Tuesday, April 19, 2016
How to make potato ravioli
They only look like the ones your mother used to make.
Far from it, actually. These ravioli are filled with potato, not ricotta. The only cheese inside is a little grated Reggiano, and that's for flavor, not texture.
I know what you're thinking: Must be pretty heavy. Like pierogi maybe. Cannonball type stuff, right?
Nope. These are pretty light as ravioli go, so long as you treat the filling just right.
Start with around 2 pounds of Russett potatoes. With a fork pierce the skin in several places and bake until the flesh is thoroughly softened. It's totally cool to microwave the potatoes instead; after all, we'll only be using the flesh, not the skins. Just don't boil the potatoes, okay. Far as I'm concerned that always makes for a heavier filling.
Once the potatoes are baked allow them to cool just enough so that you can work with them without burning your fingers. Remove the skins and run the potatoes through a ricer and into a mixing bowl.
Mix in one egg, three tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a dash of nutmeg, salt (don't be shy here, okay) and pepper to taste, and enough milk to moisten the potatoes. I'd start with 1/4 cup and add from there as needed; the idea is to achieve a nice and smooth filling, but not a runny one.
For good measure stir in some extra virgin olive oil, at which point the filling should be good to go. Taste it and adjust as you see fit. You can now get right to work on making the ravioli, or refrigerate the filling until you're ready. It will last in the fridge a few days.
All that's left to do now is put the ravioli together (here's my fresh pasta dough recipe in case you need one). These pasta sheets are very thin, rolled out to the 1.5 setting on my pasta machine, which ranges from 1-10, thinnest to thickest. You can see that the filling is creamy without being runny; that's the consistency you're looking for.
To keep the ravioli from having air pockets carefully lay down the top pasta sheet with that in mind. I always begin at one end and slowly roll the top sheet down over each dollop of filling. To me that works better than lowering the entire top sheet down onto the bottom sheet at once.
One at a time start to form the ravioli; again, being careful to allow all of the air to escape.
This is how things should look. It's not the end of the world if a little air is left inside the ravioli; just do your best to keep it to a minimum.
All that's left to do now is get out your pasta cutter and cut the ravioli. As I said, the dough is thin and delicate. When you boil the ravioli (in very well-salted water, of course) they should only take around 3 minutes.
The great thing about this filling is that it goes great with most any kind of sauce you can conjure. This is a really simple sauce that I made here. I just sauteed some garlic and a little hot pepper in olive oil, then added lots of sweet butter, white wine and chopped parsely. In a couple minutes enough of the wine had reduced so that the flavor was just right. Easy peasey.
Then again, I have some leftover filling from the other night and I'll be making a small batch of the ravioli for dinner tonight. This time it'll be a Bolognese sauce, I think.
Which is a lot more like what mom might have made.