Do you remember the first time you had ravioli? If you are like me and, I suspect, most other Americans born in the later half of the 20th century, your first taste of the stuff pasta was from a can of Chef Boyardi. I liked the beef ravioli because I didn’t like the ricotta used in cheese ravioli.
Yes, I said it. My deep dark secret is that, despite being a fan of Italian cuisine, I didn’t develop a taste for ricotta until I was 30. I remember admitting that to an Italian-American housemate in college and she responded as if I had personally offended her! But my wife and her love of NJ-style white pizza has set me straight. It’s still not my favorite of cheeses; I’m really a hard cheese guy. But I have come to enjoy the salty, creamy flavor it imparts to dishes lasagna and cheese ravioli.
- 1.5 c. flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ⅓ c. warm water
- 1 c. part-skim ricotta
- ½ c. Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- In a small bowl, mix together ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Set aside.
- In large bowl, combine flour, salt, egg, and water. Mix together with hands until a stiff dough is formed.
- Let sit 30 minutes to rest.
- On a floured board, roll out dough until it forms a rectangle roughly ⅛” thick. Cut in half and set 2nd half aside.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture every 2 inches. Cover with other half.
- Using a ravioli stamp or pizza cutter, cut into individual raviolis. Pinch edges together.
- Let sit for 1 hour to dry.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add raviolis to water.
- Return to boil and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and dress with desired sauce.
And canned pasta? I haven’t had it in a while. A lot of people complain about the flavor of the sauce. To me, the sauce is okay. It’s the pasta itself that tends to taste off. I’ll eat it, but it is so much more expensive than simply making it yourself.
Of course, making it yourself is a loaded term. Generally, I’ll buy a box of noodles and a can of store-brand pasta sauce to make my semi-homemade spaghetti sauce. That’s a quick and easy dinner ready in 15 minutes but still prepared at home with more work than opening a can. But others would consider that simply heating up processed foods instead of “cooking a real meal.” In response, I would ask, where does it stop? If you make your own marinara sauce, did you buy canned tomatoes or whole? Did you grow those tomatoes? Did you plant the tomato plant from a seed? Did you harvest that seed yourself? For the pasta, you probably bought a bag of flour instead of grinding, not to mention growing, the wheat yourself.
But enough of my rant. This is supposed to be about making your own ravioli. I buy store-bought dried pasta because it’s a lot easier and not much more expensive than making your own pasta. Especially since it generally requires buying a pasta machine. But ravioli is different. Because they are stuffed, they are the one of the few pastas on the planet that you can’t buy as a shelf-stable product outside of a can. Tortellini are the only other that I can think of, and they are also stuffed.
Generally, you buy cheese ravioli in the refrigerator or freezer section. But refrigeration costs money, and that price is reflected in the price. A 20 ounce bag of Buitoni Cheese Ravioli at my local supermarket costs $7.39. That works out to almost $1.50 per serving. And that doesn’t even come with the sauce! But this cheese ravioli recipe costs about $4 for 4 servings.
What is your favorite flavor of ravioli?