The page contains a complete, free copy of the Ravioli Cookbook, “Let’s Make Ravioli Together”
by Gary C Granai
© 2017 Gary C. Granai
All rights reserved
How To Use This Book
This book is published in three formats.
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Ravioli is a friendly food. It’s a fun food. It’s a people food.
Ravioli is one of those foods that is great to have around. It’s never boring. You can cook it so many ways. You can fill it with so many different fillings.
There is nothing like having fresh handmade ravioli on hand. And then when you have a good supply in the freezer you always have ready an easy and great last-minute meal and a “I don’t feel like cooking tonight” treat for the family.
Ravioli is popular all over the world. As you travel the world you find that there are many kinds of ravioli and ravioli like foods. People everywhere just love their local fillings fit between two layers of pasta, boiled to their taste, and served in a myriad of ways.
And commercially made ravioli are available everywhere.
But handmade ravioli are still the preference of people who like the distinctive taste of homemade fillings made of known meats, spiced to taste, nicely sealed between the thin delectable layers of a well-made pasta.
Always remember that when you make your own, you are sure of what is hidden between the layers of pasta. Don’t feed your family mystery meat. Make your own!
Today we are going to make our favorite – old-fashioned, handmade Italian ravioli – and then some modern versions of it.
In this booklet, we will concentrate on making the ravioli. The fillings sauces, cooking methods and serving are a topics for other books. The first step is to make a quality delicacy that you can cook and serve many ways – boiled , toasted, deep fried, in casserole, breaded and baked.
Fillings range from the old time favorites of spinach and ricotta to fruit filled delicacies. And then, not often mentioned, leftover meat and vegetable combinations. In short, if you can fit it between two pieces of pasta, it is a filling.
The first recorded history of ravioli was in the 14th Century. At that time, and for centuries after, the peasant folk used what they had on hand for fillings. Game, vegetables, and cheeses – one of the mainstays available to them. And, of course, fruits of all kinds.
You can do the same today.
Get a free copy of our book on Homemade Ravioli Fillings at
One thing that makes homemade ravioli so popular is that they are very easy to make and wonderfully delicious.
The ancient, and still popular way to make them, is to hand roll the dough and cut out the ravioli with a knife. It has worked for centuries and still works today.
Modern kitchen tools work to your advantage. They help you make more uniform and better tasting ravioli by making it easy for you to produce uniformly thin pasta sheets.
Very thin, uniformly made, pasta sheets are what move handmade ravioli from food to a delicacy.
A couple handy kitchen tools can make life much easier.
The first tool, almost a necessity if you want to easily make great ravioli, is a ravioli form. Ravioli forms come in many shapes and sizes. You can see a few by clicking on Ravioli Makers.
The second tool a pasta machine. Such a machine makes it fast and easy to roll out uniformly thin though.
You can get them on Amazon.
You need very little to make ravioli.
Remember, ravioli is a food of the people. Many people do with very little. And so it is with what you need. Just flour and water to make the dough.
To make a finer dough – egg pasta – you need flour, eggs, and water.
To work the dough, you don’t need much either.
A rolling pin and a cutter. (A knife will do.) And a fork to seal the edges. (Fingers will do.),
Or a rolling pin and a ravioli stamp,
Or a rolling pin and a ravioli form
You don’t need a pasta machine.
Making ravioli can be time consuming and difficult if you do not use the right equipment. And that starts with the rolling pin.
Use a large rolling pin. A typical kitchen rolling pin with little handles can be used. But …. .
Here is a picture of the rolling pin that I use. Now that’s a rolling pin! It is 1 7/8 inches in diameter and 21 inches long.
If you do not roll your dough to the point where you can see your hand through it, the resulting product will be tasteless and chewy.
To do that without a lot of drudgery, you need either a large rolling pin or a pasta machine.
Filled pastas are generally pulled or rolled very thin. Optimally you should be able to see your hand below the sheet of dough.
That is most easily achieved if you use an egg pasta dough. The egg adds elasticity to the dough so it is easier to work.
Pasta made with just flour and water, common in Southern Italy, will not pull or roll as thin.
The pasta that we will use is known as fresh egg pasta. It is a specialty of Northern Italy.
This pasta differs from most of the pasta that’s used in Southern Italy. Pastas made in Southern Italy are often only flour and water.
The egg is the differentiating and important ingredient. The egg causes the pasta dough to be firm and elastic. Being elastic it can be rolled out or stretched and easily shaped. You can make many different shapes.
It is not necessary to add salt to your pasta mixture. Even so, some people add a small amount.
Remember that pasta should be cooked in salted water to which also some olive oil has been added. The salt will flavor the pasta. The olive oil will prevent it from sticking together.
When making egg pasta, a refined flour yields the best results.
In general, use a pastry or all-purpose flour (US designation). Or Italian 0 or 00.
