Homemade Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Sauce

I had a birthday recently (hooray for cake!) and in true Gourmess style, Chris and I lived it up for an entire week -- eating dinner at beautiful restaurants on the lake, day drinking, and so on. So, when it came to my actual birthday day, I decided that I wanted to take a break from vacation, and make something at home.

I'm a red sauce girl, and if I could eat pasta or pizza every day, I would. Chris, on the other hand has an aversion to eating carbs for dinner, so we rarely have a big, steamy bowl of pasta during the week. I of course took advantage of my birthday falling on a Saturday and put in my request: I wanted to make ravioli from scratch. Chris agreed and off to the market we went in search of tomatoes, fresh ricotta, semolina pasta flour, and a good bottle of red wine. We returned home with everything on our list and got to work.

Wowza did we make some good ravioli!
But, before you can make pasta, you must make the sauce. I wanted to simmer my sauce long and slow, so I roasted a few batches of grape tomatoes (tossed with olive oil, smoked sea salt, herbs and garlic) until the skins burst. Then, I put them through my food mill to get all the tasty bits, and pulverized the leftover skins/garlic in my food processor. Into a large pot went some olive oil, minced garlic, anchovy paste, a pinch each of paprika and cinnamon, some tomato paste, and a spoonful of butter. When the mixture had browned a bit, I added in the roasted tomato purée, some plain strained tomatoes, salt and pepper, and a pinch of superfine sugar, then simmered the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally until we were ready to eat.

It was delightful! Rich and smoky, yet bright and fresh tasting. So good!

As the sauce cooked, we made the pasta dough, using a recipe I pulled from the back of the Bob's Red Mill flour package:

Basic Pasta Dough
1 1/2 cups semolina pasta flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 TBS room temperature water
2 TBS olive oil
All purpose flour for rolling as needed

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 1

To Do:
  • In a large bowl, mix together the semolina flour and the salt.
  • Add the beaten eggs, water and oil. 
  • Mix to make a stiff dough, then knead by hand about 10 minutes or until dough is elastic. 
  • Wrap dough in towel or place in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes. 
  • On a lightly floured surface roll out to desired thickness and cut as desired.
While the pasta dough was resting, I mixed together some beautiful fresh ricotta and finely shredded mozzarella with some kale, spinach, garlic, and smoked sea salt that I had run through the food processor.
When it was time to roll out the pasta, I put a large pot of water on the stove to boil, adding a bit of olive oil and a lot of salt to the water. Then, I cut the dough in half, wrapping one half back up in the plastic wrap, and placing the other half onto my floured surface. Chris helped roll the dough out into two long rectangle-ish shaped pieces. Note: It's probably best to not go any thicker than 1/8" for the dough. That's easily done if you use your mixer, but I had a ravioli press/mold so we didn't use the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid. (We just made sure the dough was longer and wider than the press.) I placed one sheet of the dough over the bottom metal piece of the press then used the plastic mold to make the wells. Then, we filled each well with a little scoop of the ricotta mixture, and then covered the mold with the other sheet of pasta.
I patted/pinched the dough together, then turned the mold over and pressed down gently but firmly.
When I removed the mold, I had one long sheet of lightly-stamped raviolis, so I used my ravioli crimper to cut out individual pieces. Then we repeated the process for the remaining dough. (We had enough dough for about two rounds of the mold, or two dozen raviolis.)

By the time we were done with the pasta, the water was boiling, so we gently placed the raviolis into the pot and let them boil for about 10-15 minutes. I pulled one out at the 10 minute mark and it was slightly chewy, so we gave it a about two more minutes = perfection!
While the pasta drained, I checked on the sauce and took it off the heat, then went out to our patio to pinch off a few leaves of basil for the garnish. Into our bowls went a hefty portion of ravioli,  a couple scoops of the sauce, and a sprinkle of basil.

The raviolis were light yet dense, and the filling was absolutely fluffy. The flavorful tomato sauce was the perfect accompaniment to them. Delicious!!

Happy Birthday Ravioli to me!