PFB Challenge #4 – A Rainbow of Ravioli

Technicolour RavioliHoly crap. I actually made it this far in Project Food Blog. Can you believe it? I can’t… when I found out on Friday that I was one of the 100 bloggers advancing to Challenge #4, I literally squealed out loud right in the middle of the office, startling several of my coworkers.

So, to all of you who have cheered me on, voted for me, provided moral support (and most importantly, for The Boy, who puts up with my artistic fits of temper when I’m worried I’ve screwed up a challenge)… thank you. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

Now, on to Challenge 4. What kind of culinary madness did Foodbuzz ask us to attempt for this challenge? A step-by-step photo tutorial, that’s what.

I initially planned on doing a tutorial on how to make samosas to accompany my post for Challenge #2, but then I had a sudden flash of inspiration as I was going over photos from my trip to Vancouver – how about multicoloured pasta, just like the one I served at my Challenge #3 dinner party?

Most of us, me included, don’t usually have the option going to the Granville Market, where you can buy an amazing assortment of technicolour pasta in every shape and colour you can imagine. However, with a few basic ingredients, a little patience and a pasta machine (or lots of upper body strength and a rolling pin), it’s actually pretty easy to make some of your own.

Plus, making your own ravioli opens up a virtually unlimited number of pasta flavouring and filling options. I’ve kept things simple with a cheese and ricotta filling for the purposes of this demo, but think of all the amazing options – saffron pasta filled with smoked salmon, spinach pasta filled with mushroom, blueberry pasta filled with lemon zest and mascarpone… the pastabilities possibilities are endless.

So, without further ado, allow me to show you how to make your own coloured pasta at home…

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Homemade Ravioli – The Tutorial

1. Start by combining the flour and semolina on a clean work surface. Shape into a mound, then make a small well in the centre. Crack eggs into the well, and add salt and oil. If you’re planning on making coloured pasta, this is when you should add your chosen colouring mixture as well.
Use a fork to whisk the eggs, then slowly mix the flour into the egg mixture, working from the centre outwards until a rough dough starts to come together.

Mixing Dough

2. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty! Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, dusting with flour as needed if it starts to feel too wet or sticky. Stop when the dough feels sort of like Play-Doh (and, if you’ve used beet, looks like Play-Doh too)

Kneading Pasta Dough

3. Admire your handiwork. Then, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour to let the overworked gluten relax a little. Play some soothing, calming music… Enya, perhaps.

Coloured Pasta Dough

4. Once the dough is loosened up a little, it’s time to roll it out. I’m weak, so I use a pasta machine for this… but if you’ve got biceps of steel and a will of iron, then you could also do this step with a rolling pin.
First, cut the dough into thirds. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did this later, because each little ball will make a giant sheet of pasta. Take one of the pasta and pass it through the machine at the highest setting.

Rolling Out - Beginning

5. Drop the machine to the next-thinnest setting, and repeat. Keep going until you’ve reached the desired thickness.

Rolling - Done!

6. Trim your sheet of pasta into two equal-sized rectangles and lay one of these on a clean work surface. Spoon little dollops of filling onto the pasta, spacing them an inch apart.

Spooning Filling

7. Brush all of the exposed surfaces of the pasta with egg wash, then top with the second layer of pasta. Using your fingers, gently press out any air bubbles. You want to make sure the filling is tightly snuggled in there, and that all the air has been pushed out.

Adding Top Layer

8. Cut out your ravioli. I’m using a fancy round pasta cutter I bought for this purpose, but a sharp knife will do just fine (you’ll just end up with straight-edged square ravioli, instead of these little crimped round ones).

Cutting Out

9. Repeat steps 4 through 8 using the remaining two pieces of dough, until you’ve rolled out and cut out all your ravioli. Tah-dah! Now your pasta is ready to be cooked and eaten with your favourite sauce.

