Shital's-Kitchen: Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce

Nothing is more delicious than homemade, fresh food, and that's true for freshly rolled, homemade pasta too! Yes, you heard it right, I did prepare these cute pillows filled with soft cheese and herbs.

Two weeks ago, I attended a two hour pasta making class at Willow Glen. Cucina Bambini, a culinary school for kids and adults with variety of world cuisine options. You might think it is just easy to read the recipe off the internet or watch some youtube videos and learn how to make pasta. Why did I actually have to spend money to attend a class for that? There is nothing like hands on experience and learning from a professional. This was a place where each student could make pasta dough and roll out some fresh Fettccine pasta and make some Ravioli pasta too. I would really suggest you to attend a hands on class for a fun evening with your spouse or your friend. A great family bonding activity too with your kids.

Here are few pictures of my culinary experience and fun evening with my friend at Cucina Bambini. 

Cheese Ravioli is Snehanshu's favorite pasta, and what better could I cook for him on his birthday than making something new that I had just learned! He sure was excited about homemade Ravioli and insisted I buy a pasta machine to make many more of these soon. I ordered a pasta machine online and it is on its way :)

Even if you are not able to locate a hands-on pasta making class in your city, you should try making this easy dough at home. Specially for parents, and Indian parents who feel pasta is junk food, and would prefer their kids eating traditional Indian roti or rice, making pasta dough at home would satisfy both, parents and children.

To start with, a cup of flour which would make enough pasta for a family of 2-3. I bought pasta flour/semolina flour from Whole Foods Market. Semolina flour for pasta is finer than semolina/rawa found at the Indian store. You could use all-purpose flour/maida or whole wheat flour/ atta too.

Take a leveled cup of flour on a flat clean surface like a rolling mat or a chopping surface. Prepare a deep well for liquid to stay in. Crack an egg in the well, and using a fork whisk the egg well.  Add a bit of flour at a time to the egg while whisking in to avoid lumps. When the egg mixture starts to toughen, add 3-4 spoons of water and make a dough. The inside of the dough could be moister than the outside. So, start kneading the dough by pushing the outside surface inwards. Do not stretch the dough like we would for bread making. Knead it well till it is soft and smooth. Put the dough in a plastic bag and let it rest for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling and sauce for the ravioli pasta.

 Mix a cup of ricotta cheese with a tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tbsp. minced onions, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley.

To make marinara sauce...
Blanch tomatoes and puree them. You could remove the skin and de-seed it if you like.

 In a pan, heat 2 tbsp. of olive add. Saute 1 tbsp. minced garlic for a minute. Saute 1/2 cup minced onion till it turns pink and soft. Add pureed tomatoes, salt, pepper and Italian herb mix. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Start rolling pasta dough on a flour dusted counter. Roll it in one direction only to form a long sheet.
You could use a pasta machine too. 
Once the pasta machine I ordered gets delivered, I will share pictures of it and show you the end product. Meanwhile, I worked without a pasta machine.

Fold it in half or thirds and roll it again to form a long sheet as thin as you can.

I used a ravioli maker to place the sheet and the filling. Cut the long sheet into half for the sheets to sit on each other with a filling. Place 1 layer over the ravioli maker. Place your filling in each ravioli well.

Apply some water in between the filling for the dough to stick and for the filling being sealed in.

Place another sheet of dough over the tray and press all sides well. Use a rotary cutter or a knife to separate each pillow out. 

You need not use a ravioli maker. Just place the filling, spread some water, fold in the sheet, and cut.

Place raviolis in a plate and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before boiling it or freeze it for later.

Fill a large pot with water. Bring it to boil and season it well with salt. This is the only time you can season the pasta.

Depending on the size of your pot and water, add few raviolis at a time a boil them.

In 7-8 minutes they will double in size and be ready for the sauce.

Immediately pour hot sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and enjoy! 

Snehanshu relished them as much as I enjoyed making them!

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