Ravioli Pasta from Scratch

This year was my 29th birthday, rather than gifts I asked my husband for two things.  1 – to train for a half marathon with me, and 2 – for us to cook a new recipe together once a month.  The half marathon training ended pretty quickly when I couldn’t recover from pretty terrible shin splits.  We managed to complete a 5K, and continue to motivate each other at the gym, but I don’t think I will be doing any long distance running any time soon.

With request 2 are currently a month behind, but have been having fun with our recipe a month.  Cooking something new and out of our comfort zone has been great, and spending the meaningful time together has been even better.  I love gifts that are experiences rather than materialistic “stuff”.

This month we decided to make ravioli from start to finish.  I referenced recipes from Taste of Home and The Food Network (Tyler Florence).  We didn’t follow either recipe exactly, but for the most part came up with an easy dough recipe.  For the filling we more or less winged it, it was a little bit on the salty side, but that’s my preference!  Below I outlined our process in photos!

We started by creating the dough in the stand mixer.  Very easy ingredients, flour, salt,  eggs and a little olive oil.  This step can absolutely be done without the use of an electric mixer, but we chose the easy route.
Next, we kneaded the dough on a  well floured board for 10 minutes or so, until all of the ingredients are incorporated well.
We formed the dough into a ball, brushed with Olive Oil and wrapped in plastic wrap.  We left this out on the counter at room temperature for about a half hour.  My research informed me that this step is to allow the gluten to relax
Here is our pasta dough “relaxing”
Fortunately my mom has a great pasta machine, so we were able to roll the dough out easily, without a pasta machine I’m sure you can roll with a rolling pin, but it most certainly would take longer.  This was a team effort, we cut the dough into 1/4, kept the dough we weren’t using covered, floured the remainder and rolled through the machine.  We started at the highest setting and kept rolling until it was about 1/8″ thick.
Here is what our pasta dough looked like all rolled out.  We made sure to keep it on a well floured surface so that nothing would stick.
We created our filling with a combination of ricotta, mozzarella, egg and spices.  Lots of garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.  On half the dough we put dollops of filling about and inch apart.  We then folded over the other half, and pressed out as many air bubbles as we could.
After pressing down on the dough we cut out each square, and again tried to seal them shut by pushing out the air pockets.
We then used a fork around the edges to seal the raviolis
We placed them on a baking sheet that was dusted with corn meal, so that they could dry out a bit as we rolled out the rest.

Once they were all made we placed our raviolis into a pot of boiling water.  We placed a few at a time so that they wouldn’t crowd the pot and get stuck together.  Once they float to the top they are finished, although I felt like ours floated to the top pretty quickly!
We drained the water, and they were ready to go!
This definitely was not a fast process, it took a lot of time and patience, but it definitely paid off!  They came out delicious and we were really proud of ourselves for being able to make pasta from scratch, start to finish!
We are still thinking about what other recipes we can try and complete this year.  Do you have any specialties?


Easy Grab and Go Breakfast – Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This week we did a great job sticking to our weekly meal plan!  Again, I shopped our pantry and freezer before coming up with our “menu” for the week, and then I ended up only spending $50 on groceries for the rest of the week.  That is less than half of what I would normally spend just going to the store without a plan in place, so that was a huge bonus!  I thought I would share some of the recipes that were a big hit this week.
The first one is for Banana Chocolate Chip muffins.  This is a great grab and go breakfast or perfect for a sweet snack when you’re waiting in-between meals.  It is easy to make, and is a perfect way to use over ripe bananas instead of throwing them out and wasting food.  I like to add flax seed to mine for extra fiber and a heartier breakfast, but that is totally optional (as are the chocolate chips!)
I also used the stand mixer, but I have made this recipe a number of times and usually just use elbow grease and a spoon, so again, totally optional!  I’m not usually a huge baker, because you have to follow recipes pretty exactly.  When I cook I like to throw things together and cross my fingers they will turn out ok, but there is nothing wrong with switching it up!  This also had the added benefit of making busy mornings quick.  Rather than skipping breakfast all together there was an easy option to eat on the go.
Here is the recipe I like to follow:
1.  Pre-heat oven to 350º
2.  Spray muffin tin, or line with cupcake liners
3.  In a large bowl combine 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt
4.  In a separate bowl, or the stand mixer, cream together 1 stick of butter and 3/4 cup of brown sugar

Creaming butter and brown sugar is so much easier with a mixer!  But not necessary to still make delicious muffins

5.  With mixer on low, add in 2 beaten eggs and 3-4 ripe bananas, to the butter and sugar mixture.  If you are not using a stand mixer, then beat the eggs and banana together first, and then hand mix into creamed butter and sugar mixture.
6. Slowly combine the flour mixture with the banana mixture until well mixed.  You can either use the stand mixer on low, a hand mixer on low, or just use a wooden spoon and bowl.
7.  Optional – Now is when I add in a handful of flax seed and mix completely.
8.  Take the mixture and fill muffin tins with a generous amount, generally I can make 18-20 muffins.
9.  Optional – I top each muffin with chocolate chips
10.  Bake in the muffin tins for 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
11.  Enjoy!

The finished product, muffins waiting to be enjoyed

Banana Chocolate Chip Ingredient List:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 3-4 ripe bananas – mashed
  • Optional – flax seed and chocolate chips

Let me know if you give them a try, yum!

Shared with Share the Wealth Sunday