Friday, September 25, 2009


Sundays, well what can I say? It is my most and least favorite day of the week! No sporting events to attend, only ones to watch.  No work, no school, usually no homework to nag about. It is the day that belongs to each of us to make of it what we desire, but somewhere around 3:00 the realization of Monday begins to creep in. It is like being on vacation and knowing the only thing left of it is the packing and traveling. Total bummer.

In any case, on one such Sunday, I decided to do something creative.  My idea of creativity is creating something edible.  Sometimes it is my day to make chicken stock to freeze up for future uses.  When my garden is in full swing, it is making a beautiful roasted tomato sauce that I can freeze for a future use or making a pesto before the basil goes to flower and seed. On one recent Sunday, I decided that a homemade ravioli was in order. I have a really wonderful pasta dough recipe that is heavy on the eggs, but it makes a nice firm ravioli which I like, holds up very well in the end.

Pasta Dough

Makes about 1-1/2 pounds

3 cups all-purpose flour
7 large egg yolks plus one whole egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil or other flavored oil if desired ( I use a garlic flavored avocado oil)
1/4 cup water
Bench Flour

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, yolks, salt, oil, and 3 tablespoons of the water. Process until the dough begins to hold together. Stop the machine and pinch a piece of dough: If it feels too dry, pulse in up to 1 tablespoon more water, until the dough forms a moist ball.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball. Loosely wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for up to 1 hour before using. (While it is resting, this is a good time to set up your work area and make your filling)

Filling Recipes and Directions

I have two favorites, cheese and roasted butternut squash.
Cheese Filling-
15 oz container of ricotta cheese (my favorite brand is PollyO)
1- 8oz bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1- 8oz bag shredded Italian blend cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 heavy cream
1/4 - 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp basil, chopped
salt and pepper
Combine all these ingredients, salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut Squash Filling
Heat oven to 425.  Take 2 butternut squash, cut down the middle, scoop out seeds, brush with vegetable oil, salt and pepper.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet and put in preheated oven.  Cook for about 30 minutes, till tender - a knife or fork can go thru with ease.  Take out till cool enough to handle.  Scoop flesh out into a food processor bowl.  Add to the bowl one 15 oz container of ricotta cheese, 1 8 oz bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, 1/4 - 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp chopped sage. Process till smooth, if it seems dry add chicken stock, water or vegetable stock, a couple tbsp at a time till smooth.  Taste.  The squash should be somewhat sweet, but depending on how ripe it was it may need a tbsp or so of sugar added.

To prepare your workspace try to designate a section of counter top space for the process, in one section lay out a towel, preferably flour sack cloth, but any cloth towel will do. Lightly flour the cloth. As you make your raviolis, you will place them there to dry. You will need a small dish with one beaten egg and a pastry brush and a tablespoon for your filling, a cutter for the dough.  You can go fancy with fluted edge rollers or as simple as a tin can you took the top and bottom off of and cleaned well. I wuse a biscuit cutter. Personally, I like about a 4 inch round. You will also need to roll your dough out, either by hand or machine.  I have a machine, there are attachments for your kitchen aid mixer, or hand crank pasta machines.
Separate your dough into 4 pieces for easier management, making sure unused dough is covered in plastic wrap at all times. Take the first  of 4 and press down to make flat enough to go thru your pasta roller at the largest setting.  Roll thru and fold in half lengthwise and roll thru again, then move your setting down one size and do it again, no need to repeat, unless you are getting uneven sides or holes. Repeat till you are at the smallest setting.  Lay your sheet out and cut as many rounds as possible. Take one half of each round and put one heaping tablespoon of filling in it, take the other round and brush with egg wash. Place on top of filled side, I like to put it in my hand at this point and press the edges together, making sure to get as much excess air out as possible and sealing as well as you can. Place on your prepared cloth.  Repeat until you have used as much dough as possible.  I like to take the extra shreds of dough and let it dry, then throw in a ziplock bag into the freezer for future soup noodles. As you are preparing your raviolis, as you finish one of the 4 balls of dough, lightly dust the tops of the prepared raviolis with flour and then flip them, the idea is to let them dry a bit.

Bring the water to boil in a large pot.  When at a boil, salt the water, then add the raviolis, careful not to crowd the pot.  Reduce the heat to keep it at a gentle simmer, if it boils too hard, the raviolis will come apart and you will have empty pillows.  They should take about 5 minutes, they will start to raise to the surface.

As for toppings, the easiest thing to do is to melt butter in a skillet, throw in some fresh herbs and and then dust the top with some fresh shredded cheese.


Give this one a try! I will add a picture later, but I was reminded about how great this recipe is and how popular you will be if you make it and share!

2 bars of cream cheese
Pace Picante Salsa (whatever heat level you want) – but I do not use the chunky one I use the original one.
1- Chipotle Chile
1/2 -1 cup of shredded cheese
one bunch green onions, chopped
1 med tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
opt- 1/4 cup cilantro – chopped
opt-1 jalapeno, minced
I put the cream cheese in the food processor ( it helps too if it is room temp) and blend till creamy. I add the salsa a bit at a time, I am more interested in consistency, but I will guess it is about a cup. You want it creamy and not too liquidy, although it does firm up a bit in the refrigerator so you don’t want it to be so firm that you wont be able to get a chip in there. With the processor running, add one chipotle chile and a little of the adobo sauce too( you find them in the hispanic food area called chipotle in adobo sauce). If you wanted to add a little more heat then you would add the jalapeno now too.Open your processor lid and toss in cheese, I either use the Sargento Lite Mexican Shredded cheese to lighten things up, or sometimes for a kick I use Shredded Pepper Jack and/or this Chipotle White Cheese (I have only seen this at Costco and it have a neat smoky taste without being too spicy) and the chopped green onions,. at this point you would also add the cilantro if you were using it. Place the lid back on and just pulse till mixed through. You don’t want to loose the texture of the onions and cheese. Take it out and place in your serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Doing this part early in the day is a good thing, gives it plenty of time to firm up and have all the flavors come together. When you are ready to serve, you can garnish with the chopped tomato and avocado. Serve with chips, cut veggies, crackers, anything dipable!
Take extra large flour tortillas, spread the dip on the tortilla about 1/4 – 1/2 inch from the edge, top with the avo and tomato. Roll the tortilla fairly tightly. Get some sturdy paper towel and just dampen, you don’t want them wet, lightly dampened. Roll the paper towel around each tortilla roll and place in a sealable plastic storage bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Just before you plan to serve, unroll the paper towels and slice the tortilla rolls about 1 inch thick. Serve cut sides showing, and you can have some extra salsa on hand for dipping too if you want.