Monday, August 22, 2011

Homemade Ravioli

My first adventure in plastic free gourmet was a complete success. While not completely plastic free, it's pretty darn close and my overall waste was incredibly minimal. The beauty of purchasing items from bulk stores and local farms!
I am going to share with you the recipe(s) I used to create fabulous homemade ravioli with remarkably simple homemade cheese. While this is a bit time consuming the result is well worth it and this is a perfect weekend activity when the weather is less than perfect.

Before I start though, I have my first small harvest from my garden, 6 beautiful green zebra tomatoes and a zucchini! I lightly pan fried the zucchini in a bit of olive oil and garlic to serve with my ravioli last night for dinner. It was fantastic! Now I just have to cross my fingers that I'll see a few more pop up!

Alright, now on to the ravioli. The first step is to make the cheese. I wanted to use raw milk but our local co-op only sells raw milk in plastic containers, not glass. I went with a local pasturized whole milk in a glass bottle. The small plastic top is the only waste from my whole adventure:

Homemade Farmer's Cheese:
1/2 gallon milk (raw whole milk is ideal. If you use pasturized, don't use "ultra pasturized")
1/4t salt
1/4C lemon juice (or white vinegar)
1T dried italian seasoning
1/2t garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Pour milk into a large pot and add salt. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring frequently. If you have a candy thermometer heat the milk to 190 degrees.

Remove from heat and immediately add lemon juice. Stir briefly to incorporate then let sit for 10 minutes.

At this point you should have white curds floating in yellow, noncloudy whey. If the liquid is white or cloudy reheat and add a little more lemon juice.

Line a mesh sive or collinder with cheese cloth or other fine mesh bag or cloth (I just used a nylon nut milk bag). Put the sive or collinder over a large pot or bowl to collect the whey in case you didn't remove all the milk curds. Pour the milk through the cheese cloth to collect the curds. Hang the cheese cloth bag over the sink to let drain for 2-4 hours. Yeilds about 2 cups.

Transfer cheese to a small bowl and mix in Itialian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Refridgerate until ready to use.

This cheese is very creamy and mild in flavor. The consistancy is similar to ricotta but even smoother. It's perfect for ravioli filling but I'd also use it to make a cheese dip or to add interest to a salad.

Now for the pasta dough. The hardest part here is rolling it out. Unless you have a pasta roller you're going to get a good workout!

I buy my eggs from a local farm that has eggs that aren't certified organic but are raised organically, without antibiotics and are free range. They also reuse the cartons.

Basic Pasta Dough:
2 eggs
2C flour
1/2t salt
1-3t olive oil
1-2t water

Mix together salt and flour. Create well in the middle. Gently beat eggs together and pour into well in flour. Mix together. This should form a stiff dough. If too dry add olive oil, 1t at a time, mixing and kneading to incorporate. If still too dry add water 1t at a time. Once dough holds together turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 4 minutes. Put dough in a sealed container and let sit for at least 15 minutes. (Can be stored for several days in the refridgerator.)

Making it all come together is the time consuming part. I had my boyfriend roll the dough out once I'd struggled with it longer than I wanted.

Seperate pasta dough into 2 balls. Roll out 1 ball into a large thin sheet. (As thin as possilbe, use a pasta roller if available.) Trim edges so the sheet is a rectangle. Add scraps to second ball and roll that one out the same way. Cut dough into rectagles about 1.5x3 inches in size. Put water in a small bowl. Put 1T of cheese centered in the lower half of each rectangle. Dip your finger in the water bowl and wet the edges of each regtangle, then across the middle. Fold in half and press edges together with a fork. Set ravioli on a tray to dry for 20-40 minutes.

To cook them I boiled water with a tablespoon of olive oil (to keep the ravioli from sticking together). Reduce the heat so the water isn't boiling and add the ravioli. Since my edges were rather thick the ravioli cooked for about 10 minutes which was just perfect! Top with sauce and enjoy!

Since pasta sauce is readily available in glass jars I didn't make my own but a homemade marinara would have made this dish even more fantastic. Maybe the next time I'm at the farmer's market I'll have to get some extra tomatoes to play with!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Nic. This looks amazing! I'll post on Facebook because it's really inspiring. Even I could do it.