Flours are designated differently country to country. The charts below are provided to give you an understanding of what the various designations are.
Whole wheat flours and flours with high contents of bran do not make for a smooth dough. A dough made with these flours will difficult to work because it will not be smooth and elastic.
Some people, however, add dark flours such as spelt and rye to their pasta dough and get acceptable results. (Experiment with your own mixes.)
|The whole of the grain, 75% flour & 25% bran||100% Wholemeal||1600 – 700||Type 150||Intergrale|
|About 8% of the bran removed||Brown||1050||110||2|
|About 18% of the bran removed||Light Brown||997||80||1|
|All the bran, 25%, removed||White||500 – 700||55||0|
|The finest flour from the early stage of the milling process||Patent White||405||45||00|
|~ 0.4%||~ 9%||pastry flour||405||45||00||zeeuwse bloem|
|~ 0.55%||~ 11%||all-purpose flour||550||55||0||patentbloem|
|~ 0.8%||~ 14%||high gluten flour||812||80||1||tarwebloem|
|~ 1%||~ 15%||first clear flour||1050||110||2||gebuilde bloem|
|> 1.5%||~ 13%||whole wheat flour||1700||160||Farina integrale||volkorenmeel|
A stiff dough is easier to work. But a beginner will find it easier to start with a soft dough. With experience, you can increase the stiffness to what makes you comfortable.
Traditionally people are instructed to make their pasta by hand on a wooden tabletop.
You are more than welcome to do that.
But you’re also welcome to use your food processor or mixer.
1 ½ cups of flour, 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of oil
No salt. Salt makes the pasta tough.
If you want salt, add it to the water you use for boiling or the bread crumb coating for toasted ravioli.
If you want a soft dough for rolling, cut back on the flour or add a little water. I add water. The amount varies with the batch of flour that you are using. So it is a guess. Add a little and add more if necessary.
Purists will argue that you have to mix the dough by hand on a rough wood surface. They believe that the heat from your hand makes the dough better. A rough wood surface is required because you cannot knead that well on a smooth surface.
I have not be able to detect any difference between machine and hand mixed doughs.
Before we start here are some tips.
Stir the egg with a fork before you add it to the flour.
Mix the flour and egg in a bowl and then hand knead it rather than mixing the flour and egg directly on the board.
Don’t use salt because salt damages the fats in the egg and flour.
Olive oil gives the dough a finished elasticity.
To avoid the dough drying, don’t knead it in a draft.
The dough should be kneaded vigorously for about 10 minutes.
Some purists advocate occasional banging the dough on the board.
It’s easiest to use a plastic bag to hold the dough when you let it rest for the required hour in the refrigerator. A plastic container also works well.
The egg and flour should be at room temperature.
Sifting the flour helps avoid lumps when you start the mixing process.
Knead the dough until it is even and smooth. If it looks uneven or hard, continue kneading.
Mixing by hand is a lot of hard work. After the egg and flour combine, don’t be afraid to pop the dough in your mixer or food processor to finish the job.
A drier (“harder”) dough is best for a pasta machine. A softer dough is best for rolling and stretching.
A dough rolled out in a pasta machine will be more smooth and compact than one hand rolled. It will be smoother on the palate but will not hold sauce as well.
It is easier to roll the dough thinner with a pasta machine.
Every batch of flour, even though designated, for example, 0 or pastry flour, will be made from different batches of wheat and will have different ash/bran contents, etc.
Every egg will have a different weight and the yolks and whites will vary in weight and chemical makeup.
Every olive oil will be different.
So every dough you make will be different because your ingredients will have varying compositions.
These factors will have more effect on the end result than room temperature, whether the room is drafty or not, or whether you mix by hand (to add hand heat) or by a mixer.
And using a pasta machine to roll the dough will probably have the most effect of all.
A ravioli form with a bottomless cavity is best.
That is because you will never add the exact amount of filling to every ravioli. A ravioli form with a bottomless cavity will compensate for the differences by allowing the dough to stretch.
If the form has a bottom, any overfill, even a miniscule amount, will be forced into the sealing area. And when that happens, the ravioli will open and spill the filling when you boil it.
Here is a link to a page that compares open and closed cavity forms. It shows the differences graphically. It is well worth the time to visit.
A form with bottomless cavities is shown above. You can get that here. http://polandsbest.com/best-ravioli-maker/
With the above in mind, this is the procedure that you should use to make the dough as a purist would.
Pile the flour on your work surface and make a depression in the middle. The result should look like a volcano with an empty crater.
Pour the stirred eggs into the crater.
Mix from the center out until you get a paste in the center.
Finish combining by hand.
Then knead the dough for a minimum of 10 minutes and at least as long as it takes for the dough to be smooth and elastic.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
Watch a video of this process here.
