“Mom, do you know what you should make for dinner?”
“Cheese ravioli. Do you remember how good those are? With lots of red sauce…no meat..”
Yea, you’re right…I’ll make them one day when I have some extra time, ok?
*two days later*
“Did you have time yet? I’m going to write cheese ravioli on your meal plan, then you’ll have to make them.”
Umm, ok sure I’ll make them I promise.
*two more days later*
“So mom, how about those cheese ravioli?”
Me, silently thinking how have you not forgotten about these yet?
I’m going to the store today and I’ll get the stuff to make them. #surrender
My kids really think I can make anything their little hearts desire, like the lego marshmallows my middle son requested a few months ago, or fresh soft pretzels. So it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise when M declared he wanted cheese ravioli and then wouldn’t give up until I actually made them.
If anyone asks me what is the most important skill to have as an expat, my answer is, “the ability to cook anything from scratch.” For real. This challenge was less about having the ability to make ravioli and more about the actual process. There are no frozen bags of ravioli in Morocco, at least not where I live.
Off to the kitchen I went.
Most people think making fresh pasta is really hard – it’s not. Ravioli is just stuffed pasta dough, and the stuffing couldn’t be easier either.
What do you serve with cheese ravioli?
I have always enjoyed ravioli with red sauce. So, I suggest serving with marinara sauce and either with or without meatballs. You can find my easy marinara sauce on this post for homemade gnocchi and red sauce. If you’d rather not make your own sauce, Raos sauce is one that I’ve often used in the US and really enjoy.
Cheese ravioli were my favorite food (and still are) from the time I was very young. I learned how to make them with my grandma and now make them for my kids.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 4 eggs
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- extra flour for dusting
- Cheese Stuffing
- 16 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzerella cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp grated garlic
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- palmful of fresh chopped Italian parsley and/or basil
- piping bag or plastic bag (optional)
In a large bowl add flour, semolina flour and salt. Mix together and create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
Crack the eggs into the middle and add olive oil.
Use your hands to mix together the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. You can do this in a stand mixer of food processor but hands work just as well!
Continue mixing until the dry and wet ingredients come together into a soft, pliable ball. You may need to add a little water if it's too dry, or a little flour if it's too wet.
Once the dough comes together, cover with a towel and set aside to rest while you prepare the filling. I rest my dough at least 30 minutes.
Mix all of the filing ingredients together in a bowl.
You can add more garlic if you like, or add different herbs. Sometimes I will add in cooked pureed spinach but I like the 3 cheese mix because it's the way these have always been made in my family.
Refrigerate the filling until ready to use.
If you have a pasta machine this will be a lot faster and easier.
Divide the dough into equal parts about the size of large apple. Start with a wider setting on your pasta machine to flatten it, adjusting each pass until you have a sheet of dough that is nearly see through.
If you don't have a machine you can use a rolling pin.
Place a piece of parchment on your work surface and dust with flour. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well and put another piece of parchment on top.
Roll out until it too is nearly see through.
Get your prepared filling and transfer to a piping bag or plastic bag that you can cut an end off so that it works like a piping bag. This is by far the easiest way to fill ravioli. You can also use a spoon to fill.
There are a few different ways to seal the ravioli.
Option 1: Use a round biscuit cutter or circle cookie cutter to cut out rounds of dough. Place filling in the center, it should fill up about half of the circle. Fold one side over and crimp the edges.
Option 2: Keep your flat pieces of dough on your work surface. In the bottom half add filling, spaced about 2-3 finger widths apart. Fold the top over the cheese filling to line up the edges. Use a pastry cutter to cut the edges and form square ravioli.
Place sealed ravioli on a lined cookie sheet dusted with flour. You can freeze ravioli on the cookie sheet at this point. I put them directly in the freezer for a few hours until hard and then transfer to a freezer safe bag.
To cook immediately, bring salted water to a boil and drop in desired number of ravioli. When they float, they're done (approximately 5-8 minutes).
I like to make as many as possible to start with. You can set aside the scraps after cutting out the circles for another rest while you continue rolling dough. Roll them all together to use as much of the dough as possible. If you notice it getting too tough, set aside.
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a roaring boil and drop the ravioli in. Fresh ravioli will cook in 5-6 minutes while frozen will cook in 8-10 minutes. Once ravioli float to the surface they’re ready! Use a slotted spoon to remove from the water.
When I make these I make a double batch. This recipe will make 2-3 dozen ravioli but if I’m making the mess once may as well make a lot. They freeze well and are perfect for those nights when you really don’t know what to make. Paired with a simple salad you can have dinner ready in under 20 minutes.
A few products I highly suggest if you plan to make these – or really any homemade pasta;
- a pasta machine – it will make your life easier and also your pasta so much better!
- Ravioli cutting tools
- silicone pastry mat – if you don’t want a big board that takes up space but would like a clean work surface that can be picked up and washed.
Happy Pasta Making!