Making ravioli is an absolute pain in the ass, there’s no way around it. But if during Christmas break you have a few hours that you’re looking to fill, making ravioli is the most delicious, rewarding thing you can do. We used 4 types of local squash that we got from a Lufa Farms basket to make the savoury-sweet filling of our homemade ravioli, and it’s delicious when served with a rosemary-garlic olive oil, which takes about a minute and a half to prepare.
Here are the step-by-step instructions to making this wonderful dish. It’s a long read and a longer process, but I promise it’s more than worth it.
To make the pasta dough:
3 1/2 cups of white flour
pinch of salt
1. Dump the flour on a big, clean, flat surface (a counter is ideal, but if you don’t mind scrubbing it down after, a table works just fine too) and shape it into a big mountain. Make a well in the center about 2-3 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep.
2. Crack the eggs into the well and add the pinch of salt.
3. Using your fingers, break the yolks and start to mix the eggs up, gently incorporating the flour little by little. Try not to break the walls of the flour-egg volcano because then the eggs will run everywhere- mix in flour from the bottom until the mixture is doughy enough to not roll off the table. Once it’s coming together, knead the dough in the flour, incorporating as much flour as you can into the eggs. You will probably have some left over- just set it aside to use later.
4. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes (bonus arm workout!). Here’s a video showing an effective motion for kneading egg-based pasta dough like this one. The dough should be very smooth and soft after this kneading period, and it’ll come together easily into a smooth ball. Dust a little extra flour on it and place it in a bowl, covering it tightly with plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge and allow it to rest for 30 minutes-an hour. While dough is resting, prepare the filling.
To make the filling:
1 acorn squash
1 butternut squash
1 buttercup squash
1 sweet dumpling squash
4 large cloves of garlic
Olive oil for drizzling
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 stalk’s worth of fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes
Note: this will make much more filling than you need, but it keeps well in the fridge and is delicious as a sauce for any pasta, or served as a squash puree on the side of a good steak.
1. Wash and halve each squash, removing all the seeds and membranes (to learn to make your own roasted squash seeds, as well as a delicious bulgur and roasted butternut squash salad, click HERE).
2. Rub one smashed clove of garlic on the inside of each squash half. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Arrange on a tinfoil-covered baking sheet, cut side down with the garlic underneath the squash domes (it’ll roast and steam deliciously in there). Roast at 425F for 35 minutes, until the outside of the squash feels soft and easily caves to pressure.
3. Scoop out squash into a large bowl (roasted garlic included). Add 1 tablespoon of salt and whisk to combine until mixture is uniform in texture. Mix in ricotta, rosemary, pepper and chile flakes. Refrigerate until needed.
To assemble the raviolis:
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
Important note: it doesn’t matter if your raviolis are uneven, ugly, oddly-shaped or wonky in any way- as long as the 4 sides of each one are well-sealed, it’s gonna be absolutely delicious anyway.
1. Knead the pasta for another 10 minutes, and then roll out the pasta on a well-floured surface. This is where the pain in the ass begins. If you don’t have a pasta rolling machine, use a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use the side of a wine bottle. In any case, cut the dough into quarters and work one section at a time, keeping the other sections covered with a slightly damp, clean cloth.
2. Roll each piece into a rectangular strip, about 1mm thin, about 2 inches wide and about 1.5 feet long. It takes quite a while, but we’re aiming for smooth and translucent pieces here!
3. Cut each strip into two more-or-less equal rectangles.
4. Spoon filling onto one of each pasta sheet pairs, 1/2 tsp per ravioli. Leave an inch of space between each dollop of filling. Brush the areas around the filling with the egg wash using a brush or your finger- you’re tracing the outline of the raviolis here so that the top sheet will stick.
5. Carefully lay the second pasta sheet on top of the one with the filling on it. Press down in between filling dollops on all sides to secure the sheets together. Allow to rest for a minute or so and then cut the raviolis apart.
6. Using a fork, press down on all sides of the ravioli edges, making little fork marks along the sides and sealing them shut. Carefully peel off counter and on to a floured plate.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 for all the pasta sheets, or for as many as you can do without losing your mind.
To make rosemary-garlic oil and assemble the dish:
1 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic
2 stems fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
Parmesan cheese to garnish
1. Thinly slice garlic and remove rosemary from stems.
2. Place garlic and rosemary in a pan with the olive oil over low heat.
3. Cook until the garlic is golden brown and slightly crispy and the rosemary has darkened in colour and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
4. In a large pan, boil enough water to fill the pan almost all the way up- using a pan instead of the pot allows you to keep your delicate raviolis intact!
5. Salt the water liberally and add the raviolis once it’s boiling. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
6. Remove the raviolis from the water with a slotted spoon and put on a plate and let them dry for a minute or so. Drizzle with rosemary-garlic oil and top with lots of parmesan cheese, about 5 or 6 raviolis per serving.
7. Enjoy the product of your hours of labour!
What have you been cooking?