Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some

So I tried my luck at hand-made ravioli - pumpkin ravioli - for the very first time. There was much hype. I talked about it at work, I bragged to my friends, and oh, the humanity, I twitted the hell out of it.
Alas, it was not perfect. I knew as I was progressing through the recipe that this dish might not be my greatest success, but I proceeded. Come dinner time, I set the plate in front of my hungry guinnea pig and she dug in. The verdict? "Well, it's not like I won't eat it." In other words, "this probably won't make me gag." Ah, thank heaven for friends.

But this web site is all about the journey, right? If I were perfect, I wouldn't be starting cooking school in December. If everything I did was a smashing success, I would be Smitten Kitchen. So. Let me tell you about what this recipe should have been, and where I think I went wrong. I would love to hear your comments and advice, so help a girl out! (After the jump.)
Pumpkin Filling
- 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1/2 Cup pumpkin puree (Issue #1: I had no idea that some pumpkins were suited for using the guts (sugar pumpkins) and others were simply meant to be carved, guts disposed of. I apparently, had the latter.)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

Ravioli Pasta
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste (What? For real?)
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Water

1. Mix the ingredients for the filling and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste, olive oil and eggs. Make a well in the center of the bowl of flour, and pour the tomato mixture in the well. Using a fork, gradually bring the flour into the wet mixture in the center and mix until you can begin to form a ball of dough.

3. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, then cover and let it rest for 5 minutes. After the dough has rested, divide into 4 balls and work with one at a time while the rest are covered.

4. Here's another spot where I strayed from what I was told. The recipe I used told me to roll out a rectangle of dough, drop 2 rows of filling dollops on one side of the dough, fold the dough in half, and then cut out the squares of ravioli between the dollops. But I was having a hell of a time rolling out the dough into a large rectangle. So I did this:

The rounds were a little thick, so I rolled them a little thinner and larger. Then I put filling in the center and folded them into half moons.

After boiling the ravioli, I sauteed them in butter and a little stock and tarragon leaves. I have to say, they weren't awful. But they were kind of big and chewy and heavy. So you've got the lowdown. Like a said, help a girl out. What do you suggest?


Anonymous said...

that's a TON of tomato paste...no?

Kate Lowther said...

Yes! It was a TON of tomato paste! Totally weird, right? You couldn't really taste it though... it seemed merely to make them orange...

elizabeth said...

First question: did you use a pasta machine? That's how you end up getting rectangles--from rolling the dough through the machine on increasing settings to make it smooth and very thin.

I've never made/watched my husband make a pasta dough that included an ingredient to change its color, so I don't know how that changes the moisture level in the dough, but I will say that kneading it for a while is essential to get the dough just right. Husband cheats (he's Italian but for the life of him cannot master the well method) by using the Kitchen Aid to bring the dough together, but then he still kneads it for ten minutes and then lets it rest for another half-hour. He then runs it through the machine once on each setting until he gets to 7, which is the last or penultimate setting.

He's very good at it now, but it took many attempts in order to get it just right--

Kate Lowther said...

Wow Elizabeth, I was totally half-assing it! I'll remember the prolonged kneading and resting next time!