Pasta Plates: ravioli

We are a family of pasta lovers, if you can’t tell by now. This is our third food post and each one features a pasta dish. In my opinion, there is almost no meal as good as homemade pasta made using fresh eggs from our chickens. In our home we strive to produce as much of our own ingredients as possible. It becomes more difficult in the winter months of course. Perhaps the next DIY project with my talented woodworking grandfather will be a cold frame greenhouse. That would truly be a dream come true for me.
As for cooking, Tim is the primary chef in this family. I grow the food and he creates many of the yummy dishes we chow down on. Tim is a recreational foodie. He does not work with food by trade but finds joy in discovering new recipes for our family to try in our at-home test kitchen.
As new parents, we have been making a point to cook together as a family more frequently. Tonight we popped Kai into the carrier and took turns with him as we did our parts to put dinner on the table. Infants absorb the habits of their surroundings. We speak to Kai, naming foods aloud and talking him through the activity which stimulates his learning and strengthens his memory connected to food.
I’ll be the first to admit this is not the healthiest of meals. This Lemon Ricotta Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce recipe comes from a girl after my own heart! Rachel Connors of Bakerita is a multi talented baker, writer, photographer, recipe developer and creator of this tasty dish.
For the ricotta
  1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
  2. Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
  3. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta (for this recipe, let it get pretty thick, standing for about 25-30 minutes). Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.
For the pasta dough
  1. In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. Drizzle in 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball (I ended up using an extra tablespoon of olive oil to make it come together). Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
  2. Alternatively if you don’t have an electric mixer: Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface; shape into a mound and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall of the well in a circular motion. Use 1 hand for mixing and the other to protect the outer wall. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Continue as directed above.
For the Lemon Ricotta Filling
  1. Stir all ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not using immediately.
To assemble the ravioli
  1. Cut the ball of dough in ½, cover and reserve the piece you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at widest setting. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue tightening until the machine is at the narrowest setting; the dough should be paper-thin, about ⅛-inch thick (you should be able to see your hand through it.). Dust the sheets of dough with flour as needed.
  2. If you don’t have a pasta machine (as I don’t), just use a good ole’ rolling pin and make it as symmetrical and as thin as you can get it!
  3. Beat 1 egg white (reserved from the filling) with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Dust the counter and sheet of dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta, and brush the top surface with the egg wash, which acts as a glue. Drop teaspoons of your favorite filling on ½ of the pasta sheet, about 1.5-inches apart. Fold the other ½ over the filling like a blanket. With your fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling. Use a sharp knife or small cookie cutter to cut each pillow into squares (or circles, as I did) and crimp the edges with the tins of a fork to make a tight seal. Dust the ravioli and a sheet pan with cornmeal to prevent the pasta from sticking and lay them out to dry slightly while assembling the rest.
  4. Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water for 4 minutes; they’ll float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon.
  5. While the ravioli are cooking, melt the butter over medium-high heat. While it’s fully melted, add in the sage leaves. Let the butter just begin to brown and turn to low. When your ravioli’s are ready, add into the pan and saute in the brown butter for about 1 minute on each side or until the butter clings to the ravioli. Turn off the heat and add in the lemon juice. Shake the pan to coat the raviolis. Plate your dishes, and garnish with the lemon zest. Enjoy!
You can buy ricotta, but it’s so easy to make and the results are so worth it!
Be sure to loosen up the string on your sweatpants for this one! It is super indulgent. We promise our next meal post will be on the healthier side. In the meantime we hope you try and enjoy this ultimate comfort dish.

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