I heart ravioli. I spend a lot of time scouring grocery stores and the ingredient information on packages of ravioli. I usually look at every package of ravioli and always have to put it back because there are always milk ingredients in them. If you’re wondering, anything listed as milk, milk ingredients, butter fat, skim milk powder, casein, whey and lactose is automatically out for me. Some people are lucky to tolerate small amounts – I’m not. So even if milk is listed as the last ingredient and is there in only a trace amounts, I still can’t have it.
After no success at finding ravioli I could cook at home, I decided I should make the ravioli myself. I even dared myself to make it from scratch – pasta and all. I put out a plea on Facebook that I was looking to borrow a pasta roller, and a good friend of mine delivered the very next day (Thanks, Steve!). I got right to work – and failed miserably! I couldn’t figure out how to make the silly roller work, and was really, really frustrated. Someone kindly showed me later, that the missing pieces I figured weren’t necessary to the machine actually held it to the counter. That cleared up my biggest bit of frustration – the machine kept leaping from the counter and was basically unusable my first try. I then asked a girlfriend of mine to come over and help me out.
We spent a lovely Friday evening struggling to make pasta and ravioli happen. After a few mishaps, we finally found our groove and ended up with 4 dozen little ravioli that we were immensely proud of. They were very tasty too, and mine were lactose-free.
Our first few steps are not documented, so I’ll tell you a bit about them. Step 1: We made our fillings. I made a meat filling, my friend made a ricotta filling. In my meat filling, I browned some beef, then mixed that with parmesan cheese and seasoning. I can luckily get away with hard, aged cheeses, because it’s aged for so long there is no lactose left. Step 2: We made the dough. We started out by trying to mix it by hand, but realized using my KitchenAid Mixer would make it go faster and probably result in a better dough.
Then we experimented with rolling out the dough. After much frustration and experimentation, we settled on rolling the dough through 3 times – the first time on the largest setting, then again with the dial set at 3, and then finally with the dial set at 2. We discovered that once isn’t enough, because you get holes in your dough, and it doesn’t look very nice. Folding your first sheet over on itself and rolling it through again at the setting of 3 helped the dough to become smooth and uniform. folding the sheet over again and rolling it through a third time at a setting of 2 made it nice and thin with a consistent texture.
Once we found our pasta rolling groove, we rolled all of our dough into sheets. We stored these sheets on towels on the kitchen table, so they wouldn’t stick and so they could stay flat. If doing this again, I’d make 2 sheets of pasta at a time, as it took us so long to get through all the steps our sheets had started to dry out.
To make the ravioli, we laid one sheet of pasta on our board, and used a 1 tbsp ice cream scoop to place the filling a few inches apart from each other. We used a brush to put an egg wash on the bottom piece of pasta around the filling, and then placed the second sheet of pasta on top.
Finally, we pressed the pasta sheets together, used a dough roller to cut the ravioli apart, and then used a fork to pinch the seams.
All in all, we ended up with 4 dozen very large ravioli, which took about 2 hours from prep to finish. We used every bowl and mixing spoon in my house, as well as all the counter space and my very large dining room table! We placed them in freezer containers lined with parchment, and a layer of parchment between each layer of ravioli. My friend had hers the next evening, and I had mine a few weeks after.
Homemade Ravioli – Lactose Free
Yield: 4 dozen large ravioli
Prep Time: 2 hours |Cooking Time: 10 minutes
1.5 pounds flour
3 eggs (2 whole eggs for the dough, 1 egg white for the egg wash)
1 tbsp olive oil
water (as much as the dough needs)
1. Measure 1.5 pounds of flour using a kitchen scale. Add the flour to your stand mixer. Make a well in the center of the flour.
2. Whisk the eggs. Pour the eggs and the olive oil into the well in the flour.
3. Using the dough hook attachment, start to knead the dough on a low-speed. Add water a bit at a time, until the dough starts to pull together. The dough should be moist enough that the flour stays together, but not so wet that the dough is sticky. If you’ve added too much water and your dough is sticky, add a little more flour.
4. Grab a handful of dough and put it through the pasta roller at its largest dial setting. It will come out with holes in it.
5. Adjust the roller a setting of about 3, to make the dough thinner. Put it through again. Fold the dough one more time and put it through again, this time on the roller setting of about 2. You should have long, thin pasta with no holes. Lay each sheet on towels on a flat surface until ready to start filling.
6. Lay one sheet of pasta on your workspace. Place a spoonful of filling about 2 inches apart all along the sheet of pasta.
7. Separate the egg white from the yolk (I save the yolks or whites, whichever I’m not using, in a canning jar in my fridge). Add a bit of cold water to the egg white and stir. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on the exposed dough.
8. Place another piece of dough over the filling. Press the sheets together with your fingers so they form over the filling and have a nice seal.
9. Cut the dough with a knife. If you have the fancy tools, you can use a pastry cutter to make a zigzag edge.
10. Crimp the edges with a fork so you don’t lose any filling while it cooks. Let the ravioli sit out long enough for them to dry out.
11. If freezing, place the ravioli in a freezer safe container with parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking. When ready to cook these, don’t allow them to thaw – cook from frozen.
12. If cooking immediately, place the ravioli in a boiling pot of salted water. Cook for about 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce.
Meat Filling Ingredients:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 3 oz parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 large egg
Meat Filling Preparation:
1. Brown the meat with a little olive oil. Drain excess oil/fat.
2. Mix all ingredients together. Add salt, pepper, oregano and parsley to taste.
(Recipes adapted from Homemade Ravioli from http://www.livelovepasta.com/2011/07/homemade-ravioli/ and Tim’s Ravioli Filling from http://tim.rocketry.org/cooking/ravioli_filling/)