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A chef preparing ravioli at Todd English's Plaza Food Hall at New York City's Plaza Hotel.
The Daily Meal's editors, contributors, and readers dig into some pretty great restaurants, festivals, and meals. There's not always enough time to give a full review of a restaurant or describe in depth why a place, its food, and the people who prepare it are noteworthy, so Snackshot of the Day does what photographs do best, rely on the image to do most of the talking.
Today's Snackshot is of a chef at the Tony Awards after-party preparing ravioli in Todd English's Plaza Food Hall at New York City's Plaza Hotel. Ravioli is a perfect comfort food, but a little intimidating to make at home. After watching this woman prepare it, I'm not any more ready to attempt it. Cutting perfect squares from a long sheet of homemade pasta is nothing short of an art form. It takes real skill to delecately divide the pasta, fill, then seal.
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Make the ravioli filling. You can fill the ravioli with almost anything. For this lesson, we are using the butternut squash and pear filling. You could also use:
- shredded chicken or beef with some grated Parmesan cheese
- chopped shrimp with ricotta and chopped herbs
- steamed spinach and chopped mushrooms
- cooked diced apples with cinnamon and nutmeg
Cover the pasta sheets with a damp towel until you are ready to use.
- Nutritional Sample Size per 4 oz. serving
- Calories (kcal) : 480
- Fat Calories (kcal): 70
- Fat (g): 8
- Saturated Fat (g): 2
- Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
- Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
- Cholesterol (mg): 215
- Sodium (mg): 300
- Carbohydrates (g): 84
- Fiber (g): 3
- Protein (g): 19
- Dump the flour in a pile on a work surface. Make a deep, wide well in the center and pour in the eggs, olive oil, and salt. Begin mixing the eggs with a fork, staying in the center and being careful that the eggs don’t breach the wall. Little by little, mix in flour from the sides until the dough starts to move as a unit and is too stiff to mix with a fork. Continue mixing by hand, incorporating more flour to stiffen the dough. When it doesn’t easily absorb more flour (one signal is floury, dried bits of dough flaking off the mass), set the dough aside scrape up all the remaining flour and pass it through a sieve to sift out any dried-up bits. Discard the bits and keep the cup or two of sifted flour on the work surface to use during kneading if necessary.
A deep, wide well of flour makes a tidy mixing bowl.
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Fresh Herb, Tomato, and Caper Sauce
Why use store-bought when you can blitz up this ravioli sauce in 10 minutes? With heart-healthy olive oil and almonds, plus handfuls of fresh herbs, your ticker and your taste buds will thank you for serving this peppy sauce. As you can tell from the photo, this ravioli sauce is also great on steaks.
Test Kitchen Tip: Freeze this tasty tomato sauce in quarter-cup portions in an airtight container, so you can defrost and toss with your favorite homemade ravioli any time of year.
3. Slightly over-season the filling
As with all cooking, tasting along the way is important. When tasting the filling for ravioli, you should always season it slightly more than seems right when tasting the filling separately. This is because the flavor will be ‘diluted’ by the pasta that will surround it. If you don’t over-season, the ravioli will end up tasting under-seasoned.
If you are worried about tasting a filling that contains raw egg (or raw meat or fish), cook a teaspoon of the filling briefly in the microwave or in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until it is cooked through before sampling it.
Ravioli for a Crowd!
I’ve been in party mode and haven’t really cooked “normal” for a while, so I thought I would share with you how I prepped for a recent party I had for 26 with the main course being 200 homemade ravioli.
Homemade ravioli holds a special place in my heart because I can remember my mom and aunt making them together when my cousins and I were very young, white sheets covering dining room tables and beds, filled with drying ravioli. Today I make them a little different, no more drying on sheets, instead they go right into the freezer after they’re made.
All the ravioli were made a few days before and tucked away in my freezer ready for the big day, we made two different versions, meat and cheese.
Because I would be cooking so many ravioli at one time, there was no way I wanted to be boiling them while my house was filled with people, so I opted to make them the night before, something I’ve never done.During the week prior to my party I went to a local restaurant supply store and bought commercial size heavy duty foil sheet pans, they were perfect to lay my ravioli on in a single layer.
They were huge and covered my whole oven rack, and even though I don’t have a commercial size oven I made them fit by slightly folding up the sides. All my sauce was cooked ahead of time so assembling was pretty easy. After spreading sauce all over the bottom of the sheet pans I placed my slightly undercooked ravioli on top, single layer, placing more sauce on top. After they cooled down I sprinkled grated Pecorino on top and covered the pans with heavy duty aluminum foil and placed them in my second fridge, ( it’s older and has bigger shelves). The day of the party I took them out of the fridge and got them to room temperature and with the foil still on, I baked them for only 15 minutes in a 350 oven until warmed through, after they were done I dolloped more warmed sauce on top and they were good to go! For a big crowd this was the perfect way to make them, no hot boiling pots all over the place, all that was done in advance.
