Some time in the recent past, I celebrated my birthday. “Happy birthday, Dittatrice”, you say, “how old are you now?”, I hear you wonder. Well, I’m not telling, so that’s the end of that.
For my birthday, my friends came up with the best idea ever. They all teamed up to get me a pasta machine. You might remember the pasta machine from a while ago, but that one was The Queen’s, and it has since disappeared. Instead, I now have my very own pasta machine, and fuck yeah, I was also gifted a ravioli extension! A ravioli extension is a tool that fills, folds and seals your ravioli for you, whilst the only thing that you have to do is turn a handle, saving you a lot of time, theoretically. The ravioli extension was the part that we always wanted but never had in the past, so I was fucking ecstatic.
My excitement wasn’t quite ended, but definitely tempered somewhat by my first attempts at actually using the ravioli extension to make my own ravioli, which turned out one of the more rage-inducing tasks I’ve ever carried out. I thought I’d messed up the dough at first, but in the end, I think I’d just made a few rookie errors with the machine. In any case, the first few batches failed pretty miserably. I was raging, because I’d stupidly invited a bunch of people over to come and have fresh ravioli, totally home made, before I’d even checked to see if I could pull it off or not. Vesta must have been pretty happy with me that particular week, because only two out of about a million invitees actually accepted the invitation, and I only looked like an utter twat in front of those two people.
In the meantime I’ve had some more practice, and I think I’ve figured out the trick. I wasn’t using enough flour in the beginning, which is pretty crucial – not enough flour means your dough gets stuck in the machine, and you get pasta and filling all over the place. Also, when flattening out the dough, I immediately put the rollers on the thickness that I wanted for my pasta, when its actually better to make thick sheets first, then run those through the machine again to make them thinner. You live, you learn.
So originally, I was going to put a recipe here for handcut ravioli as well, but I ran out of time, so I’m going to have to owe you that one. For now, here are some fresh ravioli with pumpkin and pine nut filling, as made with my exciting new pasta machine. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you could always just make fresh tagliatelle as described here and have those with pumpkin pine nut condiment!
For about 4 people, use:
For the pasta:
- 300 gr of flour
- 3 eggs
- little bit of lukewarm water
- a tonne of extra flour for dusting
For the filling:
- 200 gr of pumpkin
- a glass of white wine
- 15 gr of pine nuts
- some grated parmesan
- salt and pepper
As a condiment:
- a knob of butter
- some fresh sage
Other stuff you’ll need:
- a pasta machine with ravioli extension, or otherwise a wee rolly zigzag blade thing
- some cling film
- a rolling pin
- some greaseproof paper or clean kitchen towels
First of all, make your dough.
Put your flour and your pinch of salt in a bowl or directly onto your (clean) work surface, in a heap with a little depression in the middle. Pop your eggs in there, stir them around with a fork to break them, whisking in a little bit of flour at a time. Then, once the mixture starts to get pretty floury, use your hands to mix the remaining flour with the egg. If it’s kinda dry, add a little bit of water to make it into a smooth ball, but keep in mind that your final product should be a very smooth, but absolutely not sticky ball of dough. If it’s quite hard to knead you’re OK.
Once you’ve obtained the dough ball you want, after about 10 minutes of solid kneading, wrap the dough in some cling film and leave it to rest for about an hour (in or out the fridge, I’m not sure it matters – I left mine out, in any case).
Whilst your dough rests, make your filling. Peel and cube your pumpkin, stick it in a small saucepan with the white wine, some water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes. After you drain them, put the pumpkin cubes in a bowl with the pine nuts, parmesan and some black and white pepper, and crush it all up with a fork. You want the filling to be quite fine, so it’ll be easier to run through the machine later.
Now that your dough is A-OK to work with, take it out of its cling filmy cocoon, cut it in parts that are easy to work with (maybe halves), put the part you’re not using just now back in the cling film so it doesn’t dry out. Now here’s something very important: coat that bitch with an abundance of flour. Roll it out a little bit with your rolling pin, first, that way it won’t rip when you start flattening it out with the machine. Once you’ve obtained a more or less workable sheet, take it through the pasta machine, making it thinner. First maybe go for the thickets setting you’ve got, then go for the thickness you want, possibly with one more stage of thinning in between.
Once you’ve got a sheet that’s suitable for making ravioli with, prepare your ravioli extension (or put the sheet out so you can work it with your rolly zig zag blade thingy – but that’s a method I’ll put on here some other time, as promised above). Fold your sheet in half, coat what is now on the outside lavishly with more flour, then put the crease side into the ravioli extension and turn the handle a little bit, so as to keep the sheet stuck in the machine. Fold one sheet to the left, one to the right, and put the filling piece on.
Now scoop in a bunch of filling, press it down carefully. Start turning the handle carefully, and make sure that the ravioli are coming out properly, and that they’re not getting stuck in the machine like mine did. Here’s the difference between a properly flour-coated sheet of pasta and one that was not floured enough:
After you roll out a perfect sheet of ravioli, leave them to dry a little bit for about 10 minutes on a floured piece of grease-proof or baking paper, or on a clean towel with some flour on it. After you’ve left them for a while, you can start separating them. Careful now, they tend to tear at the edges.
Boil them in plenty of salted water, serve them with butter and sage and possibly a little bit of grated parmesan. La morte sua, as the Italians call it. Absolutely delicious.