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Behind the Recipes

Hand-Rolled Ravioli

With our supermalleable dough, you don’t need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli.
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Published Apr. 3, 2019.

My Goals and Discoveries

Foolproof pasta dough

Made by mixing three ingredients in the food processor, this is simple pasta dough that even a novice can master.

No machine required

We formulated our pasta dough to be rich with egg yolks—plus a touch of oil to inhibit gluten formation—and to allow for easy hand-rolling with just a rolling pin.

Flavorful no-cook fillings

Fillings that don’t require precooking keep the recipe simple. Three-cheese, artichoke-lemon, and meat fillings deliver big flavor with little work.

Make-ahead option

Freezing the ravioli on a baking sheet until solid and then transferring them to a zipper-lock bag for long‑term storage means you can have homemade ravioli at the ready any time.

Recipe

Three-Cheese Ravioli with Browned Butter-Pine Nut Sauce

With our supermalleable dough, you don't need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli.
Get the Recipe

When I have the time, I relish the opportunity to slow down, roll up my sleeves, and turn to projects such as making ravioli the traditional way, without a pasta machine. There is something magical about mixing up a supple dough and then using only a rolling pin and a knife to create a stuffed pasta.

A few years ago, we designed a pasta recipe to be rolled without a machine. It relies heavily on egg yolks and oil to provide enough fat to limit gluten development so the dough can be rolled without springing back. Cut into strands, boiled, and tossed with a creamy tomato sauce, the pasta is a real winner.

To see how the dough would work as the wrapper for ravioli, I whipped up a batch in the food processor. After a resting period to allow the flour to hydrate and the gluten to relax, it was easy to roll into long sheets. Working with one sheet at a time, I brushed the lower half of the long side with egg white (this would help seal the ravioli) and then deposited six mounds of a simple ricotta filling on top of the egg wash.

Folding the top half of the sheet toward me to cover the filling was tricky: I suspended the dough with one hand and used my other hand to enclose each mound in dough while pressing out air. (Trapped air would create pockets of steam during cooking that could cause the wrapper to burst.) Once the perimeter of each mound was sealed, I cut the sheet into individual ravioli and boiled them for 6 minutes.

Roll out the dough until it measures roughly 20 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Deposit six 1-tablespoon mounds of filling on the dough.
Cut the dough sheet at the center points between the mounds of filling, separating it into six equal pieces.
Keeping the top edge of the dough suspended over the filling with your thumbs, use your fingers to press the layers together.

The filling was lackluster, but I could easily fix that. I was more concerned that the pasta seemed underdone, especially at the edges where it was doubled.

To jazz up the ricotta, I folded in bits of creamy fontina and shreds of nutty Parmesan along with a pinch of heady nutmeg. I also fine-tuned my shaping method: Instead of folding the entire 18-inch length of dough over the mounds of cheese, I cut the sheet into six rectangles and folded them individually.

Our hand-rolled dough is thicker than machine-rolled dough. Associate Editor Steve Dunn found that the ravioli required a full 13 minutes of boiling to produce a supple-yet-resilient texture.

To address the underdone doubled edges, I could have followed the lead of most ravioli recipes and rolled the dough superthin. But that is incredibly difficult to do by hand. Instead, I just let the boiling water do the work for me: I cooked another batch and sampled the ravioli at the 7-minute mark and every minute thereafter until they achieved a supple‑yet‑resilient texture, which took a full 13 minutes.

Topped with an elegant sauce of browned butter studded with toasted pine nuts, these pillowy three‑cheese ravioli were something to be savored.

Three-Cheese Ravioli with Browned Butter-Pine Nut Sauce

With our supermalleable dough, you don't need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli.
Get the Recipe

Meat Ravioli with Quick Tomato Sauce

With our supermalleable dough, you don't need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli. 
Get the Recipe

Artichoke-Lemon Ravioli with Browned Butter-Pine Nut Sauce

With our supermalleable dough, you don't need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli. 
Get the Recipe

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