Friday, August 7, 2009

Ravioli, Pasta, Sauce, and Meatballs from scratch!

Set the mood with Italian wine and Italian CDs!

Then, find yourself some willing kids and have them make pounds of meatballs! (Warn them to keep it away from mom's nearby laptop!)

It helps to coerce them with promises of a taste-tester once they're done baking!

Meanwhile, on your great-grandmother's dough board, put 2 1/4 cups of flour and form a well in the center.

Next, crack 3 eggs carefully into the center, taking care to not let them flow out of the well like a lava pouring volcano. (Sometimes a second pair of hands supporting the flour wall helps.)

Take a fork and slowly start beating the eggs into the well. Once they're beaten, carefully incorporate some of the flour of the walls into the mixture until the eggs are more of a batter and no longer runny.

Next, using both hands in a quick fold-and-flop kind of motion, take the outside walls of remaining flour and cover the eggs in the well and start kneading to mix the rest of the flour with the eggs. It'll be sticky, but once it's incorporated, wrap it in plastic and let it sit for a few minutes.

Have a younger cousin make the ricotta cheese filling for the ravioli! (It helps if she wears an apron you gave to your brother as a gift years ago that reads "I don't need a recipe... I'm Italian!")

After the dough has sat, it's texture will have completely changed. Knead it on a lightly floured surface and then, depending on if you have a pasta machine, you can half the ball to go through the machine, or roll the dough out and cut it by hand.

We had a pasta machine, so we rolled it through the flattener part, it goes through 7 times, once on each setting until it's a long, flat sheet of thin pasta.

Working pretty quickly, as the dough dries out and becomes prone to cracking, lay it over your great-grandmother's ravioli mold and press lightly with the well-maker.

Spoon the cheese filling into the wells and cover with another sheet of pasta. Roll a rolling pin over the mold and the pasta will easily pull from the sides

This will leave you with two rows of neat raviolis to separate and lay on a floured pan.

When you're exhausted from hurrying through batches of ravioli, it's ok to switch to spaghetti! Simply transfer that long, flat sheet of pasta into the spaghetti slot of the pasta machine and crank the handle!

Cut with scissors when it gets too long and hang on a drying rack (or spare laundry rack!)

Finally, after two hours of work, you can boil the ravioli and pasta, and have heaps and heaps of home-made Italian food!

Enough for dinner that night and four freezer containers for later! (I took home two, one of pasta and one of ravioli, both with sauce and meatballs!)

Mmm, all that hard work just makes it taste that much better!

And .... Happy Birthday to Johnny today!!!


Marta said...

Oh what a wonderful activity to get the little ones involved! Looks like you had fun and turned out a delicious meal at the end! Bravo!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Happy Birthday Johnny!!!

Hope you have a great day!

That's my kind of day Christina! I would love to do something like that and I'm sure your younger cousins will remember doing that for a long time to come!

Unknown said...

It was really fun making the pasta and the ravioli with you and tell jonhy happy late birthday :)And yes i am italian :) love your cousin TAYLOR

Unknown said...

We all willingly made meatballs i just dont know what your speaking of just kidden that was awesome and making the ravioli so much fun i mean we had the the best team ever with taylor me and you crank twist put through repeat great to see you this summer love jordan
p.s. tell johnny i said happy birthday same for emma as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the birthday wishes!!

Anonymous said...

Also, I just ate the raviolis all of you made earlier this evening and they were delicious!

Sweetie Pie said...

You are amazing! This looks like so much fun, and the end result looks so gooood!!! What lucky kiddos and lucky tastebuds! :-)

Anonymous said...

That marinara looks awesome! Did you make that part from scratch too?

Christina said...

Thanks, ghweiss!

Yes, the marinara is from scratch, but I had nothing to do with it. It was a collaboration of my mom and dad from fresh tomatoes and herbs they grow!

Mary Q Contrarie said...

awesome pictures. I love the using of a clothes drying rack for pasta. Also great to see another generation learning how to make food!