So a few months back I decided it was time to buy a pasta roller. I can’t tell you how long I stood analyzing the two options I had… the Kitchenaid Attachment one: the single roller was $100, and the multi attachment was like $150, or the second option was the manual one that you latch onto your table or kitchen countertop.
Given my financial situation…the $30 handroller won. They also sell some ‘elite’ crank brands from $60 and up. I convinced myself before I had even left the store, that this ‘crank’ version was going to keep me ‘in touch’ with my dough, making me learn the hard way before immediately taking the easy Kitchenaid route. (and that I had an extra $75 bucks in my pocket didn’t hurt either). All in all, I AM glad that I bought this one first… you really do have to work with your dough and get a feel for the machine. Making the gluten break down and really feel the dough change and manipulating it is definitely an art: one that I’m trying to be very skilled at. I do think if you throw down in the kitchen… that knowing the basics first is definitely important. Building blocks.
OK…SO- I’ve made noodles before…some worked, and some did not. At this point I think the lasagna noodles were by far the best, but I’m sure future posts of my practice will go over that on another day. So I still had/have some of that zucchini I used for the chocolate zucchini muffins, and I thought ‘huh, I wonder if that would be good in pasta?’ So that was what drove this particular quest. Ravioli not only looks cool (or cute…) but it’s also stuffed with a base of ricotta and usually other additive. So I shaved finely some zucchini and mixed it up with a little ricotta. Tasted it…not awesome…but not unpleasant. Normally I would have stopped right there but I wanted to see it thru to the end. Got my pasta sheets all rolled out, and watched a few videos and read a few tips on the assembly of the rav. Seemed basic enough. One sheet: tsp dollops of goop, second pasta sheet, pasta/pastry cutter out the pieces. Well it definitely worked…and none of them were in uniform shapes (I blame this on my first time thru) but hey, I was the only one in the kitchen…so who’s lookin? (no one!)
Normally at this point I would start pulling and sheeting out the rest of the dough- but since the taste definitely had a uniqueness to it…I wanted to taste test it before rolling out the entire pound of dough…or then I’d really be left with a unedible and questionable mess (and waste of time). I started to boil some water in one pan, and threw some butter and a few herbs in another. (next time I would have used half butter, half oil) I wanted to keep the ‘sauce’ just naked and simple to make sure I could actually taste the pasta…not a sauce. As I’m getting ready to throw the ravs into the water… I realized that they were coming apart. I was so mad. Quick failure. What happened was the zucchini is a lot like cucumber…it can be watery…and I had shredded it and immediately mixed it with ricotta. I should have really squeezed it dry or let it sit out for awhile. So I fixed about 8 out of 14 of them as best as I could and boiled those quick, and then threw them into the butter to coat. I took a couple and tried them… again, not bad, but definitely a strange flavor profile. I gave a few to Shawn to try, and thank goodness that poor boy was drowning himself in mix that had to be completed in a few hours, because he was kind of out of it. He agreed with me on the strange flavor and disappeared back into his office again: bless his heart he’s pretty honest about what I make good or questionable…as far as I can tell so far. I have to start making sure he’s really distracted or busy when trying things I make that flop… God forbid he thinks I start sucking soon. 🙂 I’ve fooled him this long into thinking I’m a decent cook, when really it’s mostly luck!
Back on track….so anyways, the ravs were alright, but definitely glad I only made a handful. I cranked out the rest of the dough and just made plain ricotta filled ravs… much better choice. By the last round or so I was finally catching a knack for it…and they were becoming more uniform, and just looked better in general. I think the next go I’ll try to lay down parchment paper first to retrieve them off the counter easier AND seal up three sides, let some air out before sealing the forth. Too much air in there…when you pick them up usually a corner pops open and then I had to reseal it. I also like putting them into the freezer to hard up for a bit before boiling. I think they just boil better (my opinion–and less burst open midboil)
Served the little cheese filled devils with a real simple red sauce- worked out well…but definitely excited to try again and iron out some of the kinks.
**Key Note: Dont’ use store bought ricotta…I did cause i was in a hurry…didn’t taste half as good as it could have.