I having been itching to make homemade pasta for some time now but kept putting it off because I thought it would be too complicated. Um, hello? Can you say easy and scrumptious? Fuhgettaboudit.
Tonight's dinner: whole wheat ravioli stuffed with a blend of italian sausage, roasted asparagus and cheeses and topped with homemade marinara.
In a food processor, blend 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups white flour. In a separate bowl, blend 6 eggs and 3 tbsp olive oil. With the processor on, slowly pour in the egg mixture and process until a ball is formed. Add a little bit of room temperature water if needed. Once the dough ball is formed, transfer to a greased bowl and cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rest for 30-60 minutes.
While the pasta dough is doin' its thing, get your filling going - my filling tonight was a mild italian sausage with cheese and roasted asparagus. I started by sauteing one minced shallot in a little bit of olive oil and then added the italian sausage to brown (be sure not to overcook since it will be boiled with the pasta). I drained the sausage on a paper towel and then transferred to a mixing bowl, added about 5 ounces of marscapone cheese and 3 ounces shredded parmesan. I had leftover roasted asparagus so I chopped the stalks and added that in also.
Let the fun begin! To make the dough manageable, cut into quarters. Dust your countertop with flour, grab your rolling-pin and have at it. As Ina says, "Always keep the dough moving on your board." I found out the hard way when I tried to move my first batch of cut ravioli and it wouldn't budge off of my counter. Roll the dough out pretty thin but still thick enough to handle a stuffing. To stuff the pasta, mound spoonfuls of the mixture onto the dough a few inches apart. You can either then fold the dough over to seal or add a 2nd rolled out pasta sheet over the first. Once covered, push down around each mound to remove as much air as possible. I used a Pampered Chef sandwich cutter/sealer to make large ravioli but you can always cut each piece out and then use a fork to seal the edges.
Once you have formed your pasta, let it rest for about 10 minutes. Bring water to a boil, salt it up and drop a few in at a time. They only need about 4-6 minutes to cook depending on how thick you rolled out the dough. The ravioli will start to float to the top when they are about ready.
Tonight's ravioli was topped with homemade marinara which is also as easy as 1-2-3:
1 diced shallot
2 cloves garlic minced
1 can San Marzano tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
fresh herbs - thyme, oregano, parsley, basil
1 large bay leaf
red pepper flakes
s & p
Start by sweating out the onion and garlic in a sauce pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and over medium heat. Add the can tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped herbs, red pepper flakes and season with s & p. I use my Cuisinart hand blender to mash the tomatoes and blend everything right in the sauce pan. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes with the bay leaf. That's it!
The whole wheat pasta is very hardy with a slightly nutty flavor. I reserved the other half of our dough to try a stuffing of sautéed mushrooms or roasted butternut squash...I think I'll be dreaming of stuffed pillows of pasta tonight!