Making ravioli can be time in time-consuming and difficult if you do not approach it properly.
And making the dough is nothing short of a lot of work. We recommend that you use a mixer.
Use a mixer with a bread hook.
Add the flour to the mixing bowl. Make a small depression in the center of the flour. Add the liquid ingredients.
As you mix, check how moist the dough is. If it is dry, add a little bit of water. No more than a tablespoon at a time. Mix and check again.
If it’s too soft or wet, add some flour.
Run mixer until the gluten develops and the dough becomes smooth and elastic. You can find a video showing the process at http://polandsbest.com/make-egg-pasta/
Comments On Rolling Ravioli Dough
Rolling the dough can also be a difficult task. A pasta dough can be stiff. You have to roll this dough so that you can see your hand through it.
If you are going to use a rolling pin use a large rolling pin.
If you do not roll your dough thin to the point where you can see your hand through it, the resulting product will be tasteless and chewy.
Lightly flour a board and place on it the dough that has been in the refrigerator for more than 1 hour.
Use your hands to press it into a flat circle.
Pick it off the board and lightly flour again so that the dough does not stick when you roll it.
Roll from the center out.
Turn the dough a bit on the board and roll it from the center out.
Continue this roll and turn process until the dough is maybe ¾ mm thick. You should be able to see your hand through it.
During the process, if you get any sense that the dough is sticking to either the board or the rolling pin, lightly flour the offending surface.
You can see a video of this being done at Rolling Ravioli Dough
A pasta machine will 1) give you uniform results, 2) is an easier way to finish the dough than finishing it by hand, and 3) is faster.
My best advice is to follow the instructions provided by the machine supplier. Just remember that you will need a harder (stiffer) dough than the one you need to use a rolling pin.
And you will get long narrow rolls of dough.
The ravioli that will taste best are those that are made with a thin (semi-transparent) egg dough and that are uniform in size and shape.
So we start with the old fashioned, simple way to make traditional ravioli – with a rolling pin and cutter of some form.
In fact, you do not even need a pastry wheel. A knife or pizza cutter is fine.
Roll the dough. You need two sheets. One will be the base and the second will the cover.
They should be about the same size. Some people cut them to size and use the remaining cuttings for fettuccini.
Brush them off so that there is little or no flour on the upper surfaces. The surfaces on the cutting board can continue to be lightly floured.
Place the filling on one sheet of dough. (About 1 tablespoon of filling evenly spaced about 2 inches apart.) Be careful to have it lined up so that you can cut squares.
Now brush some egg wash between the pieces of filling. The wash (a stirred egg) will ensure a good bond between the lower sheet of dough and the upper sheet.
Cover it with a second sheet. Be sure the down side is brushed and as free of flour as possible.
Press the area between the mounds of filling to make a seal.
Run a knife, pastry wheel or pizza cutter between the mounds to cut out the individual ravioli.
Watch a video of the process here.
A ravioli stamp is a very practical tool that helps you make uniform ravioli.
Once again you proceed as you would to make the ravioli with just a rolling pin.
Seal the two sheets with egg wash and make the seal by hand.
Cut and separate the ravioli using the stamp.
There is a video and instructions at this link.
Forms designed to make ravioli are also called ravioli makers.
They are extremely useful.
If you going to roll your ravioli dough by hand, use either a round or square ravioli form. That is because when you roll out ravioli dough by hand to get the proper thickness you generally end up with a circular piece of dough. The rounded square ravioli forms are designed for such rolled out dough.
If you roll your dough using a pasta machine, the rollout will be long and narrow. It is best for you to use an oblong form.
In any case, flour the top of the form.
Lay the dough over the form.
Add your filling.
Cover the dough with another sheet.
Roll and seal.
Turn the form over and drop out the ravioli.
The finished ravioli just as they dropped out of the form above.
Watch a video of the process here.
When all is said and done, the absolute musts for good ravioli are:
Use egg pasta.
Roll the dough very thin. Thin enough for you to see your hand through it.
Keep the filling out of the sealing area.
Those are three very simple rules. You can read many other tips hints and guidance, but these are the three things that you must absolutely do to have a tasty ravioli that does not burst when you boil it.
Ravioli forms and pasta machines definitely make it easier to make ravioli. And using them, you can be sure to make a better ravioli, even if you don’t make them very often and are not a practiced hand at the art.
If you are going to use a form, something that is much less expensive than a pasta machine, use one with an open bottom to avoid the filling getting into the sealing area.
Consider the ravioli combo that you find at this link. It is a good choice whether you are beginner or an expert.
We would love to hear from you. Please tell us what you think of this booklet. If you have anything that you think we should add, send that along. And if there’s anything that you think we should do to make it better, please let us know.
We hope this has been helpful and we hope that your ravioli venture will be successful.
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