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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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March 15, 2010

A Two-Day Ravioli

Well, maybe 3-day!  Last night I baked a sweet potato because today (Sunday) I wanted to try an actual sweet potato ravioli filling recipe I came across at this really wonderful Italian food site, Mangia Bene Pasta.  Don't know how I've missed it in my constant surfing for all things Italian and I plan to explore it thoroughly.  But they had all sorts of ravioli fillings to try including this sweet potato one.  I had been thinking about substituting sweet potato for pumpkin cause of the "great pumpkin shortage" but was happy to find a recipe that actually called for sweet potato.

So this morning (after my Starbucks tea and crossword Sunday tradition), I came home and made up the filling recipe.  I'm really curious to see how it's going to taste.  If it's any good I will post the recipe, but for now, I'll just say it calls for an Italian biscotti (interesting, no?),  minced prosciutto and a hefty amount of grated parmesan, nutmeg and a little salt and pepper.  So, I'm hoping it may be a fair amount tastier than my first attempt with the pumpkin.  I took a picture of it which basically looks like orange stuff, but I needed to take a picture of something.

It's a drier mixture than the pumpkin (which might be because I had to use canned pumpkin rather than roasted pumpkin) and I'm hopeful that will produce something closer to what I'm looking for - mainly one as good as the Whole Foods pumpkin ravioli I had.

And I forgot all about the time change until I was coming home from Starbucks so the day was further along than I had thought.  I just now - about 5:30 p.m. - finished making the dough which now has to rest for a while and so I think I may make the ravioli later tonight but not have them for dinner until tomorrow. 

Now, it is Monday and I did make the ravioli last night and have decided this has to become easier soon or else it's meant for younger women to do!  I didn't finish up until around 10:00 p.m. and my feet hurt were killing me.  Of course, it didn't help that before I started, it quit raining enough that I thought I would walk to Hillbilly Hotdogs for a fattening dinner, walked all the way there (in a misty rain), and then remembered they close at 5:00 on Sundays.  So walked all the way back and since I was close, went to the river and it is way up again.  I wondered if it would be because of all the snow in various points above us that will be melting.

So I came back home and got started.  Got everything set up just so - floured towel here, pasta maker there, ravioli form on top of this, flour scoop standing by.  I rolled and rolled through the various thicknesses, thinking all the while that rolling with the machine would really be easier with either two people or a third hand.  When I got enough to lay on the form twice, I took a deep breath and laid it on the form.  Took the little plastic indenter thingie and pushed it down into the dough and surprisingly enough the dough didn't tear.

and this is what it looked like.

Moving right along, I filled each little pocket with my filling (which smells pretty good)...

looks fairly hopeful...

I put the top layer on and started rolling per the instructions - gently at first and then more firmly until the raised scalloped edges show through.  Then you're supposed to just turn the form over and gently tap one side against the counter and out will pop all the little raviolis.  This turned out about as I expected.  They didn't plop out, of course, and I ended up having to sort of push them out which gave me fairly misshapen ravioli.  And I could see there was a fair amount of air in the centers which is not a good thing so I had to poke them all with a skewer and try to get the air out.  Here's that first batch drying:

So back to the drawing board (or ravioli press).  I decided I would oil the metal bottom half and see if that made them plop out.  And I tried to put a little more filling in, hoping that would take care of some of the air pocket problems.  They did come out more easily, but, if anything, had more air in them and were really pretty unsightly.  So poke more holes, seal out more air, etc., etc.  And here's the second batch:

These look nicer in the picture, I guess, but I have fears of what will happen when I cook them because the dough seems very thin and there are little tears here and there so they may ooze out their filling when I cook them.

I had a little filling and some dough still, so I thought "okay, darn it, take this!" and I very lightly oiled and floured the bottom of the plastic depressor thing (because it had a tendency to stick to the dough and pull it back up when I removed it) and also floured the metal tray.  I only had enough to do four more ravioli but those four just plopped right out with no stretching, no tearing, no nothing.  After I rolled them with the pin, I also used my finger to seal the corners inside the scalloped edges and I think this eliminated the air pocket problem.  Here they are:

I will eat this batch first I think because I'm more interested in the filling right now and I'm pretty sure these will cook up nicely with no problems.  And then, if I like the filling, I'll try cooking the other batches (which I've frozen) rather than just throw them out.  

All of this did make me decide that before I use the form again, I will buy some of that spray oil/flour combination to use on the two pieces.  I had oil and flour everywhere!!!  

Oh, and here's a picture I took of the river yesterday...along with a picture of the same place back in January when the river was so high.  It's higher now... I'll have to go again today and see if it's still rising or has started down.


January said...

That's a nice ravioli tray, Mama :) I hope it ends up being helpful and not just annoying with sticking and air pockets! The recipe sounds delicious, and I can't wait to hear about the result!

Mary Lynne said...

Oh my gosh - talk about guilty mother! Sweet January gave me the ravioli maker for my birthday and I was certain that I had posted it. But after seeing her little comment, I decided I should look back and see and I didn't!

And I think it will be helpful, January - the last four were real encouraging. And today I already bought a can of the flour/oil spray. I'm not quitting yet!!!

I may have to back to Italy for another class though...that would probably help. :)

Christopher said...

The followup class in Italy is the best idea so far... you're definitely ready for the "201" course level now, perhaps even the "301" given your copious homework already completed...!

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