Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicken Ravioli

Ravioli is one of my favorites. Tonight's dinner was a chicken ranch ravioli with a white Parmesan sauce. Delish! It was a hard call because I was also hungry for some cheese ravioli. Those will be next for sure. I don't really use a recipe when I make the filling, it's just whatever I am in the mood for. I usually use a red sauce for cheese or beef ravioli and a white sauce for chicken or veggie.
One Pound of Fresh Pasta
2 cups of unbleached flour
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp of salt
Place the flour on a table in a mound and make a well in the center. Put the eggs and salt into the well. Mix the eggs together with a fork without disturbing the flour. Using a fork, gently incorporate the flour into the egg mixture a little at a time. Once you have incorporated all of the flour together with the egg using a fork, use your fingertips to blend the mixture together well. After the wet and dry ingredients have been combined, bring the mixture together with your hands to form a ball. If the dough seems to dry, add a little water. If the mixture is too wet and sticks to your fingers, rub your hands with flour and form the dough into a ball. Knead the pasta dough as you would bread dough. Pushing down and away from you with the palm of your hand. Turn the dough ninety degrees, fold the dough over on itself and push down and away again. Continue this until the dough is smooth, about 7 minutes. Form the dough into a disk. Cover the dough with a towel or bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.
I love my pasta machine! They are inexpensive and well worth the purchase. Mine is an Imperia and cost about $50 but you can find other brands as low as $30. If you don't have a machine you can roll out the dough by hand. That's how my Nana did it and her raviolis were amazing. I have never done that and I'm sure it will take time and patience. You would also want to use a heavier rolling pin. I'm sure my light silicone rolling pin would make rolling out pasta dough torturous.
Now everyone does this part different. My dad does more passes through and uses setting 4 for his ravioli were I prefer a thinner dough and use setting 5. First when my dough is done resting I cut it into four quarters. While I work with one piece I keep the other pieces covered to prevent them from drying out. Then i press the dough flatter with the heal of my hand, sprinkle it with some flour and pass it through the machine. Between each pass your will fold the dough onto it's self and sprinkle with more flour if needed. I usually do three passes on level 1, three passes on level 2 and then if the dough's color and texture are to my liking I do one pass on level 3, one pass on level four, slice the dough in half and then the finally pass on level 5. This will give you a set of top and bottom for your ravioli.
I use a ravioli form, these too are inexpensive and run about $10. My OCD loves uniformity. You simply lay your dough across. Press down the white insert to make the pockets (see first photo).
 Fill pockets with your filling. Here I cooked ground chicken, added a packet of Ranch dressing mix and about 1/4 cup Parmesan and about 1/4 cup of mozzarella. There are so many filling and sauce combinations that you will never get tired of ravioli.
Aren't they beautiful? To cook bring a large pot of salt water to a boil. Carefully drop ravioli into the water and cook for about 6 minutes or until the ravioli float to the top.

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