I’m a known dumpling lover. I’ve always wanted to make ravioli, because 1) it’s a form of dumplings, 1a) dumplings are the best, 2) it’s delicious, and 3) pre-made ravioli seems too expensive for what it is, and 4) the one time I did I buy store-bought ravioli, it was suuuuper suboptimally subpar. As my mom says, “The dough gets leather-y.”
Even the history of the word “ravioli” is kind of delicious. It literally means “little turnips” in some Italian dialect (no idea which one) from the Italian word “rava,” which is in turn from the Latin “rapa,” both of which mean “turnip.” In the Middle English tongue of the 1610s, they were called raffyolys; so English speakers have been eating these delightful dumpling-like pockets of deliciousness for centuries.
I shall voyage to ravioli heaven, without leaving my own kitchen.
As I often do, I blended some aspects of a couple of recipes. This one looked delicious, but I didn’t want to use egg yolks because it’s a pain to try to use up the leftover whites unless you have something specific planned right away. So I used this easy ravioli pasta recipe from one of my favorite, trusted cooking blogs, The Kitchn, instead. Finally, I took a glance at this Mario Batali recipe and decided to add some onions and chili flakes to the chard filling, like he does.
I made the pasta dough first so that it could rest for 30 minutes while I made the filling. (Un-rested dough is too rubbery and hard to work with; resting it relaxes the gluten, making it possible to roll out the dough and not have it snap back like a rubber band.) I’ve never made pasta before, but this was so easy and fast that I know I’ll be making it again, soon and often.
I chopped onions, garlic, and chard and sauteed them, starting with the onion and garlic. While that was cooking, I grated lemon zest, nutmeg, and parmesan and mixed them together.
Each row, L to R: 1a) lightly-sauteed chopped onion and garlic with chili flakes, 1b) the washed, chopped chard (including chopped stems) goes into the pan. 2a) Grating lemon zest, 2b) added freshly grated nutmeg, 3a) ricotta is added to the lemon zest and nutmeg, 3b) and finally, freshly grated parmesan.
Adding the cooked chard to the seasoned cheeses.
I put the plastic cover on the Ravioli Rolling Pin, turning it into a dough rolling pin, floured both the pin and the dough mat, rolled out 2 flat “circles” of ravioli dough, put the filling on half of one, put the other piece of flat dough on top, took the plastic cover off the pin, floured the wood, rolled it across the dough from the filled side to the unfilled side, and then cut in between each individual pillow of ravioli. As you can see, most turned out perfect, but a few belonged on the Island of Misfit Dumplings.
I boiled the ravioli and was amazed that none came apart. I cheated and used a good jarred tomato sauce, because I’m not a purist and it was on sale, easy, and fast.
This was by far the best ravioli I’ve ever had, except maybe at a fancy Italian restaurant. It was so tender and delectable, and there was enough of it that I could eat until I was as stuffed as one of the ravioli. I loved it so much that a few days later I used the leftover dough to make sweet potato ravioli with brown butter. They were crazy good, even though I cheated and used dark corn syrup with a little extra flour instead of amaretto cookie crumbs, since I didn’t feel like going out and buying a whole box just for this recipe. Below is a dinner guest holding up a bite of one of those. They were gone in about five seconds flat.
I’m going to make a lotta ravioli this fall and winter. I may even consider buying a pasta rolling machine to make it even easier.