Monday, December 13, 2010


Homemade pasta is an art form. Carefully kneading the dough until it’s velvety smooth. Manually guiding each piece through the pasta machine, as you slowly adjust the thickness, one notch at a time. Whether you cut the sheets into free-falling linguine, layer them in a lasagna pan, or stuff them with soft cheeses, it’s an intimate process that barely changed in over 300 years.
Ravioli are especially artistic because there is no limit to what can be stuffed inside. I vary the ingredients according to what’s in season and available locally. Because of this, although ravioli are traditionally Italian, mine have an undeniable California slant – as yours should reflect the corner of the world you call home. Inside each pocket of fresh dough lies corn, broccoli, summer squash, carrots, spring onions and soft local goat cheese. For the broth, I bought the ripest tomatoes I could find, blanched them to remove the skins, and set them on a slow simmer with a few cloves of garlic. Straining the broth left behind the sweet, tangy goodness that only comes from just-picked, organic tomatoes.
Pasta Dough:
1 1/2 cups of flour
3 fresh organic eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Ravioli Stuffing:
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cobs
4 baby summer squash, chopped
1 spring onion, dark green parts removed, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped
Small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 package of goat cheese
Sea salt, fresh ground black pepper
Ravioli Stuffing:
Chop each ingredient relatively small. If the pieces are too big they will poke a hole through the dough. Heat up a large saute pan and add two swirls of olive oil. Add the spring onion and cook for two minutes. Add the corn, carrots, squash, broccoli, sea salt and black pepper. Cook on medium-low for about 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Stir every few minutes so they don’t brown. Add chopped parsley, stir and turn off heat. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Empty veggies into a large glass bowl and gently mix in goat cheese until combined. Taste for
Making the ravioli:
Add the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of flour. Crack the eggs into the well. Using your fingers, gently break up the egg yolks as you incorporate the flour, little by little, into the egg mixture. When the dough has not yet come together, add the olive oil. Continue mixing until the dough forms a mass. At this point, test the consistency of the dough. Wash and dry your hands, and stick your finger into the dough. If your finger emerges doughy, you need to add a little more flour.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. A full eight minutes. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand, and turn the dough in the same direction after each “knead.” It should feel super smooth when it’s ready.
Divide the dough into four equal parts. One by one, guide the dough through the pasta machine, starting at the widest setting, going down to the second-to-last notch.
You should now have four long sheets of past dough. Take about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling, and place it 2 inches from the edge of the dough. Repeat this all along the edge of the sheet, keeping the filling mounds about 2 inches away from each other. Fold the sheet on top of itself, so the filling is now covered. Using a pizza-cutter (or ravioli-cutter if you have one), cut between the filling, creating individual ravioli. If you need to, you can also trim the edges a bit as well. Repeat with the remaining three sheets of dough.
Cook the ravioli in boiling water for about three minutes. Strain the tomato broth and ladle into a bowl with a few of the ravioli. Garnish with fresh basil.

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