This my friends, is our date night delish.
You know that recipe we all have for a special occasion, well this is ours. We usually make this for a nice valentine’s meal or other special night. Like date night.
If the thought of making your own ravioli from scratch and making a “posh” sauce all sounds a bit much, then stay with us. We are about to give you all the tools you need to impress that someone special, wife, husband, significant other, BFF or indeed yourself. Cause you are worth it.
It all starts with having the tools in your kitchen to make life easier. You know I am a fan of tech that makes life easier!
So we’ve laid this out in the order we make the meal in its entirety, but feel free to do this your way.
So let’s start with the ravioli.
The pasta dough
- 200g strong white flour
- 2 eggs
- splash of oil
- salt and pepper
Pasta dough does not need to be difficult to make, yes the TV chefs will tell you to do it the traditional way by incorporating your egg into the flour on the bench… hell no. heck out our previous blog posts, we’ve done that. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nopers.
That is just messy and annoying. Big bowl or mixer is the way to go. Why make life difficult?
Just put it all into a big bowl and bring it together with your hands to make a dough. It’s a bit drier than bread dough, but you should still knead it until it is soft and elastic.
Gadget number 1
Now here is the thing. To roll it, you don’t need a pasta machine, you CAN use a rolling pin but it is a hell of a lot easier if you have a pasta machine. And if you are worrying that a pasta machine will lounge at the back of a cupboard and never get used. Take a look at some of the fun we’ve had with a pasta machine – and not all of it was for pasta.
Our first attempt at ravioli: http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/fun-with-a-pasta-machine/
More pasta machine fun: http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/even-more-fun-with-the-pasta-machine/
Making Dim Sum with a pasta machine: http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/more-fun-with-a-pasta-machine-chinese-dim-sum/
So once you’ve made your dough, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for half an hour to rest and let the glutens develop.
While the pasta dough is chilling you can start prepping the filling for your ravioli.
For the mushroom filling
- 1 tbsp oil for frying
- 100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh picked thyme leaves from the herb planter
- 100g skinless, boneless chicken breast, finely chopped
- 1 free-range egg
- 30ml double cream
- pinch grated nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
This filling works just as well without the chicken, so you can leave it out if you’d prefer.
Ok, the first thing I am going to do is warn you, in its raw state, this filling does not look appetising at all. I will show you a picture, just to give you a heads up. But trust me on this, once the ravioli is cooked, it is divine!
OK, start by frying the onion over a medium heat until soft and golden-brown. Then add the mushrooms, garlic and the thyme and give it another 3 or 4 minutes to soften up the mushrooms.
Put all that into a bowl and set aside.
Next, put three-quarters of the chopped chicken breast meat into a food processor along with the egg, cream and nutmeg and blend until smooth to make a mousse. This is the bit I warned you about. It doesn’t look pretty.
Now add the chicken mousse to the bowl with the mushrooms and remaining chopped chicken and mix well to combine. Your filling is done.
Ok let’s shape the ravioli
Remove the pasta dough from the fridge and divide into four equal pieces. Cover three pieces with a clean, damp tea towel and dust the fourth piece in flour. We usually find for the two of us, we end up with an extra portion of ravioli for the freezer and a portion of unrolled dough for the freezer. Depends on how many you are feeding and how big you make your ravioli.
You need your pasta dough to be thin enough to go through the pasta machine on it’s thickest setting. So I start off by rolling it a little. I basically roll it into an oblong shape then fold each side over on itself to make a square and give it another roll.
This helps to create a starting rectangle, meaning your dough will be neater. I didn’t think to get a photo of this but just think of making your ball of dough into as neat a rectangle as you can.
Now, dust the rollers on the pasta machine with flour and starting at the lowest (thickest) setting. You want to turn the rollers and slowly feed the dough through the machine, turning the handle with one hand and holding the dough as it comes through the machine with the other.
We put the dough through twice on each setting going through all the settings. Now the dough will get really long, and really thin. So keep your hands and the work surface floured so it doesn’t stick (or it will tear).
I find it much easier to keep cutting the dough to manageable lengths.
You just keep changing the setting on the pasta machine to the next-thinner setting, flour it again and feed the pasta sheet through the machine again until the dough has reached the thickness you want (1.5mm thick). For us, that is about setting 5 or 6 on our machine.
Repeat with the remaining dough until you have all your lovely thin, long sheets of pasta.
Gadget number 2
Now we have made our ravioli completely by hand in the past and it works fine. However, we recently bought a ravioli mould and it just makes life so much easier, and so much quicker. We made this whole meal after work on Friday night, that’s the difference a pasta machine and a ravioli mould makes.
So, lay one sheet of pasta onto the floured mould, and use the indent shaper to make little pockets for your filling.
Next, add just one teaspoonful of the filling to each pocket. Resist the urge to overfill. Trust me. If you overfill it will burst.
Now run a wet finger around the outside of each little pocket. This helps the two sheets of dough stick together. Then put the second sheet of pasta on top. Then we use the rolling pin to “roll over” the dough, this will press it down, sealing it, and the perforations on the mould will cut the individual little ravioli.
The trick now is to tap them out onto a floured board. Just flip the mould over and give it a good bump. This is why I said to flour the mould at the beginning.
Now just repeat until you have used up all your filling.
- 320ml Marsala wine
- 320ml double cream
- 30ml milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 250g sliced mushrooms
- half a diced onion (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Put the water on in a large pot to boil for the pasta.
- At the same time, heat a large frying pan and a bit of oil and fry the onions and mushrooms until soft.
- Add the Marsala and bring to a boil, simmer for about 2-4 minutes
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in cream and milk and simmer for 5 minutes. It’s ready when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and when you drag your finger through it, the line stays.
- Turn the heat off from under the sauce, and add your ravioli to the pan of boiling water. It will take about 3 minutes. Fresh pasta is much quicker to cook than dried.
We like to serve the ravioli on top of some wilted spinach and asparagus or even samphire, you can try this or just serve the pasta and sauce on its own, completely under your control 🙂
Basically add lashings of the sauce and nom.
That is our favourite treat dinner to cook for special occasions. A couple of kitchen gadgets and you have amazing, fresh, homemade ravioli on a weeknight even. No stress no hassle.
But lots of washing up, sorry.
You can get all sorts of ravioli moulds and cutters, have a wee search on the internet and watch a couple of videos to decide which one is right for you. Ours was a cheap medium-sized mould, but it is brilliant.
Ours is the Norpro Jumbo Ravioli Maker with Press