Finished Ravioli

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Homemade Cheese Ravioli

Basic Pasta Dough:
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Filling:
1 lb ricotta, strained
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Once the dough starts to come together, turn it out onto a clean work surface dusted with a little flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing together all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
After half an hour, unwrap the dough and cut into thirds. Cover two of the pieces with a damp towel, and set aside.
Using a pasta maker on the lowest (ie. widest) setting, roll out the first piece of dough. Continue rolling, using progressively thinner settings, until the desired thickness is achieved. Alternatively, roll out the dough using a rolling pin on a clean work surface lightly dusted with flour until very thin.
Trim the sheet of pasta into two equal-sized rectangles and lay one of these on a clean work surface. Spoon the filling onto the pasta in tablespoon sized dollops, spacing them an inch apart.
Brush all of the exposed surfaces of the pasta with egg wash, then top with the second layer of pasta. Using fingers, gently press out any air bubbles and seal the two layers of pasta together. Cut out into individual ravioli using a pasta cutter or a sharp knife.
When ready to eat, cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5-8 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Drain and serve with your favourite sauce.

NOTE: Make sure to cook your fresh ravioli the same day they’re made – otherwise, the moisture in the filling will be absorbed by the pasta, turning it into a sticky, gluey mess. If preparing in advance, cook the ravioli for 5 minutes to set the pasta, and then reheat in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes just before serving.

TECHNICOLOUR VARIATIONS:
Red Pasta: Add 3 tbsp tomato paste.
Orange Pasta: Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup pureed carrot or pumpkin.
Yellow Pasta: Add 1/2 tsp crumbled saffron threads steeped in 1 tsp hot water.
Green Pasta: Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup pureed spinach or broccoli.
Purple Pasta: Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup strained, pureed blackberries or blueberries.
Magenta Pasta: Omit one egg. Add 1/4 cup pureed beet.
Black Pasta: Add 4 tsp squid ink.

Comments

  1. a meandering mango says

    Your ravioli are gorgeous! thanks for sharing the great pictures and tips – so very useful!

  2. Isabelle says

    Nanan, I believe the next best thing would be roasted red pepper puree, which will give the pasta a light orangey-red colour. I'd use about 1/4 cup and omit one egg.
    Unfortunately, red pepper is a lot less concentrated than tomato, so you will get a less vibrant colour.

  3. Moira says

    I found your blog on foodgawker.
    Love the colours of your pasta and the step by step.
    If you don't mind I will follow your blog from now on :9
    Regards from Portugal
    Moira

  4. Bianca @ South Bay Rants n Raves says

    I may…no will need my husband's help with this one since it would look much neater if he assembled it… anyways how cute is this? I don't have kids but I think they would love to eat this colorful pasta & talk about making it for parties! Cool deal!

  5. Lick My Spoon says

    I love the different color variations in this post, I may have to try to make a rainbow myself someday when I'm feeling ambitious. This would look so cool on a large scale. You've got my vote, good luck this week!

    Lick My Spoon

  6. souperior says

    The best composition of any post for this challenge so far – really lovely, definitely got my vote! :)

  7. Norma says

    I have been voting for you since the start. I made it to #2 and was so disappointed. I am so impressed by this post. Godd luck nd know you have my vote. Also, I finally signed up to follow you.

  8. Ruby says

    Beautiful! Great photos, especially the 'playdough balls' and the 'peek-a-boo down your blouse' teaser! ;-)

  9. Anonymous says

    This read like a mystery novel.

    I thought you had overlooked the colorings and read to the end not only for the adventure, but also to solve the mystery of what yon had used…I was on the edge of my seat half expecting the tragedy of artificial food colorings. Instead, you used ingredients that were both natural and delightful!

    I would have needed Miss Marple to unravioli this mystery on my own.

    Jim

  10. alice says

    i love all the natural vibrant colors, this post was incredibly creative and photography very sharp! -eataduckimust

  11. Daily Spud says

    Why oh why don't I have a pasta roller? I'm certainly going to need one because (a) I now want to make pretty ravioli like yours and (b) I do not have the otherwise requisite biceps of steel. It's off to the kitchen supplies shop I go, then…

  12. Shanti says

    My stand mixer has a pasta attachment. I've been trying to come up with a good reason to buy it. Thanks for giving me one!

  13. Chris Sauter says

    love the colors and the step by step. very clean and smooth! great job! -chris (picklesandcake.com)

  14. Danielle says

    Ha! Theses are gorgeous and so fun! I would have never thought of doing this! Good luck in round 4!

  15. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) says

    I love this, I've been meaning to make a colored pasta for a long time now! Love the pictures and tutorial. I only wish I could eat it now! : )

  16. Anonymous says

    Uh, that first picture may or may not look like a rainbow set of condoms..

