I have a pasta machine. I was so thrilled when I received it a few years ago, visions of homemade pasta dancing in my head. The kitchen strewn with flour-dusted noodles, hanging from wooden racks, ready for a quick plung into some boiling water before becoming lightly sauced and then, of course, consumed.
However, I'm ashamed to admit I have only used my pasta machine once in the last two years. A failed attempt at ravioli. Everything was going along smoothly - I whipped up the dough, fed it through the machine multiple times until it formed a long, think strip, dolloped appropriately spaced portions of gorgonzola filling onto one strip, then covering with another, seeling them and cutting them into ravioli. Then, my fatal error... I put the ravioli on a baking sheet, slightly overlapping. Yes, this was were it all went wrong, because a few minutes later, when I was ready to boil my pasta, devilishly hungry, I realized my little dumplings had become one very large dumpling, one that ripped apart in every which way as I tried to salvage the remains.
Since then, I haven't had the heart to try again. I know I shouldn't feel defeated... maybe I should just try some linguine first? However, this Saturday we were craving ravioli. Yet, still gun-shy, I decided to go for another rather tried-and-true method of semi-homemade ravioli construction: the won-ton wrapper. Won-ton wrappers are sold fresh, lightly floured little pasta squares in the refridgerated portion of the grocery store. All you have to do is take them out, lightly wet two of the edges of the square with egg-wash, place a spoonful of filling in the center, and fold the square over into a triangle, sealing the edges by pressing together. Voila - you have ravioli, with much less trauma.
We actually ended up making ravioli twice (again on Sunday night). Saturday, we concocted a spinach-cheese filling in a chunky tomato and onion sauce. Sunday, we were much more simple (as our ravioli was now a side dish for some eggplant parmisan), sticking to a straightforward cheese ravioli in a light tomato sauce. I'll post the plain cheese version below, since you can alter that to your hearts content, adding whatever other fillings or sauces you desire.
Cheese Ravioli in Tomato Sauce (serves 4 main dishes)
30 wonton wrappers
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 C. shredded asiago cheese or parmesan cheese
2 T. milk or cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 C. tomato sauce of your choosing
In a food processor (or by hand), combine the cheeses, milk, oregano, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. The consistency should be smooth, but not runny - if it needs thickening up, add more mozzarella or parm.
Take one won-ton wrapper, and use your finger to wet two adjoining edges of the square with the egg wash. Place about a tablespoon full, or slightly less, in the center of the square. Then, fold over into a triangle, sealing the edges together. Repeat with the remaining wrappers. Place complete ravioli on a slightly damp towel, to keep them from drying out.
Boil 12 ravioli at a time in a pot of salted water. This should only take about 2 minutes. When the ravioli are done, they float to the top of the pot. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Here's the finished product (this is the spinach version):