I’ve often lamented that my kids lack the common bond that links my generation together. Those of us who had to get up to change the channel (channel 2, 4, 5, 7, or 9?) belong to a deep and influential fellowship, forever united by our collective memory. I’m talking about the commercial jingle, that great bastion of 1960’s American culture.
“Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener . . That is what I’d truly love to be–ee–eeee . . .”
“N-E-S-T-L-E-S . . . . Nestle’s makes the very best . . . . CHOCOLATE”
AND just picture all those kids running and singing “WE’RE HAVING BEEF-A-RONiiiii—–Beef with MAC-A-RONiiiii—-HOORAAYYY for BEEF-A-RONI!” You gotta hand it to the Chef Boyardee Mad Men.
Back in the day, my experience with ravioli was indeed from Chef Boyardee. My family never ate in Italian restaurants, with the Grand Exception of Negri’s in Occidental. Once a year Dad drove us all the way to Occidental just to eat their famous family style Italian dinner. Soup and salad followed by RAVIOLI, then whatever the main course was that eve. I loved that ravioli. But mostly it was the canned stuff. yuck.
As an adult, I love Italian pasta–who doesn’t?– but I’ve avoided stuffed pastas at restaurants because of my preference for long slurpy noodles. And I certainly never considered making homemade ravioli. But in the words of that famed philosopher Rafiki: “EET EES TIME.”
And so, armed with my NEW Pasta maker and Ravioli mold, I made homemade ravioli. [NEW! TOYS!]
The Filling: I’m not a huge fan of cheese filled ravioli, so I lifted this filling from Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy. It is adapted from the Pork Filling for her Anolini. Mostly I just tripled the recipe because they don’t sell little half pound pieces of pork shoulder at my grocery store.
2 pound boneless pork shoulder
1 onion, chunked
1 carrot, chunked
1 celery stalk, chunked
3 ounces diced pancetta
1 tbsp crumbled dried porcini (I left this out, didn’t have any)
3 sprigs rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
4 ounces mortadella (also left this out, didn’t have any)
2 slices bread
2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut pork shoulder into large chunks, mix with onion, carrot, celery, pancetta, porcini, and rosemary. Heat broth with tomato paste, stirring till smooth. Pour over meat and vegetables. Roast one hour. At this point the pork was not yet falling apart tender, so I covered with foil, turned down to 350, and baked another hour. At this point the pork easily yielded to the tines of my fork. Remove rosemary stems. Next time, I’ll just cook the whole thing on the stove top for an hour and a half. Let cool, then I set aside half of it to freeze for next time. Put the meat in a food processor with bread, nutmeg, mortadella, salt, and pulse to finely chop. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed . Mix in eggs and cheese.
The pasta: This is Chef Anne Burrell’s recipe from her cookbook Cook Like a Rock Star. It’s a great recipe. I don’t make it by hand as she instructs.
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
4 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of kosher salt. I used 1/2 tsp
Place flour in kitchenaid mixer bowl. Make a well in the center and add eggs and yolk, olive oil, and 2 tbsp water. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low till well combined. Remove from bowl and knead well for a long time, 8-15 minutes is what Anne recommends. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour. Cut the dough into quarters. Flatten into an oval disc, dust with flour, and run it through the widest setting (1) on the pasta roller. Fold into thirds and run it through again. Do this one more time, then turn to setting 2, dust with flour, and roll it through again, ONCE. Turn to setting 3, run it through once. Dust with flour as needed and run through setting 4, 5, and 6. Cut the dough to fit the length of the ravioli mold. Spray the mold with Pam. Place a sheet of dough on the mold, place the plastic press on top and push it down, forming 12 perfect indentations. Place a scoop of filling in each depression, cover with another sheet of dough, and seal by rolling a rolling pin over the top. Turn the ravioli loose onto a floured baking sheet. THIS IS SO FUN TO DO.
This make 6 dozen ravioli. I would have made 8 dozen except I ruined the first quarter of the dough.
Boil the ravioli for just a couple of minutes. I tend to overcook since I’m not used to fresh pasta. Drain and serve. I tried three ways:
(1) olive oil, salt, and parm.
(2) Chicken broth.
(3) Red sauce.
The chicken broth narrowly edged out the red sauce, they were both really really good, and the oil and parm alone was a distant third. We ate half, and I froze the other half in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, place them in a ziplock bag and return to freezer.
These are better than canned.
this is my rolling out ravioli song.