|My grandmother & grandfather on their wedding day|
Unfortunately, this tradition had been lost on my grandmother's generation....she never made her own ravioli. In fact she told me that she never made her own pasta. I knew that this would be the perfect treat to bridge the gap. It's also something I am very proud of--I am now the keeper of this lost tradition.
So off to Buffalo I went to see my family and to make ravioli for my grandmother. Let me say this: my grandmother can be classified as cantankerous. But the day I made her ravioli, she was a different person... she was happier and less critical than I have seen her in years. This warmed my soul.
Now don't think I forgot that the last time I wrote about ravioli I said I would give you the recipe... well, after the pictures....comes the recipe!!!!
Here I am making the pasta by breaking the eggs in the center, adding oil, and then mixing with a fork
It gets a bit crumbly, but once the water is added it becomes a cohesive, elastic dough!
This is a picture from a different ravioli session, but I wanted you to get the idea.....
The press presses these suckers into perfect pillows!
Never stack your raviolis or you will end up crying because they will all stick together. Instead, use cornmeal (pictured) or flour to coat a sheet pan. Then place the ravioli on top and when you've filled the sheet pan either cook immediately or place into the freezer to freeze. Once frozen you can put the ravioli in a container (and then it's okay to stack them too.)
Time for the filling! There is a ton of fillings that you make, but when you are a traveling ravioli maker, ricotta is the easiest filling to tackle. I found this SUPER fresh ricotta cheese at the local [Buffalo] Italian market. It tasted out of this world
I promised a picture of the finished product and HERE IT IS AT LONG LAST!
All plated to perfection!
Me, my mother, and my grandmother all sat down a Sunday dinner. It was extremely special for me to dine knowing that three generations of Farina women were sitting around a table enjoying the lost traditional ravioli!!!
Billie's Ravioli For Grandma Recipe:
Time: 45 minutes-1 hour (depending on how you roll!) | Serves 4 | Difficulty Level: Medium
First, a note: I make my own pasta because this is an important tradition to me. I will not judge you if you use pre-made dough bought at a store or even wonton wrappers. Making dough is an art, and I think EVERYONE should do it at least once, but it's not the most feasible for everyone, and I completely understand that! If you use wonton wrappers or something similar and are not working with a ravioli press, you will want to seal the wrappers by putting a little water on your fingers and going around the outside of the wrapper. Then fold into a triangle and press to seal. (In the time, I didn't include making the pasta)
This is the recipe, just as I made it for my grandmother.
You Will Need:
1 recipe Billie's Perfect Pasta Dough, rolled into long sheets
Wonton wrappers or other pre-made dough
Cornmeal or Flour to dust sheet pans (whichever you have, I used flour this day)
Extra four for dusting the ravioli press (if you are using it)
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
A pinch of salt
A few dashes of pepper
Special equipment: ravioli press (if using homemade dough)
Rolling pin (can also use a wine bottle)
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
Flour or cornmeal your sheet pans and have them on standby.
Prepare your surface by flouring it amply. If using the ravioli press, give it a healthy dose of flour so that the dough doesn't stick.
Lay one sheet of pasta over the press. Using the metal piece that comes with the press, press down the pasta to make the indentations for the filling.
Using a teaspoon, spoon the ricotta mixture into the indentations for the filling. When you have filled all the spaces, dip your finger in a small bowl of cold water and run your wet finger along the edges of the pasta sheet. Then place another sheet of pasta dough overtop. (The water will help seal the doughs together... but if you forget, don't worry. Sometimes I forget too, and it turns out just fine!)
Using a rolling pin, wine bottle, or other instrument for rolling, go over the top layer of dough, sealing in the filling and pressing the two layers of pasta into the press. Don't be shy with this step, really roll it and make sure that the magic is happening. You'll want to go around the edges and make sure the dough is being cut.
Once you are done rolling, flip the ravioli press upside down and lift away from the raviolis. You should have PERFECT ravioli shaped pasta pillows. Using a dough scraper, cut the raviolis apart (if they are not fully cut out, that is to be expected) and then, using the dough scraper, transfer the ravioli to the sheet pan.
(If using wrappers instead of fresh dough, simply wet your fingers, go around the wrapper and then fold into a triangle. Then transfer to the sheet pan.)
Repeat until all the dough and filling have been used up.
If you are freezing the raviolis, place the sheet pans directly into the freezer. Let them freeze through about 1 hour and then transfer them to a container (at which point, when they are frozen, you can stack them) and freeze up to 6 months.
If cooking, simply boil a big pot of water on the stove. Drop the raviolis into the boiling water and boil for about 2-3 minutes or until they float. the hardest part? Draining the pot.
The cooked ravioli are very delicate, and so instead of draining them in a traditional colander, I suggest using a slotted spoon to remove them from the water.
Serve with THE Marinara Sauce, or any other sauce of your choice! Pairs well with an alfredo sauce too!