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Fresh Ravioli

3 cups durum flour or semolina*
3/4 cup water (approximately)

* If durum flour or semolina is not available, substitute: 3 - 4 cups bread flour or unbleached flour, 4 eggs and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Combine flour and enough water to make a stiff dough. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. When using a pasta machine with a ravioli cutter, follow the directions in the machine's manual. Or use one of the following methods:

1. Divide dough into 4 pieces. On a well-floured surface, roll 2 pieces into rectangles about 1/16-inch thick, keeping remaining dough covered. Trim to identical size. Leaving about a 1-inch margin around the edges, place about 1 teaspoon of filling at 2 to 3 inch intervals. Brush water between mounds of filling. Lay the second pasta strip over the first. With the side of your hand, press the pasta around each mound of filling so that the two moistened strips stick together firmly. Using a fluted pastry wheel or pasta cutter, carefully cut along and across the pasta dough, making the individual ravioli. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 pieces of dough.
2. Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/16-inch. Using a 2 1/2-inch diameter cookie cutter cut circles of dough. Place 1 teaspoon of filling on half the circles. Moisten the edges. Place a second circle on top of each circle with filling. Press edges together firmly.

Let ravioli dry for about 30 minutes. (To freeze, arrange ravioli in a single layer on a floured baking pan, dust the tops with flour, cover and freeze until firm. Then package in air-tight containers.) To cook, drop fresh or frozen ravioli into salted, boiling water. Cook until tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness of dough; drain. To serve, pour sauce over ravioli and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Ravioli Fillings:

Ground Beef Filling:

1/2 pound ground beef

1 small onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup minced parsley

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

Cook beef, onion and garlic until meat is browned. Remove from heat; stir in parsley, cheese, salt and egg. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes enough filling for 2 recipes of the basic pasta recipe.

Chicken Filling:

1 cup ground, cooked chicken

8-ounce can spinach*, drained and excess moisture squeezed out

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pepper to taste

*May substitute 8-ounces canned mushrooms, well-drained and chopped.

Combine ingredients and mix well.

Nutritional Information