In an ideal world, I would like to eat fresh home made pasta instead of the generic shop bought ones all the time but this really isn’t going to happen now is it? But for the short term future, it’s going to be an ideal world and we are going to eat pasta!
It has been a very long time since I made fresh pasta. My mother gave me a pasta maker (roller) quite a few years ago for Christmas. It has moved house twice without being removed from its box even once. So when I saw it sitting in the back of my cupboard looking all lonely and sad, I thought that it would be nice to whip it out master the art of fresh pasta again.
I remember the very first time I made pasta was around the time Patti (my Italian au pair) was around. I was about eleven years old and was determined to make spaghetti and ravioli. I took charge of the kitchen just after school (about 5pm) and promised everyone dinner. Well back then I didn’t have a pasta maker so had to roll it out by hand and of course I hadn’t read the recipe all the way through, so once it was rolled, the recipe I had then said that it had to air dry for a few hours. With the pasta hanging all over the kitchen (on the back of chairs and all over the counters) I had a number of family members hanging around starving, waiting for food. It was about eleven pm by the time they got fed. No one can remember what the filling or sauce was, and if I remember correctly, it was a little on the thick and stodgy side but it was a triumph and for a first attempt, pretty damn good.
There is a rather nice (and expensive) shop down the road from us. I like to go in after work some days and think of what I’d like to buy. With a bit of extra cash in my pocket I decided to actually buy some nice new plates and bits and bobs. I always feel like I shouldn’t buy things, as I have everything that I actually need and worry that D will get upset that I bought yet more useless things. But hey… I just wanted some new plates. So on Saturday I was super excited to finish work and go shopping. I love buying new things for the kitchen. So to use my new plates, I needed a new recipe. I wanted to make a fresh and vibrant summer ravioli. We have been so fortunate to have good weather last through the entire summer and even in September, the days are sunny and warm. So yesterday my mother came around for a late lunch and coffee. I’m glad it was a late lunch as I forgot just how time consuming it is to make pasta. How people do it in an hour on Masterchef or any cookery program is a mystery! Maybe it’s just me and with practice I’ll get quicker. I’d have to get a lot quicker actually as it took about 3 hours altogether.
We had Courgette and Ricotta ravioli with a Thyme butter sauce followed by coffee with wholemeal 3 chocolate and nut cookies. It was a lovely afternoon. I will be posting more recipes for pasta over the next while but this one was pretty nice and I am quite proud of it.
COURGETTE AND RICOTTA RAVIOLI
For the dough:
- 2 eggs
- 185 g strong white flour or ’00’ Italian pasta flour
- pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 1 large courgette, grated
- 1 tub (250 g ) ricotta,
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- handful of basil, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 /2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 knobs of butter
- fresh or dried thyme
To make the dough, break the eggs into a large bowl and beat. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl. Mix with a fork to meld together.
With your hand, mix further until it forms a rough dough and turn out onto a floured work surface.
Kneed firmly for about 10-15 minutes until it is smooth. There is no technique that I can offer here, I just push it, tear it, bang it and with the palm of my hand shove and roll it. Then wrap with a damp tea towel and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
To roll it, run it through a pasta roller, with the widest setting and working your way up to the thinest. I run it through each setting twice to make it smooth and thin.
To make the filling, mix the courgette, ricotta, lemon juice, zest, basil and salt and pepper in a bowl. I do this usually while the dough is resting.
To form the pasta, cut the sheets of pasta into whatever shapes you want. I experimented but chose to do circles, not too big, and then filled them with a small dollop (about 1 tsp) of mixture. Press the top layer down on the edges to seal, be careful not to squish the mixture out otherwise it will not seal properly. Lay them on a towel, dusted with polenta or a fine layer of flour so not to stick to the towel.
Once finished, pop into boiling water for about 2-3 minutes (until floating on the top). Ladle out and drip dry.
Meanwhile, In a pan, heat the butter and add the thyme. Add the pasta to the pan to coat in the butter. This is where one should add a grind of salt and pepper to bring it to life.
Then serve on heated plates, and munch away.