How to Make Ravioli: The Fillings
Now that the dough is nice and relaxed, it should be easy to roll it out.
Flour your work surface well, you don&rsquot want the dough sticking to it. Then, roll out your dough into a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. (For our recipe, the rectangle should be roughly 10 inches by 12 inches.)
The in-process picture here and below are of our pumpkin ravioli, so the dough will look a little more orange than a typical ravioli dough made using the recipe below.
We don&rsquot have a ravioli making tray or stamp, so we&rsquove found an easy way to construct and cut the ravioli without the added tools.
I like to lightly score half of the sheet of pasta using a ruler, just to give myself even guidelines for where the filling will go.
Then, place 1 teaspoon of filling about 1 inch apart in even columns and rows to cover half of your dough rectangle.
Before adding the top layer of pasta to the ravioli, you will want to moisten the dough around the filling dollops. This will make the dough a bit stickier, allowing the top layer to stick to the bottom layer.
Then, the half of the dough that doesn&rsquot have filling on it gets folded over the filling-dotted half.
Gently fold and situate the dough. Once it is situated where you want it, take a look at the filling bumps. Use the side of your hand to press the dough together between the bumps, accentuating the pockets of filling in each ravioli.
Now, you&rsquore going to cut the ravioli apart.
A pizza cutter or a ruler works well for this. Just cut straight lines through the pressed down sections between the filling bumps. (Sometimes the filling bumps will go away a bit, but that&rsquos ok, because you will re-accentuate the pocket in the final step.)
Take each ravioli and give the edges one last press to seal the edges. This will accentuate any filling pockets that flattened out.
Ravioli, A Yearly Holiday Tradition
This is the time of year I love making ravioli just before Thanksgiving, it’s tradition in my house. I remember as a kid white sheets on top of tables all over our house that were filled with ravioli made together by my mother and aunt. I have their recipe and I hold it near and dear to my heart.
They always made two different kinds of ravioli, meat and cheese and that’s what I make to this very day, and I have to say that their recipe never ever fails me.
Although I like to use different fillings and be adventurous now and then, when I’m with my family and cousins on my side it’s tradition that we use their special recipe which stirs up great memories for all of us.
I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks over the years, many I have shared on this blog, like how to make ravioli for a crowd (and not lose your mind!) It’s not as hard as you think especially if you have a few family members helping you make them ahead of time, plus it’s lots of fun and you’ll be creating wonderful memories together.
I’m all about being organized and having everything prepped. I like to make the dough the night before, for 400 ravioli that’s around ten batches of dough, if I’m making 200, five batches of dough. Sometimes I’ll get up early and make all the dough in the morning but I’m not much of an early bird I work better at night.
The dough must always be covered and resting at room temperature so if they were stored in the fridge overnight you have to take them out and let them warm up, the dough will be more pliable and easier to work with.
I always make my dough in the food processor, it’s so fast and works like a charm every time. Making the dough in a well is not for me, especially for large amounts, I was taught that way but I’m all about the food processor method now.
They also rolled out their ravioli by hand with a rolling pin and crimped each and everyone with a fork, I did that too back in the day but times have changed.
As the years went by I graduated to a pretty red pasta machine and I also use ravioli forms, the forms allow the ravioli to come out uniform in size, and I rarely have any breakage when boiling.
When I first started making ravioli as a young wife they would be crazy looking, some were long rectangles, short rectangles, big squares, short squares, thick dough, thin dough, not enough filling, air pockets all over, and many would break open when boiling, thank goodness I found the right tools!
But now fast forward to 2016 I discovered something even better and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my pretty red crank style pasta roller, I’ll have to pass it down as a family heirloom because I now have a new and powerful friend, my Kitchen Aid pasta attachment!
Well it’s not really new, I bought it a couple of years ago but never used it, I think I was afraid it wouldn’t give me the same results as my oldie but goodie crank style. The brand new and never used attachment was sitting in a box in my pantry for so long that I had to Google how to properly place it on the machine and use it.
You don’t realize how fatiguing it is to crank out 400 ravioli, when making so many we would take turns, but it’s a breeze with the pasta attachment because the machine does all the work for you, the power of that motor makes the most uniform dough, always consistent and smooth as silk, plus there’s a bonus, you’ll have both of your hands free and you won’t feel tired at all.
