Growing up Italian, I savor every form of pasta. BUT, if I had to pick my all time favorite it would be meat ravioli! I remember growing up, my Nonna had it at Christmas and my mother would make it as well. About 10 years ago, my mom showed me how to make it. I didn't appreciate it at the time, too busy with everything unimportant in my life. As I've grown older, I appreciate these family traditions more. And so, with my sister and nieces coming to town, I asked my mother if she would show us (again) how to make ravioli. I promise mom, that I won't forget this time!
Mom - the Italian Princess
To start, I made a HUGE pot of sauce (http://rediscovermom.blogspot.com/2012/07/meat-sauce.html), omitting the meat.
To make the ravioli filling, combine 1 pound of ground beef, 1/2 pound ground pork, 1/2 pound ground veal, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons parsley. Make into meatballs and put them raw into the sauce. Allow the meatballs to cook in the sauce for several hours. This will also flavor the sauce.
Next, it is time to make the pasta dough. Here are the ingredients:
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
We wanted to learn to make dough like the Italians do so my mom told us to put the flour in a heap right onto the counter. Whisk the eggs. Make a well and put most of the egg mixture, along with the olive oil into the center. Slowly stir the eggs, incorporating the flour.
Mom shows Karrie how to make pasta dough
As you incorporate the flour, it will form into pasta dough. If it is too crumbly, add the rest of the eggs. The dough should be a light yellow and be moist but not sticky.
When the dough is finished, put it under a damp towel and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. Each roll of dough makes about 30 ravioli.
While the dough is resting, time to grind the meat. The ingredients for the ravioli filling are:
1 can carrots
1 can mushrooms
1 can spinach
My mother had my Nonna's meat grinder. We assembled it and started running everything through the grinder.
Mom supervising Tonette and I at the meat grinder......she's good at that!
Now it's Julia's turn at the wheel!
When the pasta dough has rested 30 minutes, it's time to roll it out. Several years ago my mom and dad went to Italy. When they were there, they bought a pasta roller. You don't need to go to Italy to buy a pasta roller. They have them here in the U.S.! Or, you can do it the old fashioned way and roll it by hand. That is what my Nonna used to do.
When you roll out pasta dough, set the rollers to 1. Roll 1/3 of the dough ball through. After it goes through the rollers, fold it in half and send it through again. Roll it through he number 1 setting 5-6 times. Set the pasta roller to the number 2 setting. Roll it through once. Set the machine to number 3. Roll it through once. Continue all the way to number 5.
Julia and Tonette roll the pasta through the pasta machine
A little fun with the gals!
The pasta came out in 3-4 foot sections. We were able to lay it across my island, with the sides hanging off the side!
Take small balls of meat and place it onto the pasta sheet. We put two balls across and fill the sheet until half full.
When you filled the pasta sheet until half full, put your fingers in water and run it along the sides and middle so that when you fold the pasta over it seals.
When you fold the dough over, press in the center first. This will allow you to dissolve air pockets before sealing around the meat. Press from the center, around the meat. Press the edge down after the air pockets are gone. When the ravioli is sealed, take a pizza cutter or a ravioli cutter and cut individual raviolis.
We had some extra dough so we used the pasta machine and made fettuccine noodles. We sat the noodles out overnight to dry. My dad said that my Nonna would make fresh pasta and drape it over the chairs to dry!
Was this a long afternoon? YES! But, it was all worth it! The meal was great but what I loved most of all is that I was able to spend the afternoon with my mother, my sisters and my niece. That is really the lost art of our grandmothers!
Mom, Julia, Me, Tonette and Karrie
Mangia! This recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday!