Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list? I don’t recommend it. It’s kind of like being up a creek without the proverbial paddle. I had an errand to run yesterday afternoon, and it was relatively close to a grocery store that I don’t shop at much, but enjoy shopping at. The store is a little bit out of the way for me on a regular day, so since I was going to be just a few blocks away I took the opportunity. Earlier in the day I had been looking up recipes, trying to decide what to cook over the next few days, leading up to and including Christmas.
Since I hadn’t really planned on shopping at that time, I didn’t have a list. I picked up what I thought I needed to make one of the recipes, a couple of ingredients for a Christmas snack food idea, and some milk and cereal. When I got home I discovered that I had picked up a few of the ingredients for three recipes. Instead of panicking, I improvised. No, I did not combine the ingredients into one recipe. I made pasta.
My husband and I have been talking about making homemade pasta off and on for about 6 months. Over the weekend I went so far as to borrow my dad’s pasta machine. The kind of pasta machine that clamps onto the counter and you crank. So, I found a couple of recipes online. Having watched my grandmother make egg-noodles when I was a child I had a pretty basic understanding of what to do. Make a well, put the eggs in the well, combine with a fork. There was a little bit more to it than that, but not much.
I made the dough, put a pot of water on the stove and pulled out a few things from the fridge that I thought would be a good filling for ravioli. I had some ricotta (isn’t that a staple), some parmigiano reggiano, and some fresh spinach. I mixed together the cheeses in a bowl and steamed a little bit of the spinach in the microwave. I cut off about a quarter of the dough and started putting it through the pasta machine. I don’t think I made any audible sounds, but inside I was “wheeing” like a child! Fun! I used a glass to cut the pasta into circles, and set them aside on a baking sheet.
I had just started on the second quarter of the dough when my husband and youngest daughter came in from the family room to see what I was doing. They quickly decided to help. It looked like fun. They took over the cranking of the pasta, and I started filling my ravioli. Within minutes our 9 year old, daughter number three, was in the kitchen wanting to crank pasta. Absolutely. So, she was cranking pasta and hubby was helping. The youngest moved down to help me fill and seal. She really just wanted to crimp them with a fork I think. She suddenly realized that my 16 year old, daughter number 2, was not having any of this fun. She ran upstairs to her bedroom and brought her down. So then daughter number 2 was cranking with daughter number 3, the hubs was cutting out pasta, the youngest and I were stuffing and crimping. What a great little assembly line!
I was definitely worried about putting the pasta in the boiling water. I doubted my sealing a bit. I put the ravioli in the water and set the timer for 4 minutes. I watched to see if any cheese oozed out. No oozing cheese – so I had already considered this a success. I put the steaming hot ravioli on a plate and grabbed a fork. Everyone took a bite. I waited…it was good! I had filled these with the cheese only mixture.
When the next pot of ravioli was done daughters 3 and 4 got plates of steaming hot ravioli and went to the table. They ate pretty quickly and (oddly) disappeared from the kitchen. Daughter 2 soon followed – eating and disappearing. So, it was just the two of us left in the kitchen filling and sealing our ravioli. I added the steamed spinach, since there was no fear of one of the girls ending up with it. We decided to bake about a dozen of them after they had come out of the pot. That will take practice. We sat down at the table, alone, and had our wonderful homemade ravioli and some crusty bread, and a glass of wine.
I really enjoyed the process. It was so easy and everyone had a good time making it. I asked the youngest later if she had fun making the ravioli. She said she did, but she had fun eating it, too.
We are trying to decide what we will fill our pasta with the next time. We’re leaning toward lobster. Oh, and Nutella.
Yes, there will be a next time!