Monday, March 19, 2012

Homemade ravioli with pesto alfredo cream sauce

Every other month or so, the ladies and I get together to have a Saturday cooking afternoon....we spend the day chatting and catching up, drinking wine (for the non-pregos), and preparing an all day feast to dine on for dinner that night. The first couple of times we used my grandmother's pasta machine, and both meals have turned out fantastic! I don't know why I never tried fresh pasta before...but you can bet it's now one of my faves if I have the time to throw it together. We've discussed Mexican next time and making our own shells, etc...I love that I have such fun girlfriends :)

Ravioli dough:
2 cups flour
1 pinch salt
1 t olive oil
2 eggs
1.5 T water

Pesto Alfredo cream sauce:
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 T prepared basil pesto sauce
2 cups heavy cream (we used milk)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Have a jar of marinara sauce for this as well, but keep it separate.

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 T water

Cheese ravioli filling:
1 (8 oz) container ricotta cheese
1 (4 oz) container cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 egg
2 t dried parsley

Spinach ricotta ravioli filling:
1 lb fresh spinach
1 T salt
1 lb ricotta
1 egg
2 T heavy cream
4 T grated parmigiano reggiano
1/4 t nutmeg
pinch black pepper

Italian sausage ravioli filling:
1 lb Italian sausage, browned
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Mound the flour and salt together on a work surface and form a well. Beat the teaspoon of olive oil, 2 eggs, and water in a bowl. Pour half the egg mixture into the well, and begin mixing the egg with the flour with one hand while using your other hand to keep the flour mound steady. Add the remaining egg mixture and knead to form the dough.  Knead until dough is smooth (add more flour if it's too sticky), and then form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic. Refrigerate for an hour.

While the dough was resting, we prepared our fillings. Each was just mixing different ingredients into a bowl so we could spoon it onto the raviolis once our dough was done. Set those aside.

For the pesto alfredo cream sauce, heat 2 T of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and pesto sauce and cook for one minute. Pour in the heavy cream (or milk), raise the heat to high, and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese an stir until it melts. Keep the pan warm until time to serve. Meanwhile, in a spearate saucepan, warm the marinara sauce over medium low heat. Start a large stockpot of water to boil.

Back to the pasta: Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets no thicker than a nickel. To assemble the ravioli, brush the egg wash over all your sheets of pasta. Drop the filling mixtures on the dough (on the side brushed with egg) by teaspoonfuls about one inch apart. Cover the filling with the top sheet of pasta (egg washed side down), pressing out the air from around each portion of filling.  Press firmly around the filling to seal, and then use a pizza cutter or kitchen shears to cut the pasta into individual raviolis. We used a fork to seal the edges of each ravioli better and, of course, to make the quintessential ravioli marks around the pastas.

Drop the raviolis into the boiling water, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the ravioli float to the top and the filling is hot (4-8 minutes).  Drain well. 

To serve, put ravioli on a plate and top it with marinara sauce, and finally drizzle it with the pesto alfredo cream sauce. TO. DIE. FOR. I think the meat ones were the least favorite of the group, the cheese raviolis and the spinach ricotta raviolis were both awesome! The final verdict was, these were a great Saturday activity for our ladies group, but we won't be making them again anytime soon. They were A LOT more work than our original bout with the pasta maker when we did fettucine and bolognese sauce a couple of months ago. 

P.S.  Aurey tested, Aubrey approved.  :)

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