One afternoon last month, Shawn Cirkiel was giving a pop quiz inside his Italian restaurant, Olive & June.
In the class: Cirkiel’s 9-year-old son, Noah, and my 6-year-old, Julian, who were there to learn about how to make one of their favorite foods from scratch.
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Herbed Ricotta-Stuffed Ravioli
The dough part of this recipe could be used for pappardelle, fettuccine or lasagna noodles or, as my kids preferred, freestyle in whatever handmade shapes come to mind. If you have extra dough, you can cut it into long noodles and dry them over the back of a chair or over a dowel rod.
For herbed ricotta filling:
1 cup whole milk ricotta, drained in cheesecloth overnight
1/2 cup herbs, such as fennel fronds, parsley or chive
1 whole egg
1 cup pecorino romano, grated
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
For ravioli dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
5 eggs, divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Combine all filling ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. (You also could mix by hand with a fork in a bowl.) Chill and reserve.
In a stand-up mixer with a dough hook or in a food processor, mix together the flour and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together four eggs and olive oil. (The remaining egg is for the egg wash to seal the dough when making ravioli.)
With the mixer or processor on, slowly pour about 1/4 cup of egg and oil mixture in the flour at a time. After the last of the liquid has been added and the dough is still shaggy, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about two minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 25 to 30 minutes, which will allow the gluten to relax.
Divide the dough into four sections and gently knead each ball one last time so that the dough is elastic and smooth. Working with one ball at a time (cover the other balls of dough with the wrap so they don’t dry out), form dough into a rectangle and either roll it through a hand-crank pasta machine or feed it through the attachment on an electric stand-up mixer.
Keep rolling the dough through the machine at the widest setting and then start to reduce the setting so that the dough gets thinner and longer. The dough should almost be transparent enough to see through.
Place dough on the counter and cut in half. Scoop a tablespoon of filling for each ravioli and place each tablespoon about two inches apart on one sheet of the dough.
Gently brush the area between the filling with the egg wash and place the other half of the pasta on top. Using your fingers, gently press out the air around the filling and press the sheets of pasta together, forming a seal. Using a pizza cutter or ravioli wheel, cut the squares of ravioli. Place on a large baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel, and continue processing the rest of the dough and ravioli.
When you’re ready to cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Place no more than 10 ravioli in the water at a time and boil for 3 to 6 minutes. Lift out of the water with a strainer or slotted spoon.
— Adapted from a recipe by Shawn Cirkiel, chef/owner of Olive & June