Red Pepper to taste... (This really gives it a kick!)
Heat the garlic and olive oil in a sauce pan until you see bubbles on the edges of the garlic, then add in the rest of the ingredients and cook on very low heat for about 5 minutes. Heat the garlic and olive oil in a sauce pan until you see bubbles on the edges of the garlic, then add in the rest of the ingredients and cook on very low heat for about 5 minutes. Be sure to stir this concoction often while heating. Turn off heat and let this sit for a good 30 minutes or so, reheat when ready to serve. When you serve this, just pour it over the Raviolis (mix well before pouring) and then add some fresh grated Parmesan and a little bit more fresh ground black pepper... Wow that's good! Careful, it will have a little kick!
Leftovers: These Raviolis are great for leftovers. The Raviolis that you don't cook you can freeze. This is what I do for freezing. Get a cookie sheet and two pieces of wax paper. Place one sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet, then Raviolis on the wax paper then another sheet of wax paper on top of that and place it in the freezer for a couple of hours. After a couple of hours in the freezer on the cookie sheet I take them off the sheet and place them in a large freeze ziplock bag and date the bag and throw them back in the freezer.
That's it! You're done..... Easy as Pie!
Ravioli Recipe Photo Gallery
I absolutely love these videos. Here we see an awesome technique for rolling out past dough by hand!
I have placed some photos below of the whole family making homemade Raviolis together! Great fun!
Get the whole family involved with the cooking, so many memories and much fun to be shared in the kitchen!