Making pasta from scratch was one of the first large cooking endeavors I took on as a kid. Hours later the kitchen and myself would be covered in flour as dinner was finally served. The efforts were well worth it as the egg-y smooth texture of homemade pasta is often an ethereal experience.
Today I am a touch faster, but I give myself plenty of time to enjoy the process.
Pasta Makers really, really make life a lot easier, especially for homemade raviolis. I say this entirely from experience. For fettuccine and other egg pasta used in dishes such as Chicken Noodle Soup, I am fine using a rolling pin, but in the case of ravioli I draw the line. It once took three of us my roommate, her boyfriend and myself hours of determination to roll out dough as thinly as possible only to end up with what was thick, difficult to eat ravioli not exactly what we were looking for, especially since our upper-bodies were sore from rolling.
This time, I had a Pasta Maker and a few tablespoons of Beet Powder for fun color. If you don’t have beet powder, it is entirely optional, but I love the dark pink color of this pasta.
The filling is Vegan, because my visiting niece is dairy-free and her friend is a Vegetarian so we settled on this Vegan filling since rarely do they enjoy the Ricotta-Herb filled versions. The dough however is not Vegan- so sorry.
I am sure a few of you are thinking this pasta making stuff is crazy, but the filling is perfect... well, I have an alternative solution if you are looking for a faster and not-requiring-a-pasta-maker version try: Wonton wrappers! They are usually cut into the appropriate square shape and with a few dabs of water the wontons easily come together as ravioli. They won’t be bright pink, but at least they have the tasty dairy-free center!
What are your favorite ravioli fillings?
Beet Ravioli with Greens, Pine Nut, and Tofu Filling
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons Beet Powder
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-3 tablespoons water
In a food processor, blend together the flour and beet powder. Slowly add one egg at a time, blending to incorporate, drizzle in the olive oil to form a ball. If it doesn’t start coming together slowly add the water a few splashes at a time until the dough is a big roll-able ball.
Let the dough rest to relax for about 30 minutes. Wrap up in plastic and set in the fridge until ready to use.
Meanwhile, make the filling:
Greens & Tofu Filling
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of spinach or other dark leafy greens, finely chopped
10 ounces tofu, crumbled
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
5-8 leaves of basil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic into the olive oil, toss in the chopped greens and wilt slightly. Add in the crumbled tofu, sprinkle in the nutritional yeast, basil, salt and pepper. Toss and then cool slightly.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced
24 ounce can crushed roasted tomatoes
½ cup chopped basil
1 pinch red chili pepper flakes, optional
Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in a drizzle of olive oil and the garlic. As soon as you can smell the garlic starting to heat and sizzle add in the tomatoes. Bring up to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is to your desired consistency or flavor. Toss in the basil. If you like a smoother sauce, puree in a blender after you add the basil and then return to the pan to simmer slightly.
Put it all together:
Cut the pasta dough into at least 4 balls. Roll out the pasta dough thinly, using a pasta maker is ideal, but with some serious work a rolling pin can do the job.
Roll out two thin sheets and lay them next to each other. Dollop on 1 tablespoons of filling every 2 inches a part. When the sheet is full of dollops dab a little water around each pile of filling. Lay the second sheet of pasta dough on top. Lightly press the sheets together, pressing around the filling to ensure it is secure without air bubbles. With a pizza or pastry cutter, slice through creating even square raviolis. Set aside on a drying rack and continue making raviolis until you run out of pasta or filling.
Once all of the pastas are made and arranged on drying racks, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in a few generous pinches of salt once it is up to a rapid boil. Toss in a few of the raviolis being sure to not over crowd the pan. They will float to the top when they are ready. Scoop off a few, sauce up with the warm tomato sauce and serve.
Make sure the ravioli have plenty of room to dance and cook in the boiling water. When they float to the top, scoop them off:
Have extra rolled out thin dough? We ran out of filling before we ran out of dough, so we just sliced them into noodle-sized pieces and boiled them after we boiled the ravioli. A little extra fresh pasta treat!