What did you ask for for Christmas last year? A new phone? Money for shopping? Concert tickets?
So did we. But we also asked for this:
A pasta maker!
Our first experience with fresh pasta was several years ago when we tried to make spaghetti by hand. It was delicious, but also so thick that you ate three noodles and were full! Our pasta making endeavors ended there, until this past year in our food science lab at school, where we got the wonderful task of making 3-cheese ravioli.
Let us just say this: Dried pasta doesn’t hold a candle to the fresh stuff!
The difference between our food lab pasta and our home pasta was, in the lab, we got to use a pasta maker. This simple appliance allowed us to roll out the pasta nice and thin, so that when it cooked it was just the right thickness. On that day we decided we had to have one of our own!
Within the last few months since getting the pasta maker, we have made pasta 3 or 4 times. The first time we didn’t get the dough recipe quite right, and it was very crumbly and breaky. Gradually, we started getting the hang of it, and our pasta has turned out better and better each time!
Remember when we said hummus is good in anything? We were right. It’s even delicious stuffed inside ravioli.
It’s chickpea stuffed ravioli.
Make that: Cheesy-tomato-basil-roasted red pepper-chickpea stuffed pasta.
Say that ten times fast!
First, we’ll start off with the pasta dough recipe itself. Pasta dough is easy to make, but can be a bit temperamental. The important thing to remember is to have enough moisture that it will stick together but not too much so that it will stick to the pasta maker. Another key item to remember when making pasta, is it MUST be at room temperature when you roll it out. If it’s cold, not only is it super hard to work with, but also crumbles and breaks apart when trying to roll it out.
Basic Pasta Dough Recipe
1 c. Durum Wheat Semolina Flour
1/2 c. Whole wheat flour
1/2 c. All purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
7-8 Tbsp Water
Mix together flours in a large bowl. Add egg and oil to the center, and using your hands, mix thoroughly. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough stays together and can be kneaded without significant breaking. Knead for 2-3 min.
Take dough in small sections and roll with a rolling pin so that you have a long strip. Starting on the lowest setting, roll the dough through the pasta maker. Once it is rolled through once it will be much thinner and may become quite long. For ease of handling and less chance of breakage, cut the piece in half. Each piece should be rolled through each setting twice before increasing to the next level. We rolled ours up to the 5th setting.
Once you have two strips rolled out, you are ready for the filling! (see below for recipe)
Spread the filling so that there is about a half-centimeter space around the edge. You could also drop the filling by teaspoon-fulls along the dough, leaving a centimeter space around each blob.
Place the second strip of dough on top of the first and pinch the edges to close.
We have a ravioli attachment for our pasta maker, but if you don’t you should use the teaspoon drop method. If so, you can then cut them into squares with a knife.
But us? We let ‘er roll!
Look at those cute little squares!
Now that you’ve done the hard part, just drop them in a pot of boiling water and stir them for about two minutes, e presto! Pasta Ravioli!
Because we wanted the flavour of the filling to come through, we didn’t want to douse it in too much sauce, so we tossed ours in a light pesto coating.
And now for the filling!
2 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic
1/4 of a red onion
1 roasted red pepper (we used one from a jar!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp chipotle puree*
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 c. old cheddar cheese, grated
Add all ingredients except for cheese and blend until smooth.
Stir in the grated cheddar.
Spoon onto pasta and cover with another sheet of pasta (as described above).
Cook in boiling water for 2-3min.
* chipotle puree is simply a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (can be found at any grocery store) that has been blended into a paste.
Have you ever made or eaten fresh pasta?