Monday, December 28, 2009

Ravioli made by hand

Our Christmas Eve dinner tradition is homemade ravioli filled with ricotta cheese.  This recipe was passed down to me by my father, whose mother made homemade pasta just like they do in the old country.  While Grandma made her dough on her macaroni board by mixing all the ingredients by hand, I will show you how you can easily mix the dough in your Cuisinart.  Either way is delicious!

Pasta dough in the Cuisinart:
Insert the dough blade (small plastic blade)
Add 4 eggs
1 tsp salt
Mix the eggs and salt for a minute
Add 3 cups of flour
Turn on to high speed and mix until dough starts to thicken
Add small amount of water through the feed tube while the machine is running until the dough forms into a ball.  Once it is a solid ball moving around the blade let it knead on high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Dust dough ball with flour and place it on a plate covered with a clean dish cloth.  Repeat to make a second batch.

Ricotta filling:
One large (2lb) container ricotta cheese
(Good Italian markets often carry a fresh imported ricotta from Italy that is delicious)
2 eggs
2 tbls fresh chopped parsley
Handful of pecorino romano cheese
salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Take 1/3 of a dough ball and dust with flour and begin rolling it out on a floured surface.  A wooden surface works best.  I use a chopping block.  Roll the dough out to form a rectangular shape.
Rub the dough with a little flour to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin or surface.  Roll until it's almost paper thin (more like the thickness of construction paper)

Then trim the edges so you have a even rectangular shape.  I take these trimmed edges and cut them into small pieces and flash freeze them.  They are delicious in a homemade soup.

Place a generous tablespoon of the ricotta filling about 2 inches from the edge and 2 inches apart:

Now take a glass of water, and dipping your fingers in the water, draw an outline across the top and sides of what will be each ravioli:

Carefully fold the dough over the cheese making sure to align the top over the bottom to form the ravioli.  It's a little tricky lining it up, but with practice it gets easier.  Run your fingers around the edges and between the ravioli to seal.  Then cut evenly between each ravioli:

Take a fork and dip it into the flour then gently fork the cut edges. Making sure that you don't push the tines of the fork into the dough and puncture the ravioli.

Place the ravioli on a sheet with parchment paper allowing a little space between them.  You can flash freeze them on the sheets and then place them in freezer bags.  If I am cooking them the same day, I just store them in the refrigerator until I'm ready to use them.

Place the ravioli into boiling salted water, and bring them back up to a boil then cook them for about 8-10 minutes depending on thickness.  Remove from the boiling water with a small strainer or large slotted spoon.  If you dump them into a colander they will break.

Place them in a pasta dish and add a little sauce as you layer the ravioli into the serving dish. This recipe makes about 2 -3 dozen ravioli depending on the size you make. I tend to make them on the larger side as they measure about 3"x 4" once cooked. I love the texture of the dough, which is slightly uneven from hand rolling the pasta.

Buon appetito!

If you have any questions about this or any of our recipes, please submit your question using the comment box.


  1. Hi Laurie,

    Put my portion in a pesto sauce and I'll be right over.


  2. As a consumer I can attest to the fact that they were, "DELICIOUS!!!" mum

  3. .
    I rember them well hanging all over the kitchen on Shell La. B.

  4. HI Laurie..
    Great blog, and I told a bunch of my foodie friends about it!
    They think the recipes are wonderful and got compliments on the photos! Apparently not enough of the good food blogs bother with the photos! The whole thing looks great!

  5. Laurie! One of my earliest memories is sitting at the kitchen table while my grandmother (Nonni) made these. She'd cut them with a pastry roller- so the edges of the leftover strips were ruffled. We would carry them to the bedroom where she had laid a sheet on the bed to let them dry a bit before cooking. My mom was one of 10 kids, brought up on the first floor of a 3-decker on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. This was my Culinary Institute! Every holiday we had these ravioli, along with soup, antipasto and THEN the turkey/roast dinner! And did someone say dessert? Cookies? We ate in shifts, there were so many of us!
    We are still carrying on the traditions. This past Christmas Eve we had our fish dinner- 35 of us! My usual contributions are the Pulpa and shrimp salads. (I was able to get 8 pound octopi at Joe's this year!) The food and family at Christmas is the best!

  6. Heidi,
    Thanks for the kind words and for passing it on. I really appreciate it.

  7. Cindy,
    What a wonderful family story and I love your traditions. It is what makes the holidays so enjoyable. Thanks for visiting.

  8. I've never had better food experiences, along with life experiences, than with you!! Thanks for making this beautiful blog available to all of us! Will send you my Nantucket recipes soon!! xoxo Maryanne

  9. Great family history!! I cannot wait to try these