So here is my tutorial for making fresh ravioli and tortellini. Based on what I learned at Mr Giovanni Rana's fresh pasta masterclass.
I have made the same filling as him with ricotta, spinach, parmesan and mascarpone cheese which adds a moreish touch to it. It is a very quick filling to prepare and in my opinion one of the best ones. So popular in Italy too, if not the most popular of them all.
Use some semolina to help you when you prepare them. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your worktop and very importantly, you must let the dough rest for a minimum of 30 minutes (1 hour would be best) before rolling it.
You can make ravioli just with a rolling pin but if you have a machine for pasta that would help too.
Making fresh pasta it is not difficult but I think it is a skill you acquire in time, by making it over and over again, like most things in life.
- Prep Time : 40 minutes
- Cook Time : 5 minutes
First let's take a look at our ingredients. What we need for the dough is just flour and eggs. I have not added salt as I will add it to the filling and in the cooking water as well. The filling consists of fresh spinach, ricotta, mascarpone cheese, parmesan, salt and pepper.
We'll start with the dough and we make a well with the flour then we crack the eggs inside. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork until smooth incorporating slowly the flour.
Then working with your hands make a big, smooth lump of dough. This will develop the gluten which helps make a good springy and al dente pasta.
Work the dough with the heel of your hand, pull it, bash it, squash it into the table, stretch it and so on; basically be rough with it until you get a smooth and silky texture. Sprinkle some semolina flour (or normal flour if you don't have it) from time to time to prevent the dough from sticking to your working top.
Let it rest in a cool place for an hour wrapped in cling film
Prepare the filling by mixing the ricotta with the mascarpone, the chopped spinach, parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Now roll your pasta with your rolling pin
Flour your surface again and sprinkle some flour on top of the sheets of pasta; keep rolling it and make it as thin as you can
Do this until you get a thin and smooth sheet of dough
But of course muscles can ache! Certainly mine did. Hard work though.
Having a good and long rolling pin would help. A good tip is to roll small pieces of pasta rather than a few big ones. I kept taking layers of clothes off as I was getting hot and bothered. But before ending up in a bikini I opened my cupboard and got out my good old pasta machine. Much easier I must say, but there are many Italian mammas and nonnas who would disagree with that: "just get tougher girl!" Now you know why most Italian grandmothers have such big muscles!
So let's go ahead: cut your sheet of dough in half
And fold each sheet in half again
And put small lumps of filling on one half of the sheet. Leave some room around them.
Brush with some water in between the gaps of the filling
And cover with the other half of the sheet. Press around the filling sealing it well
With a pastry cutter cut out your ravioli
Line them on a well floured surface so they won't stick on it and cook them in salty boiling water for about 3-5 minutes. Don't overcook!
You can also make tortellini: cut the pastry with a round pastry cutter; put the filling in the middle of each circle, wet half on the border, fold and seal well with your finger tips. Now you join both sides of the pastry and you have your tortellino!
Fresh ravioli and tortellini are good without much of a sauce at all. I enjoy mine with a sprinkle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese or in a classic melted butter sauce flavoured with sage leaves; like that you can bring out their flavour very well. So you can taste all the goodness of freshly made dough and of the lovely fresh filling.
And now you can definitely say: BUON APPETITO, as you could not get ravioli fresher than these!
Simply wonderful. Viva la pasta!