    But other than that, I admire the fact that you use other foods to make it happen. Genius!

  17. Russell at Chasing Delicious says

    I love all the colors and the natural ways you make them! Such great photos too.

    Good luck!

  18. Pretty. Good. Food. says

    Those are so adorable! I love love love ravioli but have never tried to make my own.

  19. Carolyn Jung says

    The pink one is so eye-catching. I make my own spaghetti quite often with my KitchenAid attachment. But have yet to attempt raviolis, let alone ones with such beautiful hues. Thanks for the inspiration. ;)

  20. Fiona at Life on Nanchang Lu says

    LOVE the rainbow colour wheel at the end of the post. A creative spin on a classic. Voted! Again!

  21. Heavenly Housewife says

    I plan to get into pasta making, so I am bookmarking this post. Great info, and your raviolis are simply beautiful.
    Good luck in the PFB competition.
    *kisses* HH

  22. Cara says

    These are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing – I've always been a wimp about adding anything to color my pasta. I love the idea of the berries.

  23. We Are Not Martha says

    I've been dying to make my own ravioli for a while now… with an egg inside :) SO delicious. Your ravioli is absolutely beautiful!! And so perfect for a dinner party. Creative, fun, and delicious!

    Sues

  24. sophia says

    ohmigosh. SO damn pretty!!! This is so impressive…I knew there would be ppl tutoring ravioli, but you did it in a unique, interesting way. I love it. And I was screaming with shock when I found out I advanced, too!

  25. organic tables says

    This is fun to make. I like the different colors that you used for this one. I really should purchase a ravioli cutter.

  26. Lawyer Loves Lunch says

    So cool! I've been contemplating making my own pasta for a while! Now, I'll be contemplating making my own multi-colored pasta :)

  27. My McDonald Meal says

    I am in love with these pictures, instructions and ideas! You deserve to move to round 5!! Great job.

  28. Ashley says

    Gorgeous! They look amazing and sound delicious. So impressed w/the natural food dye!! Love it. Just voted!

  29. Heena @ Tiffin Tales says

    Homemade ravioli is great. Colorful homemade ravioli is awesome! You got my vote. Good luck!

  30. Jacob's Kitchen says

    What a great tutorial! Such a beautiful idea and makes for a nice presentation. Homemade ravioli are so amazing. I had never thought to make them multicolored. I will definitely be filing this away in my to make list. Thanks for sharing. I voted for you again!

    Good luck! Hope to see us both in round 5!!! =)

  31. Margaret Murphy Tripp says

    I've always wanted to make ravioli. Yours were gorgeous! Great post and photos…(VOTE!)

  32. The Cilantropist says

    WOW! I love these! You took these raviolis to the max, and the colors are totally beautiful, I never thought of coloring my pasta dough. Well done, definitely got my vote. :)

  33. stephchows says

    beautifully done! And wow so much work making all the different dough. I love making ravioli!!

  34. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says

    Great post, I like that you went all the way and flavored all the different pastas! Good Luck!
    -Gina-

  35. Isabelle says

    Thanks for all the sweet comments, everyone! I'm so proud of this tutorial, so I'm really psyched to see how much love it's getting from the PFB crew. You guys rock.

    F: I swear I didn't plan to colour coordinate my shirt to the pasta. Total coincidence. :) (It's extra funny because I don't actually wear pink all that often, so of all days to wear that shirt… sigh)

  36. Damaris says

    This is so incredibly lovely. I'm in love. My 4 year old would trip out. I'm totally linking to you and I just voted for you.

  37. Jean says

    Love, love this! I adore colored pastas and they were such a nice touch for this tutorial. You selected the correct pictures to illustrate the ravioli-making process and they look so good to eat! Well done!

  38. Brie: Le Grand Fromage says

    so pretty! fantastic job on your raviloi. i always appreciate homemade pasta – plus you used natural food to make the different colors. you have my vote – good luck!

  39. Megan says

    Awesome! This makes pasta making seem less daunting. Maybe it's the pretty colors. Now if only I had a roller…

  40. sara @ CaffeIna says

    Oh I love your post! It was informative and funny and you did put pictures that make sense! These colorful ravioli are super cute!

  41. tastesbetterwithfriends says

    You make it seem easy to do! that's the true success of a step-by-step post! well done:)

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