Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recipe Of The Day: Pasta / Ravioli Dough

Getting in the kitchen and making a meal that people enjoy is a feeling that everyone should be able to experience frequently. This being especially true if you have children or someone in your life that means something exceptional to you. It’s similar to planting a garden, fixing your own car or hanging a painting, its just another notch in your belt of accomplishments that we oftentimes don’t give ourselves enough credit for.

Today is National Ravioli Day. If you have never made your own pasta dough, today is the day that you should give it a try. This Ravioli / Pasta Dough really is simple a recipe that can be used as the base to create thousands of dishes, literally.
You can fill this dough with whatever your heart desires, so long as it is cod / cool to the touch. Anything hot will begin to cook the dough and result in a mushy product.
For a recipe such as this, you should have a pasta machine to achieve a uniformed thickness on the dough.

Master this Dough recipe, make it your own and hand it down to the next generation. You wont be mad that you did.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp Kosher salt
4 eggs
2 TBS olive oil
1 yolk, for egg wash

In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt.
Add the eggs 1 at a time and continue to mix.
Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue to incorporate all of the flour until it forms a ball.
Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and knead the dough until it becomes elastic and smooth.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Cut the ball of dough in half, recover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out.
Dust the counter and dough with flour, (don’t be afraid to get flour on the surface, not enough will leave it stuck to whatever your working on and ruin your work to this point.)
Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at its widest setting.
Guide 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 until the machine is at its narrowest setting.
The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick.
Dust the counter and dough once again with flour and lay out the long sheet of pasta.

Brush the top surface of dough with egg wash.
Drop 1 tablespoon of cooled filling about 2-inches apart on half the sheet of pasta. 
Fold the unfilled half over the filling.
With an espresso cup or fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling and form a seal.
Use a crimper to cut each pillow into squares.
Check to make sure the crimped edges are well sealed before cooking.
If making ravioli in advance, dust with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking.
Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 10 to15 minutes.
Ravioli will float to the top when cooked so be careful not to overcrowd the pot.
Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon.
Plate the pasta, top with sauce and grated cheese before serving. 
*For Herb-Patterned Pasta: Follow the standard recipe given above and roll it out to a medium-thick sheet.
Next, take well-washed leafy herbs such as, basil, flat-leaf parsley and tarragon, pinch away the stems so only the leaves remain.
Hand press the fresh herbs on the dough's surface at 1-inch intervals.
Fold the dough over itself and run the "sandwich" through the pasta machine at a thin setting.
The leaves will stretch and pattern the pasta.
Continue making ravioli as the recipe states above.

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