I love making fresh pasta. I know it can sound intimidating to make your own dough from scratch, but seriously, it’s so simple to do, and fresh made pasta is always a show stopper.
Last weekend one of my favorite cooking buddies, Amanda and I were having a small dinner party with a few couples, and we decided to make some homemade raviolis for the group. It always helps to have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen when rolling out these large sheets of dough.
We went with a traditional cheese filled ravioli in tomato basil sauce, and a pork sage & wild mushroom filled ravioli that was cooked in a buttery, white wine broth, served with a thick loaf of soft Italian bread. We all agreed both raviolis were delicious, but the pork raviolis really stole the show. When you make fresh pasta it’s so much more susceptible to soaking up flavor – and this buttery broth was in every bite. Then, because apparently it’s not socially acceptable to drink the broth from our bowls like a second grader sipping his cereal – we dipped every piece of our crusty bread in to the broth to sop up every last bit of buttery flavor! This is one of my favorite recipes I’ve made to date. Enjoy.
For the pasta:
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tsp salt
Mound the flour in a volcano shape and make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the eggs and salt to the center. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Once about half of the four is incorporated, get your hands dirty and begin working the dough with your hands.
Start kneading the dough with both hands, add more flour in 1/4-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from your surface and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the clean surface and continue kneading for about 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Remember to dust your surface with flour as necessary, or add a little water if it is too dry.
Divide the dough in to 4 pieces and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature.
While the dough is resting, make your filling.
Pork Sage Mushroom Ravioli in White wine Broth
3/4 lb ground Pork
1/2 lb mushrooms diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 egg for filling, 1 egg for ravioli sheet
1/4 cup onion (diced very small)
2 tsp. fresh oregano
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tbs fresh sage
1/2 cup fine grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup thinly diced pancetta
3 cups low sodium Chicken Stock
2 cups Chardonnay (I used La Crema, one of my favorite buttery Chardonnays)
In a large saute pan cook your pancetta until just crispy- then set aside on a paper towel to drain.
In the same saute pan set to medium high with a drizzle of olive oil warm your minced garlic until just fragrant, about one minute. Add the diced onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add all your chopped herbs and the ground pork. Work the mixture thoroughly with a wooden spoon to break up all the meat. Cook about 3/4 the way through (it will finish cooking when you boil it in the pasta). Then transfer the pork filling to a mixing bowl. Add the parmesean cheese, mix well incorporating everything then add your raw egg to help bind the filling together.
After your pasta dough has had time to rest you can begin rolling it through the pasta machine to make your flat sheets. Start with the widest setting and simply feed through the roller to make the sheets. Decrease the width by one stop each run through until you end up with a long, almost translucent sheet of pasta.
Cut the long roll in to a more manageable length and place on a floured cutting surface. Dollop a spoon full of filling in to place about 2 inches apart from each other. Our wide pasta sheets allowed us to make two rows on each sheet.
In a small bowl beat one egg with a little water. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg on the pasta sheet around the filling. Lay a matching flat sheet of pasta on top of the filling layer and work with your fingers to press the pasta around each ravioli, trying best to get out any air bubbles. Then cut out each ravioli (I just used a pizza cutter to do this). Press tightly on the edges to make sure they are sealed. Set them aside on a tray lined with parchment paper, once all your raviolis are cut, place them in the freezer for just 10 minutes to make sure they are set.
With the raviolis in the freezer, it’s time to bring your chicken stock and white wine to a boil in a large pot. Taste the broth first- salt to taste if needed. Then working in small batches drop your ravioli in to the broth and cook about 3-5 minutes until they all float, that’s when you know they are done. As they cook set them aside in a serving bowl with a little broth to swim in.
Once all are cooked add some extra broth in the serving bowl and garnish with the crispy cooked pancetta. Serve immediately.