Steps to Easy Homemade Ravioli

If you have a pasta machine in your home, I sure hope you are using it! Even before I bought mine (back around 1993 or 1994) I made homemade noodles and ravioli by rolling the dough out by hand. It's worth it... every minute of it... but if you have a pasta maker then there is no excuse to not drag it out and use it at least once or twice a year. It's so easy and so relaxing!

Using your favorite pasta dough you divide it into 4 equal portions and let them set for 20 minutes while you assemble the rest.

If you don't have a recipe for your favorite pasta here are two of mine:

Homemade Spinach Pasta
Homemade Butternut Squash Pasta

1 egg
1/2 t olive oil
4-5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and briefly cooked or  1/2 - 3/4 c butternut squash puree - already baked and scraped from the shell

Place into the bowl of a food processor and whirl until smooth.

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt

Process just until it gathers to a ball.   Let set 10 minutes before working with it.

Roll it out very thin on a lightly floured surface, or if you have an Italian pasta machine, roll it out in portions starting at 1 and thinning it down to a 3 or 4.  If you have rolled it thin by hand, now use a pizza cutter to slice it into 1/2 inch strips, or even 1 inch if you like your noodles wide.   With the pasta machine, make it into noodles if you have the attachment or lay it out and use the pizza cutter as well.   This pasta is also perfect for making homemade ravioli with if you cut it into squares, fill and seal instead of slicing into pasta strips - SEE BELOW.   Use right away by dropping in boiling water and boiling for about 8 minutes.  Toss with butter, salt and pepper or your favorite sauce or use in a chicken noodle soup!  If you want to let them dry, just let them dry on the counter overnight, flipping the next morning and continuing to dry or if you have a Pasta Drying Rack, let hang over night or to the next day until dried.  Store in a sealed ziplock in the freezer until use.

Jalapeno Pasta

2 1/4 c flour
1 t salt
1-2 t olive oil
3-4 eggs
2 - 5 small jalapenos (depending on how hot-spicy you want your pasta)

In a food processor bowl, place the salt and flour.  Put the top on and while pulsing or running on low, add a teaspoon-ish of oil and start adding eggs.  You probably only need 3 eggs so start with that.  Add your jalapenos.  I used 2 small jalapenos and the dough was so mild even children could eat it without spice.  If you know you like jalapeno's, use more.  Process until the dough forms a ball shape.  If it hasn't gathered itself in a ball by the 3rd egg, you can add another teaspoon of oil or water or use a 4th egg.  Water or additional flour by the teaspoon will give you the texture you need for it to be a ball.

Let it rest 10 minutes.  Then either roll very, very thin with a rolling pin or use a pasta machine.  I use a manual, hand crank pasta machine and starting with number 1, I run it through to a number 4.  You can then cut into thin noodles or use wide sheets to make homemade ravioli.

Now - for ravioli!
(also check out my homemade jalapeno ravioli with cream cheese filling here)

Using the largest setting (1) feed the pasta through the machine and crank the handle slowly to allow for stretching. Repeat, and then move the number to (2), crank the pasta through and each time move the number one digit higher. I like to keep my pasta around 4 or 5 for noodles and ravioli. Any thinner and it tends to rip too easily.

Now the fun part! If you have a ravioli maker (as I do in the photos) you lay your pasta sheet across the top and use the white mold to push the pasta down a bit. Remove and fill with your favorite filling. Top with a second sheet of pasta.

If you don't have a pasta maker, you make it the way I used to; lay the sheet of pasta on a lightly floured surface and pile teaspoons of filling 1-2 inches apart evenly over the entire sheet of pasta. Use a pastry brush to brush water or egg white around and in between each filling. Top with a second sheet the same size and press around each ravioli. Use a pizza cutter to slice into even squares.

After topping with the second sheet, use your rolling pin to roll across the top, cutting each ravioli apart and sealing it.

Pop each ravioli out (or if by hand, place them one by one) on a cookie sheet and if you are going to use them right away, place them into simmering water and simmer them 5-8 minutes until done. I like mine with alfredo sauces or butter, but you can also serve with spaghetti sauce or whatever your favorite pasta sauce may be.

If you are going to freeze them, freeze them on the cookie sheet until frozen solid. At this point they can be frozen in a larger bag.

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