Little Pillows of Goodness OR Homemade Ravioli

I love it when a last minute meal turns out to be so tasty. Last night I was rooting for take-out. Jeff, however wanted to try out our new toy.

New toy

Last Christmas, Santa brought me this, a pasta machine. Homemade pasta is so much better than boxed pasta and it really isn't all that time consuming to make. I try to make a double or triple batch and freeze some, cutting down even more on prep time.

We started with a basic pasta recipe and added some dried basil from our herb garden to the dough. Unfortunately, I do not have photos of each step. Jeff has a low tolerance for my incessant need to take photos every two minutes. Combined with the fact that I have become a bit anal about my food photos and the lighting just wasn't right. I told him I have a certain level of quality here at Vanilla Bean and I didn't think a picture of him holding a sheet of pasta in the bathroom would cut it. (Evidently the light was better in there, he said).

Homemade Pasta
from The Little Guides: Pasta

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour for sprinkling
1/3 cup finely chopped dried basil (optional)

1) Place flour, salt, basil and beaten eggs into a food processor. Cover and process with a pulsing action until the mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. This happens very quickly, so be careful not to over process.

2) Put water and oil in a measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour in the liquid in. The flour mixture will begin to form a cohesive mass.

3) Continue processing the mixture until the dough forms a ball. Stop once or twice to scrape down the sides of the work bowl so all ingredients are incorporated. Remove from the work bowl, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

4) Have a glass of wine while the dough rests.

5) Sprinkle kneading surface with the 1/3 cup flour. Turn dough out onto the surface and knead dough until soft and elastic (8-10 minutes).

6) Divide dough into quarters. Press each piece flat and slowly feed each one through the pasta rollers. Pass the dough through the machine several times, each time on a narrower setting. With each pass, fold and give the dough a quarter turn. Or, just roll it out onto a floured surface into a 12 inch square about 1/16 inch thick. In either case, let the sheets rest for 20 minutes.

The filling is just something we threw together and didn't follow an exact recipe. Make it according to taste and omit the herbs if you like.

Ricotta Filling
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
salt and pepper
2 tsps of dried oregano
2 tsps of dried basil

Making the Little Pillows of Goodness

Little Pillows of Goodness

Place one sheet on top of the metal ravioli rack. Press the tray on top of the dough to form the wells for the filling. Put about 1 tsp. of the ricotta mixture in each well. Brush another sheet of dough with water and lay on top of the filled wells. With a rolling pin, firmly roll the top of the ravioli rack. The zigzags on the rack will help seal and cut the ravioli. Tap out the ravioli on the counter. You should have the Little Pillows of Goodness you see above.

The sauce is from my freezer. You might not have any in yours. Go check. If not, here is how I made it:

Classic Tomato Sauce

45 oz. canned whole Italian-style tomatoes, with juice
2 tbls. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (or more if you like it. we added even more when we reheated this)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or to desired consistency. If you want a smooth sauce, transfer it to a blender or food processor and blend. Return to Dutch oven and stir in the basil. Heck, go crazy and toss in some dried oregano and parsley while you're at it.

Now, after all of this you are finally ready for the finished product. You might need your sunglasses for this photo...it's pretty bright. No, it was not taken in the bathroom. I went a little overboard in post-production.



  1. I'm thinking I need to ask Santa for a pasta maker this year - these ravioli look soooo good!!

  2. I've been asking Santa for a pasta maker for years - to which he generally responds that my cupboards are already full to overflowing with accessories. I might have to show him this lovely picture! :)

    Boy these look delicious - great post and recipe. Thanks!

  3. I love my pasta maker. Its about time I used it again, and these look divine.

    Here's my lasagne using the pasta maker:

  4. Like your blog! My friend gave me a ravioli cutter a year ago and I've never used it. This post has inspired me!