I’d only previously experienced ravioli as those hard, somewhat joyless little squares of filled pasta you bought at the supermarket, so the first time I had my mother-in-law’s home-made ravioli, I was blown away by these giant pasta pockets filled with ricotta and parsley, and served up with the obligatory corned-beef sauce.
These are quite easy to make, but making just enough for one meal isn’t very time-effective, so I like to make a huge quantity, and freeze them. This recipe should make at least 40 ravioli – enough for a good 3 meals. These ravioli are very filling – most people with fill up on 4 of them; my teenagers managed about 6 each.
The important thing is to seal them well, and refrigerate them for a while, so they don’t burst when you cook them.
What do I need?
- 6 cups of plain flour
- Water (I forgot to measure, but enough to make a good dough)
- 600-700 grams of ricotta
- 3/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
- 3-4 eggs
- 2 tsp or so of cracked pepper
- 1 or 2 tsp salt
- 2 small-medium onions, roughly chopped
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, sliced thickly
- 1 Tin corned beef
- 440g Tin Tomatoes
- 3 or 4 good-sized dollops of tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Small handful of grated parmesan
- Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to taste
What do I do?
Mix water into the flour until you have a firm dough. Divide the dough into lumps roughly the size of a golf ball.
In another bowl, mix the ricotta, eggs, parsley*, salt and pepper thoroughly.
Flour a bench or board, and roll each ball of dough into a roughly saucer-sized, roughly circular shape. If you can get it into a perfect circle, well good for you. I guess if you were particularly obsessive, you could roll a big ball of dough into a sheet, and cut circles out with a large glass or egg ring or something, but … pffffttttt.
Anyway, you basically don’t want to roll the dough too thin, or it’ll burst when it’s cooked. Roll it until it’s about 2-3 mm thick.
Roll out as many as you’ve got space for on your bench or board (I could fit about 4 on the board I used), and dollop about a heaped tablespoon full of the ricotta mixture in the middle of each.
Moisten the edge of the dough for about half its circumference – I keep a glass of water handy and just dip my finger in and run it around the edge – then fold one half over onto the other, and press the edges together well until it’s sealed.
Have a stack of baking trays handy. Scatter some flour on a tray, and lay the finished ravioli out – make sure they don’t touch each other, or they’ll stick together. Once you’ve filled up a tray, bung it in the fridge or the freezer, depending on whether you’re going to cook them that day or keep them for later. If you do freeze them, leave them on the tray until they’re frozen fairly hard before you put them in a freezer bag. If you just put them straight into a bag, when you thaw them, you’ll just wind up with a mushy, nasty pasta and ricotta football. Bag up about 16-20 at a time.
Once you’re done making the ravioli (and you’ll realise by now why I make these things in big batches), heat up a frying pan and splash in a little olive oil. Fry the onions and garlic on medium heat until they’re softened, and then add the corned beef. Break it up with a spoon as it fries and softens. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan with the tomato paste, wine and water. You should aim to make the sauce fairly runny. Add more water if needed. Add the oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
Leave the sauce to simmer, and heat up a pot of water.
Once the water’s boiling, drop the ravioli in a few at a time and cook them for a few minutes each. You should be able to tell when they’re done, when they float to the top of the water. Being fresh, they won’t take as long to cook as you’re probably used to with pasta. Don’t be tempted to cook too many at once, or they’ll all stick together, and that ain’t pretty.
Lift the ravioli out with a slotted spoon to drain them, then dish four or so into a bowl or plate.
Slop over some sauce, and you’re done!
*I’ll post a video demo on how to chop parsley quickly and easily soon.