Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oh, Handmade Ravioli...As You Wish!

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
This past weekend I had the opportunity to work at a cooking class, and lucky me, it was pasta day. And we're not talkin' just any old ordinary average joe pasta. We're talkin' ravioli! Oh Yea!

There is a huge, I mean really giant, difference between fresh pasta and your average store bought dried pasta, in terms of taste. And the obvious, shelf life. Your average store bought pasta is made with mostly semolina (the milled endosperm of durum wheat), and water. While fresh pasta is made into a workable dough with AP or "00" flour, eggs, and water, which equals much more flavor in my opinion. Dried pasta has a shelf life, of, about forever and a day. While fresh pasta should be used the day it is made, or kept in the freezer, otherwise, I am told, it will oxidize.

During our ravioli class, I had time to make some ravioli fillings, and was able to use some of the extra dough to make omy own rav's. Now we're talkin'! My favorite rav's are cheese, and mushroom, and so I quickly whipped together both. And the best tip I learned from the day was how important it is to over-season your ravioli filling. Because when you wrap up that little ball of filling in two layers of dough, you need that filling to be packin' some punch. So as I made my ricotta spinach filling, I added more salt than I thought it deserved. Same with my mushroom filling. Salt, and more salt. And let's just say that chef is always right. Yes, chef!

Now I did have to freeze my fresh ravioli's because I was not going to eat them that day. And you also want to give your fresh pasta a quick blanche and then a coating of oil before you go laying them to rest in the depths of the freezer. This step helps lock in flavor, color, (just like veggies), and the oil keeps the pasta from sticking to itself.

Today, two days later, my ravioli's were calling me from the freezer. And they were sounding all too perfectly lovely on this inconceivably chilly first day of spring. The only question being which ravioli do I want, and what kind of sauce to make for them? I quickly decide on the ricotta spinach ravioli, with a fresh cherry tomato sauce.

First I made some basil oil by simply adding fresh basil and a clove of garlic to some olive/canola oil blend, and heating that up a bit to infuse. Next, chopped up a good amount of garlic, some cherry tomatoes, and more fresh basil. Cooked the garlic in the basil oil, then added the tomatoes and some seasonings to cook for a minute or so. Did a quick boil for my ravioli's, and there we have it, dinner was served. Lastly, added fresh basil, parmesan, and pine nuts....
Bye bye boys, have fun storming the castle!


  1. Looks beautiful and all but I'm wondering how an italian like Chef Marco would appreciate so much sauce. "So, where's the damn ravioli?"

  2. LOL! Funny, I had the same thought about "hiding" my ravioli under all the sauce....but what can I say, I like-a the sauce!