Friday, January 7, 2011

Pasta Pockets

I have wanted to make homemade ravioli for a ridiculously long time. I'm almost embarassed to confess I've been thinking about it for about two years and have never made it happen. I guess I just had in my mind it was the sort of project that would take the entire day and even though I love cooking, the thought of spending the entirety of one of my few days all to myself in the kitchen wasn't super appealing. I mentioned to Lana though that I wanted to tackle this challenge in the "someday we should do this" kind of way people do and within three days she had us making ravioli. That girl gets things done.

We went into this with the mindset that it was a learning experience. Neither of us had done this before, neither of us had even made homemade pasta before. I'd seen it done before on The Food Network and once in this really terrible movie, but that was pretty much where all my pasta making knowledge was gleaned from. I knew it was just mixing eggs and flour though so it didn't seem that difficult. Plus I know someone who is really terrible at cooking and she can make homemade pasta so I figured we could do this.

We (Lana) made our dough. We decided to add rosemary to it because we love rosemary and that seemed really delicious.

I started our sauce. I've only made from scratch tomato sauce once in a cooking class and it was amazing but cooking classes take hours and I sort of end up having no concept of time when I'm in one so I had in my mind that making a from scratch tomato sauce was going to take like three hours but then Lana and the internet told me I was very wrong and that this was actually a super simple undertaking. And they were very right.

Our sauce began with diced onion and pressed garlic in some basil olive oil.

I'm in love with this stuff and sniffing it is heaven.

I thought I'd also just share that if you hate peeling garlic as much as I do you can buy it already peeled for you which is awesome. Or you can purchase a garlic peeler which is like magic and totally simple to use and actually works.

Next we added a couple cans of whole tomatoes, some tomato paste, pepper, and fresh oregano.

Lana poked and squished all the tomatoes and we let it cook for awhile.

Luckily I was cooking with someone who I have a pretty similar palette to because we like our sauce the same way, not chunky and not thin. After maybe an hour of cooking our sauce was still a little too full of tomato pieces for us so we let it cool a bit (so we didn't shatter my blender) then pulsed it a bit. We put it back into the pot to heat back up and at this point we added some salt. With liquids and sauces especially it's wise to wait until towards the end of the cooking process to add salt. If you add it at the beginning and things reduce and become more concentrated it's a lot harder to try to make something less salty than it is to just add your salt at the end. We still felt it was missing something though so I added a bunch of garlic salt and at that point we had achieved making the most amazing sauce ever. Lana told me "It tastes like it came out of an Italian jar." Which I honestly was a little offended by and told her so. Because I thought the whole point of this was for it to not taste like it came out of a jar. But then she clarified she meant it tasted like someone in Italy made it then put it in a jar. So that's how good it was.

Next we made our filling which we decided would consist of ricotta, parmesan, a touch of mozzarella, spinach, asparagus, salt, pepper, and an egg. The asparagus ended up not adding a lot of asparagus flavor but because we roasted it it ended up imparting a really good kind of smoky flavor.

Then came the part where we old school rolled out our pasta dough by hand. It was also at this point that I stepped on a piece of glass from a glass I broke three days prior and apparently didn't clean up well enough. There was a lot of blood but I'll spare you any photos since I've already shown you my blisters once. I also dripped blood all over the floor while walking to the bathroom and Lana offered to clean it up which I declined since cleaning up other people's blood isn't very fun but it was very sweet of her.

Once we got our pieces rolled out we tag teamed this ravioli project and put little piles of filling on one of our pieces of dough and then covered it with the other person's. Then we used these ravioli stamps I'd bought forever ago. There are a lot of tools for making ravioli and many different ways to do it but these stamps were really inexpensive and worked well in my opinion.

Once we had our raviolis made we cooked them which was fairly simple. Sort of like how you've cooked pasta a jillion other times.

In the end our sauce and filling were amazing. And the rosemary in the pasta was an excellent idea. Our pasta just turned out a little tough. As I mentioned before this was meant to be a learning experience so something turning out not perfect wasn't really terrible. We just need to figure out a way to make it better. Lana read that you are supposed to let your dough sit for ten minutes before working with it so something happens with gluten. We left our dough for longer than that so I'm not sure if that process continues or tapers off after ten minutes or if that had anything to do with it being tough anyways. We're going to work on it though. Also there is a significant possibility our not following a recipe had something to do with things. Dinner was still delicious though. And I can't wait to try this again.


  1. Your blog is making it very hard to not crave carbs! Those look super awesome and yummy!

  2. Tova, hurry up and finish your vegetable cleanse so I can make you some food.

  3. Impressive! (That's something that I'd like to try, too...)