Hand-made pasta at home seems like a luxury, but it only costs $2 in ingredients. It does make a mess in your kitchen, but with the right tools, it only takes a 15 minutes to make the pasta itself and another 45 minutes to make the ravioli.
The right tools include a fork and a KitchenAid with pasta attachment. Sometimes I use the food processor to start the dough (instead of just the fork), but its more of a hassle to clean the darn appliance than anything. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nicked myself with that massively sharp blade. I’d much rather use the fork – at least I can’t poke myself to death.
Some people think hand-made pasta sounds so difficult, but it actually is fairly straightforward and simple. Last night, I taught a class how to make fettucine and two different kinds of ravioli. Not one of them had ever made pasta before, and the results were delicious. Here is the recipe for one of them.
Roasted Vegetable Ravioli with Crispy Pancetta showcases the freshness of the vegetables in season with a light, brothy, lemony sauce. The pancetta adds texture and smokiness. Use whatever vegetables are in season.
The key to making pasta is not to use too much flour at first. You can always add more flour if the dough is sticky, but once the dough is dry, its difficult to add more moisture. The basic pasta recipe below makes about 2 dozen ravioli, enough to feed 4.
4 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Start with the flour – measure and just place all of it in a nice mound on your clean countertop. Using your fingers, make a hole in the middle of the mound, and form a well large enough to hold 4 eggs. Crack eggs, one by one into the well.
2. Now its time to use your fork. Start in the middle of the egg mixture and gently beat the eggs. Be careful – don’t let the walls break down! Keep beating the eggs, incorporating the flour a little at a time. Keep going until it becomes thick. Now with your fork, start stirring in the flour. Great – you’re almost there. When it gets to the point where you can’t use the fork anymore, use your palms and knead, adding more flour if it gets too sticky. You might not use all your flour, thats ok. Knead for 8-10 minutes more, until the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest while you prepare the roasted vegetables.
1. Roast the Veggies: Preheat oven to 375. Cut each vegetable into smaller pieces. The more tender veggies (zucchini) can be cut into larger chunks. Hard vegetables (carrots) into smaller chunks. Basically, you want all the vegetables to roast evenly. Roast 10-15 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven, place in food processor. In food processor (or you could just chop with your knife like I do) - pulse 4-5 times until the vegetables are 1/4" small dice (still a little chunky but not a puree). You want the vegetables to still have some texture. Add parmigiano reggiano, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse one more time to incorporate rest of ingredients. Set aside.
2. Roll the Pasta: Divide the pasta dough into 4 equal parts. Cover whatever dough you are not using with damp towel or plastic wrap. You are going to use 1 portion of the dough at a time and keep the rest covered. Using your KitchenAid with pasta attachment OR the pasta hand-crank, roll pasta dough to about 1 mm thick - usually to the second to last setting on pasta machine. Sheets should be about 6" wide x 30" long. Dust sheets with extra flour if it feels a little sticky. Set sheets aside, cover.
3. Make the Ravioli: Using a 1T sized measuring spoon, scoop scant tablespoon of vegetable mixture onto the pasta sheet - leaving about 1 1/2 inch between each spoonful. Brush egg wash on edges and in between the spoonfuls. Place another pasta sheet on top, pressing lightly on the edges in between -try to get as much air out as possible. Use a small knife, pizza cutter or pleated ravioli cutter to cut the ravioli into nice, even squares, about 2-1/2" square. Make sure each has a tight seal - if the ravioli is not sealed, the filling will leak out and your ravioli will be ruined. Place each ravioli onto a baking sheet, dusting with flour to avoid them sticking to each other. Repeat until you use all the pasta sheets. Take a 8qt stockpot filled with 6qts of water and 1 T salt; boil. While water is boiling, make the sauce.
4. Make the Sauce: Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the slices of pancetta. Cook pancetta until crisp. Remove pancetta with tongs to plate and crumble. (leave the pan drippings in the pan!) Keep the heat on the pan and add the garlic. Fry 15 seconds. Add the chicken stock and wine, scraping up the bits in the pan. Add corn kernals. Simmer on low until sauce is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice into the sauce. Turn off heat and set aside.
5. Boil the Ravioli: Slip ravioli into the boiling water. Return to boil, immediately turn heat to medium low. Cook ravioli in gently boiling water for another 3-4 minutes, until pasta is tender (fish a ravioli out and test to see if corner is done). Drain. Serve with the sauce, top with crumbled pancetta and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.