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