December 28, 2008

Homemade Ravioli & Meat Sauce

After reading Laura Schenone's The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, Jerad's mom decided she wanted to make ravioli on Christmas Eve, like the Italian families do in the book.


Schenone's story revolves around her search for the origins of her family ravioli recipe. After learning that the recipe calls for cream cheese in the filling, she take off to Italy to find out what original ingredients her ancestors would have used. Certainly, she assumes, it wasn't originally made with cream cheese. However, finding no real alternative to the famous Philadelphia spread, she accepts the ingredients as written.

It was very fun--and satisfying--to make homemade ravioli and meat sauce with Jerad & his mom. And, I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers I have in the freezer.

A few notes...

1. The filling recipe made way more filling than we needed, but we froze it for next time.

2. The meat sauce is REALLY good. It will be my "go to" recipe for pasta sauce from now on.

3. The pork & veal in the filling should be ground twice so that the meat is a finer ground. Ask your butcher to do that if you don't have a grinder at home.

4. If you don't have a pasta roller or ravioli pin, you can still make this recipe. Simply roll the pasta out with a regular rolling pin. You can then dollop the filling on and cut out with a pasta roller to make the ravioli shapes OR cut the pasta into squares with a pizza cutter, add a small spoonful of filling, then fold over into a triangle & seal the edges with the tines of a fork.

Ravioli Pin

Pasta Cutter

5. Likewise, you can make the pasta dough without a stand mixer. Mound the flour and add the add into the center. Slowly mix the flour into the center with a fork, adding water when needed to form a smooth & elastic dough.

No matter how you do it, you really should try this recipe sometime. It's a fun thing to do with family or friends.

Christmas Eve Ravioli

adapted from "Adalgiza and Tessie's Ravioli" recipe
in Laura Schenone's The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

For the pasta:
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups water
  • Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  • Turn on the motor, using a low speed. Add the eggs and a little bit of the water to create a ball.
  • Gradually increase the speed and work the dough. Sprinkle in water to add the amount necessary. (I ended up using almost 2 cups.)
  • When the dough becomes soft & elastic, take it out of the mixer and knead it for a few more minutes until it is satiny. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for a least half an hour before you roll it out.

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed of excess water
1 pound veal, ground twice
1 pound pork, ground twice
salt & pepper
dash nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 cup parmesan cheese
3 eggs
  • In a large bowl, cream the cheese until it is soft.
  • Add the spinach, then the raw meats & seasonings. Mix well with a wooded spoon to combine.
  • Add the parmesan & eggs.
  • Cut the pasta dough into quarters. & roll out very thin. I used the pasta machine attachment of a KitchenAide mixer. Roll it through on the first setting, fold it in half & roll again, then fold in half & roll again. Now, roll once through settings 2, 3, & 4.
  • Spread half the dough with the filling, but not too thick. Fold the other half of the dough over the top.
  • Press with a ravioli pin & cut out with a pasta wheel.
  • Dry at least a half hour on a tablecloth or sheet (or freeze the ravioli on cookie sheets, then transfer them to a plastic bag for later use).
We made A LOT of ravioli!
  • Cook in slightly boiling, salted water for about 7 minutes (1o minutes if they're frozen).
  • Serve with meat sauce (recipe below).

For the meat sauce:

3 pounds beef pot roast (boneless chuck shoulder, top round, or bottom round)
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, minced small
1 stalk celery, minced small
1 small handful dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water (strained)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes
  • Salt & pepper the meat, then brown it in the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Remove to a plate.
  • Add the onion, garlic, carrot & celery to the pan. Cook over medium heat until soft, being careful not the brown the garlic.
  • Return the meat to the pot. Add the mushrooms (roughly chopped), wine, & tomatoes (squish them in your hands as you add them to the pot).
  • Cover the pit and cook it in a 300 degree oven for at least 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender.
  • Remove the meat from the pot, then puree the sauce with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender).
  • You can serve the ravioli with the pot roast, use the meat in the filling instead of pork & veal, or eat the next day.


ironstef said...

Yum! I love homemade ravioli. I'll have to check out that book, too.

Rachel J said...

I recently made a ricotta, spinach, crab ravioli, breaded them and fried but I did not make as many as you did-holy cannolli!!! Super well done! :)

Louis said...

I think it's a bit hard to make homemade ravioli. With your help, I now know what to do and I won't have a hard time making it.

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