It’s amazing and I highly recommend it if you like to make a lot of fresh pasta, and I’m not being compensated to say it!
This past weekend I made 200 ravioli by myself and I wasn’t the least bit tired, I could have made another 100, no problem, the pasta attachment changed my life!
I prepped the fillings the night before because it’s a little time consuming and I like to get that out of the way. I made cheese, meat and butternut squash filling. I also love using piping bags for a more clean and efficient way of filling the ravioli forms, works like a charm and it’s much, much neater than using a spoon.
The forms have to be well floured all over including the zig zags before placing the dough on top, dusting them with flour will help them to seal and fall out of the forms without getting stuck.
At this point you can also brush some water lightly all around the edges then the top layer of dough goes on. I use a small rolling pin and roll over all the zig zag lines and the surface of the dough, that will also help in getting the filling down into the holes.
When it’s time to release the ravioli I turn the whole form upside down and grab a corner with my two fingers tugging a bit until the ravioli just fall out onto your work surface.
Then I’ll use a pasta crimper shown above, and score it through the zig zag lines which helps them come apart easy, one score usually does it.
I always freeze mine by taking a cookie sheet, lining it with parchment paper and placing the ravioli single layer, never on top of each other or touching. When the pan is filled up I’ll put another piece of parchment on top then stick the whole pan in the freezer.
Meat ravioli usually take around a half hour to freeze, when they’re all frozen I’ll place them into freezer bags and they won’t stick together at all, you’ll be able to take out as many as needed.
Butternut squash as well as the cheese filling will take a good hour to freeze because of the softer and wetter filling.
Be sure to mark your bags!
Keep in mind you don’t have to make as many as I did, I don’t want to scare you off from doing this but if you’re going to embark on this adventure you might as well go big!
They taste at optimum freshness and flavor for at least four months in the freezer, so you have plenty of time to make them before a big event.
Like I said I have some other good tips and tricks in my archives here and here. In those posts and the other link above I”ll give you a visual on how I did it for a crowd, how much sauce to make for 400, the shallow disposable pans I used and of course pictures of the cooked ravioli.
I hope you give this a try someday, there’s nothing like homemade ravioli and just think of the fun memories you’ll be making!
Recipe is upon request, just send me an email.
You can also follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week and especially all through the holidays.
12 New Ways to Makeover a Bag of Frozen Ravioli
Dinner has never been easier.Go beyond marinara sauce with these gourmet upgrades.
Officially only eating salads with ravioli on top from now on.
We came for the brown butter. We conquered.
Never has eating your peas looked so easy.
And by toasted we mean fried. Hibernation here we come.
BRB, gonna go curl up to these cheesy stuffed ravioli slathered in pistachio-herb butter.
Ravioli and meatballs get cozy in a skillet . under a blanket of cheese . and we are not mad about it.
This fiery semi-homemade meal is not for the faint of heart.
This recipe calls for ricotta, provolone and Parmesan, in addition to the main ingredient: cheese-filled ravioli.
This dish may sound fancy, but it features ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and freezer &mdash and you can make it in 15 minutes!
Ravioli, Three Ways
Check out this simple shortcut for "homemade" ravioli.
When you use wonton wrappers to make "homemade" ravioli, the possibilities are deliciously limitless!
freshly grated parmesan or romano
whole eggs (plus more eggs if making the egg yolk version)
olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Mix together the ricotta, grated parmesan, 1 egg, and salt and pepper to taste. Split into two separate bowls and set aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil, add the arugula and cook until wilted (this'll only take about 30-45 seconds). Remove from the skillet and chop. Allow to cool, then stir into one batch of the ricotta mixture. Set aside.
- In a small dish, beat together 1 egg and 3 tablespoons water. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, then make the ravioli: Lay one wonton wrapper on the surface. Spoon a small amount (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) filling in the center of the wrapper. With a pastry brush, brush a 1/2-inch strip of the beaten egg along all four sides of the wrapper. Place a second wrapper on top and carefully press out any air bubbles as you press the top wrapper around the filling, then work your way out to the edges, lining the corners up and pressing lightly to seal. Set aside and repeat with the remaining filling and wonton wrappers. (Make both plain cheese and arugula versions.)
- To make an egg yolk version, separate an egg by cracking it and cupping it in your fingers, allowing the white to escape between your fingers. Once you have only the yolk in your hand, carefully set it in the center of a wonton wrapper and repeat the sealing process above. You'll have to be gingerly, but once you get the hang of it, it'll be just fine!
