Armed and Ready to Cook

December 31, 2007 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

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I must have been pretty good this year, because Santa brought me some sweet presents.  Two of my favorites:  the Atlas Pasta  Maker,  and the Cuisinart Food Processor.  Pretty much as soon as I got home from Massachusetts last night I took them out of their packages and put them to work.

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The meal: Ravioli with Cheese and Veggie Filling

Ravioli is fun to make but can be a bit time consuming. I recommend making a bunch on a slow weekend or when you’ve got some time to spare, and freezing some. It’s also a fun meal to make with kids. When I was little my mom would make home-made pasta (usually lasagna) and it was always a fun cooking event for the kids to participate in. Cooking with your kids is a great way to get them interested in food and nutrition, and also to encourage them to eat new foods that they haven’t tried yet. 

Anyways, so ravioli looks fancy, but is actually quite simple to make. You just need to make pasta dough and some filling, and then put them together like a little pocket full of heaven. You also need a pasta maker and a food processor (or somebody who really enjoys dicing veggies).

Pasta dough is basically flour, eggs, salt, oil and water. I used olive oil and half whole wheat flour/half white flour (they say it’s good for the colon). Here’s a basic recipe for a couple of servings of ravioli pasta – I tripled it so that I’d have leftovers to freeze:

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2/3 cups flour; 1 eg; 1 tbs oil; 1 tbs water; 1/2 tsp salt   — mix flour and salt, beat egg with oil and water and add into flour, mix it all with a wooden spoon and/or your hands until you have a nice big ball of dough.

Lay the dough out on a table with some flour and roll it out with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Then cut it into strips and feed it into the pasta maker on the lowest setting (low setting = wide noodles, high setting = thin noodles). You need to run the pasta strips through the pasta maker a few times, each time raising the setting so the noodles get nice and thin. When you get holes in the dough, make sure to patch them so your ravioli don’t ooze.

Take your pasta strips and cut them into squares (I like my ravioli big – about 3-4 inches wide and tall). Set them aside and make your filling:

What kind of vegetables do you like? Carrots? Squash? Spinach? Chop it up in your food processor and mix it with cheese and salt, and you’ve got your filling. Boyfriend and I made three kinds: mushroom, spinach, and squash. We mixed them with feta cheese and parmesan, but you could pretty much use any cheese (your call). Throw in some fresh herbs, pine nuts, whatever you like. The only criteria is that the filling be kind of dry – you don’t want it too wet and drippy (so once it’s all mixed together it should be a pasty or muddy texture).

Then you take small globs of the filling and put it in the center of one pasta square. Put another square on top of it and pinch the edges together with a fork – make sure that you press hard enough so the edges bind, but don’t press so hard that you poke holes in the ravioli. Trim the edges of the pockets with a knife so you get a nice clean square, and then pile them on a plate with a bit of flour sprinkled on each so they don’t stick together. They should look like this:

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At this point you can take some of your uncooked ravioli and put it in a plastic bag in the freezer (if you suck the air out before you seal it they’ll last longer without freezer burn). The rest you toss into a pot of boiling water and cook until a minute or so after they start floating.

Top them with some sauted garlic, olive oil and salt and serve. Yum!

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Entry filed under: clothes, shoes and other goodies (or badies), food, guilty displeasures, recommended.

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