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Hand-Rolled Ravioli

By Steve Dunn Published

With our supermalleable dough, you don’t need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli.

When I have the time, I relish the opportunity to slow down, roll up my sleeves, and turn to projects such as making ravioli the traditional way, without a pasta machine. There is something magical about mixing up a supple dough and then using only a rolling pin and a knife to create a stuffed pasta.

A few years ago, we designed a pasta recipe to be rolled without a machine. It relies heavily on egg yolks and oil to provide enough fat to limit gluten development so the dough can be rolled without springing back. Cut into strands, boiled, and tossed with a creamy tomato sauce, the pasta is a real winner.

Our egg-rich dough comes together quickly in the food processor.

To see how the dough would work as the wrapper for ravioli, I whipped up a batch in the food processor. After a resting period to allow the flour to hydrate and the gluten to relax, it was easy to roll into long sheets. Working with one sheet at a time, I brushed the lower half of the long side with egg white (this would help seal the ravioli) and then deposited six mounds of a simple ricotta filling on top of the egg wash.

Folding the top half of the sheet toward me to cover the filling was tricky: I suspended the dough with one hand and used my other hand to enclose each mound in dough while pressing out air. (Trapped air would create pockets of steam during cooking that could cause the wrapper to burst.) Once the perimeter of each mound was sealed, I cut the sheet into individual ravioli and boiled them for 6 minutes.

Roll out the dough until it measures roughly 20 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Deposit six 1-tablespoon mounds of filling on the dough.
Cut the dough sheet at the center points between the mounds of filling, separating it into six equal pieces.
Keeping the top edge of the dough suspended over the filling with your thumbs, use your fingers to press the layers together.

The filling was lackluster, but I could easily fix that. I was more concerned that the pasta seemed underdone, especially at the edges where it was doubled.

To jazz up the ricotta, I folded in bits of creamy fontina and shreds of nutty Parmesan along with a pinch of heady nutmeg. I also fine-tuned my shaping method: Instead of folding the entire 18-inch length of dough over the mounds of cheese, I cut the sheet into six rectangles and folded them individually.

Our hand-rolled dough is thicker than machine-rolled dough. Associate Editor Steve Dunn found that the ravioli required a full 13 minutes of boiling to produce a supple-yet-resilient texture.

To address the underdone doubled edges, I could have followed the lead of most ravioli recipes and rolled the dough superthin. But that is incredibly difficult to do by hand. Instead, I just let the boiling water do the work for me: I cooked another batch and sampled the ravioli at the 7-minute mark and every minute thereafter until they achieved a supple‑yet‑resilient texture, which took a full 13 minutes.

Topped with an elegant sauce of browned butter studded with toasted pine nuts, these pillowy three‑cheese ravioli were something to be savored.

Recipe Three-Cheese Ravioli with Browned Butter-Pine Nut Sauce

With our supermalleable dough, you don't need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli.

Recipe Meat Ravioli with Quick Tomato Sauce

With our supermalleable dough, you don't need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli. 

Recipe Artichoke-Lemon Ravioli with Browned Butter-Pine Nut Sauce

With our supermalleable dough, you don't need a pasta machine—or the skills of an Italian grandmother—to make tender yet springy ravioli. 

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.