Friday, October 1, 2010

Homemade ravioli: The dough

Very busy garden spiders setting up shop all over my yard the past few days have drawn my attention to the fact that it is fall. Not spring.

Do you have these at your house? They are everywhere here.

Which means I'm a total loser when it comes to completing my spring kitchen to-do list. But wait—did I actually say I would complete the list in spring? Or did I just propose the list in spring? Fact is, I've been a little disappointed with myself for technically only completing half the list (fried anchovy-stuffed olives and pate de fruit). Part of it is Trevor's fault because I wanted to make picture-perfect macarons with him when I was in his neighborhood this summer, but he had to go eat rice with his Persian in-laws that day.

And I really haven't been a loser when it comes to the homemade ravioli. On the contrary, I've been a positively industrious ravioli maker, but it's taken up so much of time, I haven't had time to post it all. It's been so much more involved than I thought and has, in fact, spun off it's own list:
1. Learn to make homemade pasta dough.
2. Master the mechanics of ravioli making.
3. Come up with a few fillings.
4. Discover the perfect sauce.
See what I mean? But as my favorite co-worker will say when I ask if he has completed the next step in a project "I dood it!" But it's too much for one day, so here comes the ravioli post series.

Today is the pasta. Or the noodles. When I was growing up we seriously did not ever use the word pasta. It was all noodles. Pasta was just a fancy word for the same thing, and we were an unpretentious family.

I only have one food processor (can you believe it??), and it was busy making something else, so I was happy to find that a bowl and a fork work perfectly well to blend this dough.

As far as ingredient proportions, Lisagh correctly observed that it's about the feel.

You want to add enough water that you can pinch the dough together. Sort of how pie crust dough feels.

I pushed it around with the heel of my hand on a floured board until it was slightly elastic and had lost its stickiness.

Then came the fun part.

Remember this? It was called the Fun Factory, and when your Playdough was new and springy and your machine was not clogged up with dried crusty dough what fun it was!

My hand crank pasta machine was almost as fun. I divided the dough into pieces about the size of a fist (mine as small) and ran them through a couple times each on successively tighter rollers, folding the dough in two each time before feeding through.

Lots of flour at the end was important so the dough didn't stick together

Basic Pasta

1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the flour, add the slightly beaten egg, and mix with a fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons water.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3 to 4 minutes. With a pasta machine or by hand roll dough out to desired thinness.
I'll be back (promise!) to make the ravs. Two kinds! Just guess.


Marianne said...

Anxiously awaiting the next post!!!!!

Marianne said...

Anxiously awaiting the next post!

Kate said...

Hmm...I was going to say butternut squash, but that seems a little 1993. Fig? Have you seen any recipes for gluten free ravioli dough in your travels?