- Once the ravioli are assembled, drop them four at a time into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.
Here's how I like to serve them:
Cheese version: Marinara sauce and grated parmesan, or marinara sauce, pesto and fresh basil
Arugula version: Drizzle of olive oil, sprinkling of salt and pepper
Egg yolk version: Drizzle of olive oil (try it&mdashdivine), sprinkling of salt and pepper
I love all kinds of pasta, but there&rsquos something about good ravioli that really makes my heart go pitter-pat. I love the flat area of pasta around the filling itself, and I love it when the fork finally cuts into whatever the filling happens to be.
I love it in the morning and I love it in the night.
I&rsquod recommend loving it tonight if you can swing by the store!
First, let&rsquos concentrate on the filling: throw some ricotta into a bowl with some grated parmesan.
It is my fervent wish to be able to pronounce &lsquoricotta&rsquo correctly sometime before I croak.
Crack in an egg and sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
Stir it all together and set it aside for a minute.
Next, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in some olive oil. Throw in some arugula. You can also use spinach, but I happened to have a buncha arugula on hand.
Just grab somethin&rsquo green, man.
Stir it around and cook it just along enough to wilt&ndashonly about 30 to 45 seconds.
Then throw it into a bowl and let it cool down a bit.
Once it&rsquos cool, give it a rough chop&hellip
Then stir it into a separate bowl with half the ricotta mixture.
And now. For a little something on the side: Homemade marinara sauce. I generally don&rsquot use a recipe, so here are some approximations:
1/2 cup to 1 cup wine. This is optional.
Pour it into a pot of diced onions and garlic. About 1 large onion and 3 cloves of garlic.
1 large can of whole tomatoes. (These are fire roasted fancy ones, but I usually just use the normal ones.)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes&hellip
And salt, pepper, and a good amount (1/4 cup-ish, maybe a little less) sugar.
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Cook, cook, cook. Then just add herbs as you see fit: parsley, basil, etc.
Man, do I love marinara sauce.
But today&helliptoday is about zee ravioli!
To make the highly gourmet, 100% homemade ravioli&hellip
Grab some wonton wrappers! Ha.
But seriously, here&rsquos how I feel about it: truly homemade ravioli is to die for. There&rsquos absolutely nothing like it. If you have the time and the tools and the inclination, please make the pasta dough from scratch, then please roll it out and fill it and cut it, and then please invite me over so I can have some, too.
But if you want to whip up the next best thing, wonton wrappers really are a remarkably good subtitute&ndashespecially if you want to experiment with different toppings and make a variety. You can sink all your effort and creativity into the filling instead of the dough.
Spoon a very small amount of filling&ndashprobably 3/4 to 1 teaspoon&ndashonto the center of the wonton wrapper.
Brush a little egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water) around the edges of the wrapper.
Then lay a second wrapper on top, but here&rsquos how you do it: lay it on top, then gently press the top wrapper all around the edges of the filling first, making sure to get out all the air bubbles. Then work your fingers out to the edges, lining up the corners and pressing it to seal. (Don&rsquot seal the edges first lots of air will be trapped in there.) This one actually looks like it has a little air stuck inside&hellipbut the world (and my kitchen) is an imperfect place.
Repeat with the other filling and the rest of the wonton wrappers.
If you have a sweet girl with a bun on top of her head to help you&hellipeven better!
School debris in the background. The Lodge is a one-room schoolhouse this year.
As you (or your girl) assemble the ravioli, place them on a tray until you need them.
And now. Who can guess what kind of ravioli this is?
Whether you can guess it or not, I promise you it will rock your ever-loving world.
Then it will knock your ever-loving socks off.
Then it will make you faint.
Here. Let&rsquos just go ahead and cook these first.
Drop the ravioli three or four at a time into boiling water. Let them cook for about three minutes&hellip
(Note: the egg yolk variety only cooked for about 90 seconds or so, as I was afraid of the yolk setting.)
Then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate. For these special little numbers, olive oil (I had a hand spasm and drizzled on more than I intended), salt, and pepper were all I needed.
You&rsquove probably figured out what kind of ravioli this one was. Yes&ndashegg yolk, my friends. Have you seen it? Have you had it? It&rsquos offered in some restaurants here and there, and it will change your life, turn you upside down, and make you wonder how you ever lived without it. It&rsquos very bizarre and very wonderful at the same time.
1. Crack an egg
2. Cup the yolk in your hand and let the white drip through your fingers.
3. Carefully place the yolk onto the center of a wonton wrapper and repeat the other steps for assembling.
So incredibly delicious. But then again, I have an unnatural love for egg yolks.