I should have known it would come to this. I know the type of personality that I have, so I should have known. I should have realized that I can’t do something half-assed – not if I feel really passionate about it. A simple blog for myself, a few friends, and my family; a way to keep track of favourite recipes – the digital version of what my mother did years ago, with her colour-coded binders being distributed to her nearest and dearest. I should have known that wouldn’t be the case, that I’d get hooked – addicted! – and perfectionist the hell out of it. I guess that I was naively unaware. Had I known how quickly I’d turn a little hobby into an obsession, I may not have started in the first place, and that would be a shame.
Okay, maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I am by no means a perfectionist when it comes to this blog, otherwise nothing would ever get published. I am, however, pushing the envelope at a much faster rate that I ever imagined I would. A prime example of that is the fact that I am now the proud owner of my very own pasta maker. Not only that, but I’ve used it to make fresh pasta three times already…and I only bought the machine on Saturday! Not satisfied to just make regular homemade pasta, though, I took it a step even further and ended up stuffing it, too!
I say that with exclamations mostly because I never really knew that was even a thing you could do. Obviously stuffed pasta was known to me, but I never really considered that some might choose to make it themselves. Ever pushing myself, and hoping to surprise those who think they know me best, I jumped on this idea the second it dawned on me as a possibility. If others could stuff pasta, then so could I! Not only that, but I could fill it with whatever the heck I wanted!
Obviously, I chose Italian sausage. Searching online, a very familiar name came up amid my “homemade Italian sausage ravioli” queries: Lidia Bastianich. mother to Joe Bastianich (of Masterchef fame). Lidia is well-known in her own right as a chef and restaurateur, and so it was a no-brainer to use her recipe as my inspiration.
I tweaked a few items (intentionally and otherwise), but stayed true to the main idea. Being absolutely horrid at the filling and shaping aspects of this dish (and using more sausage meat than Mrs. Bastianich due to packaging constraints) I cannot definitively tell you how much dough to make. I probably under-filled three quarters of my ravioli and wasted more dough than necessary, so take the measurements for my dough’s ingredients with a grain of salt (coincidentally, don’t add salt to the dough as I first attempted, as it dried it out and rendered it unusable).
Homemade Italian Sausage Ravioli a la Bastianich
For the Dough:
- 400g Type “00” flour
- 4 large eggs, preferably free range
For the filling:
- 500g Italian Sausage (I used a spicy version)
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- 1/4 cup shaved parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 medium-sized sweet onion
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
for the Sauce:
- 28 oz. canned San Marzano tomatoes with basil (D.O.P.)
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the olive oil to a saucepan and place on medium-high heat. Finely chop the carrots, celery and onion, and toss into the saucepan once the oil is hot. Cook for about 4 minutes, until soft, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the sausages from their casings, placing them in a bowl. Add the white wine to the bowl, and mix the two, breaking apart the sausages as you go.
- Once the vegetables are softened, add the wine and the sausage meat to the saucepan. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring and further crumbling the sausages as you go. I recommend “stirring” with a potato masher, pulverizing the filling to make it easier to work with later.
- Remove the filling mixture and let cool while making the pasta
- To make the pasta, mix the flour and eggs in a large bowl, and mix until well-incorporated. Take the dough in your hands, and knead until a smooth consistency is reached (about 10 minutes). Roll out the dough using a pasta maker (work with only a quarter of the dough at a time, leaving the leftovers covered with a damp cloth) until it’s as wide as the machine will allow, and at the second-narrowest setting.
- Once your dough is rolled out, quickly mix the remaining filling ingredients in with the meat and vegetables (the ricotta and parmesan).
- From here, perform a web search for proper instructions on ravioli making, as I still am not quite sure myself how to best do this step and I don’t want to lead you astray…*
- Repeat the rolling and filling process until all the ravioli are made and resting on dish towels, then start on the sauce.
- In a medium saucepan, add the canned tomatoes and garlic together, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes (just while waiting for your ravioli to be finished). Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Throw a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Place the ravioli in one at a time, and boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to remove excess water.
- Toss a few ravioli on a plate or in a bowl, generously cover in tomato sauce, top with some shaved parmesan, and then marvel at your creation before you (and enjoy)!
Serves Approximately 4.
*Note – If extra filling remains, it can be stored in the fridge and reused with fresh dough the next day (dough ratio of 100g flour:1 large egg)
As you can tell from the captions, I made this dish two nights in a row (being highly unsuccessful the first night as far as the dough was concerned). Adding in a pinch of salt and some time in the fridge (both okay things to do when done correctly) lead to horribly dry, unusable dough that was thrown out and restarted. Tonight, however, was a much more satisfying experience. Not only was the leftover filling all ready to go (and the sauce simply in need of a reheat), but everything to do with the dough went smoothly as well. The finished product, though not perfectly shaped (I’m still working on that part), tasted simple yet delicious. If anything, I trust that had I made it for Mr. Joe Bastianich himself (as a Masterchef contestant, of course), he would have applauded my effort at honouring his mother’s dish.
Speaking of mothers, I want to publicly thank my mother-in-law for the very necessary items she sent my way recently. The moment she saw that I was making my own pasta, she purchased the two lovely pasta-cutting tools pictured in this post, and made sure they got all the way to Canada from England. I never knew I could be so excited about such odd-looking devices, but I totally was the second they arrived. Thanks, Gabi!
Anyways, happy cooking!
As it’s the end of another workweek, I’m happy to be sharing this over at Fiesta Friday with Angie, her cohosts Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport and Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking, and everyone else sharing in the experience.