Pasta is my happy place.
Yes, I know that lots and lots of women say this, but it truly, rooly is. My husband works away often, and when I’m cooking for one, 99 percent of the time, I make myself pasta. It’s filling and full of carbohydrates which I need to eat regularly to function. Don’t believe me? Keep bread, potatoes and pasta away from me for a week, and I’m a mess.
For convenience, most often I use bought dried pasta, but I occasionally make my own pasta, as it’s incredibly easy and quite therapeutic. One of these days I’ll actually make enough to freeze and then I’ll be super-organised-housewife of the year.
This is a pasta and sauce recipe which I adapted from a whole lot of others, so I can assure you that you can’t go wrong with pasta and filling… just throw in whatever you like!
Basic Pasta Dough
serves 3-4 (Or two, if you’re hungry people. I won’t judge your portion size.)
200g white flour (I prefer to use 00 pasta flour)
pinch of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
Sift together the flour and salt onto a work surface and make a well in the centre with your fingers. Pour the eggs and oil into the well, then using the fingers of one hand, gradually mix the flour into the liquid.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured bench until it is completely smooth. Wrap in clingwrap and leave it to rest for 30 minutes (if it’s hot where you are, pop it in the fridge on the top shelf). If you’re filling the pasta (ravioli, tortellini, etc), then jump on down to the filling and sauce recipe below. If not, then roll the pasta out through a pasta machine a few times, starting with the widest setting and finishing with a finer setting. How thin you like your pasta rolled out is completely personal preference, the Italians won’t chase you down and shake their rolling pins at you.
Yes, I have a pretty red pasta machine. My husband is awesome like that.
Creamy Chicken Ravioli
1 quantity Basic Pasta Dough
115g cooked chicken breast, coarsely chopped
55g cooked spinach
55g prosciutto, coarsely chopped
handful of basil leaves, torn roughly
1/2 cup grated parmesan (NOT the powder stuff, although that has a special place in my kitchen)
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
flour for dusting
300ml cream (regular, pouring, whatever floats your boat)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
115g sliced mushrooms (I like Swiss Browns because they look cute)
salt and pepper
Place the chicken, spinach, prosciutto and half the basil into a food processor and pulse until completely chopped and blended. Transfer to a bowl, stir in 2 tablespoons of the cheese, the nutmeg and half the egg. Season with salt and pepper.
Tasty layered ingredients, then…
… whiz bang – it’s all green and mushed!
Divide the pasta dough in half. Roll one piece out using your pasta machine or rolling pin (go muscles!), cover with a damp tea towel and roll out the other piece of dough to approximately the same size. I often use a ravioli press, but today I decided on cookie cutters because I wanted round ravioli. Place small mounds of filling, about 1 teaspoon each, in rows 4 cm apart on a sheet of dough. Brush between the mounds with the remaining egg. Lift the second sheet of dough on top of the first, and press down firmly between the pockets of filling, pushing out as many air bubbles as you can. Use your cookie cutter or a pizza wheel to cut the ravioli into individual pieces.
Your ravioli does not, I repeat, does NOT need to look round and even.
This is not MasterChef, people. This is dinnertime.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the ravioli in batches, return to the boil and cook for five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, then transfer to a warmed dish.
Meanwhile, pour the cream into a frying pan, add the garlic and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and half the remaining cheese. Season to taste and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil, then pour the sauce over the ravioli. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan, garnish with extra basil if you’re fancy – I’m not – and serve to ravenous people.
Serve with wine. Wait, what am I saying? Serve every home-cooked dinner with wine.
Do you make homemade pasta? Or are you of the opinion that it’s more hassle than it’s worth? Can I change your mind?