February 24, 2010


The Great Pasta Experiment

I spent my day off doing what I love best-cooking. Not only was I in the kitchen, but I was making homemade ravioli with two of my favorite friends-sisters L. & V.- who also grew up in an Italian American family. They traditionally get together with family members and make huge quantities of ravioli during the holiday season. I, on the other hand, tend to make them when the mood strikes, but usually just for J. and I and maybe a few guests. We decided it would be a great way to spend an afternoon-experimenting with the various methods used to make pasta and we wanted to try using the Italian “00” flour.

The first batch of dough was made in a food processor using eggs and water and it was wonderful. The second batch, made the same way, seemed tougher and harder to roll out, even after letting it rest longer. I was called into action to quickly make another batch and due to time restraints, I made it in the food processor, something that I rarely do. I usually use the “flour on a wood board, eggs in a well, fork method” and my batch seemed to be a failure. V. came to my aid and rescued my dough and we moved on to rolling the dough and filling it.

We made two fillings-the classic ricotta cheese with parsley and a meat filling with veal and spinach. I was thrilled to get to use the ravioli device shown in the picture as I usually just form the ravioli by hand. I loved the “ravioli rack”-it’s so easy to use and to be honest it’s quicker and easier than my free form hand formed ones.

Next we tried making an “extruded” shape using another attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer. This was the biggest disappointment of the day. The picture is of the bucatini that we made and those two little bundles took about a half hour to come out of the machine. Either the attachment was defective, or this is just a bad idea, at any rate we decided not to try to make any other shapes this way!

Last up was using the “00” flour, which I’ve tried before with little success. L. used this flour and made it by hand (rather than in the processor) and at first it seemed like it was going to be tough to work with, but eventually the dough was smooth and we used it for fettucine.

We had the spinach-veal filled ravioli tonight with a light tomato sauce that brought back sweet memories of summer- I found some sauce in the freezer that I had made in early fall with some of the last cherry tomatoes from our garden that I had roasted and this was the perfect topping for our pasta. The ravioli were light and the veal filling was delicate, with a hint of ground nutmeg. Thanks L. & V. for a perfect day off. I’m already looking forward to our next adventure in the kitchen!

9 thoughts on “The Great Pasta Experiment

  1. Pasta looks great, especially the ravioli. Did you dry them or cook them straight away? I wish I had been there, I’ve got so many questions about pasta making I would have driven you all mad!! Bx

  2. What a great way to spend your day off…I guess the old fashioned way beats the kitchen aid mixer attachments!

  3. That sounds like SO much fun – I am jealous (and hungry!)

  4. You did a great job on your pasta making. I am getting hungry for some ravioli – hand made of course – right now.

  5. I just received some of the Italian “00” flour and haven’t used it yet. Your ravioli are inspiring. I have that same ravioli tool and like using it, also.

  6. It all looks wonderful. I always use my Kitchen Aid for pasta dough, but cut and fill ravioli by hand. I need to try the attachment! Sounds like a great way to play with friends. Work sure gets in the way of cooking!

  7. My K.A. has an extruder, too, and I’ve always hesitated to use it. I want one of those roller attachments instead.

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