Monday, January 09, 2012
2 c. Whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. All purpose flour
3-5 Tbsp Water
1.5-2 lbs Ground beef
1 bulb Garlic, roasted
3 c. Spinach, fresh
1 Large onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. Rolled oats
4-5 Tbsp Parmesan, freshly grated
To roast the garlic, cut off the top of the bulb and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 350°F for 45 min.
While the garlic is roasting, cook the ground beef and onion on a frying pan and drain the excess fat and liquid. Set aside.
Cook the spinach until just wilted. Add to the ground beef mixture.
Combine the ground beef, roasted garlic, spinach, ground beef mixture, oats, Parmesan and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend it in a food processor until well mixed. This can be made ahead of time, store in the fridge for 3-4 days or freezer for several weeks.
To make the pasta, add the two types of flour, eggs and 1 tbsp of water into the stand mixer mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment, stir for 1 min or until all the ingredient start to come together. Change to the dough hook and knead for 2 min. If the dough looks crumbly, add more water, one tablespoon at a time. The final dough should look like 2-3 large clumps. [Note: You don't need a mixer for this, you can prepare the dough by hand, which is what we did before we got our fancy-schmancy machine.]
Take the dough and knead on a flat surface for 1 min. Return to the mixing bowl, cover with a towel and let stand for 15 min.
To make the pasta, follow the instruction on your pasta maker. We divided our dough into 4-5 portions and passed each portion through the pasta maker 3-5 times, decreasing the thickness of the pasta with each pass. The final setting we used for our flat noodle was 5; we found 7 too thin to handle.
Place the flat pasta noodle on a lightly floured surface. Using a pizza cutter, trim the flat pasta into long rectangles. Place filling (about 1 tsp) along the top side of the pasta, spacing them 2 cm apart. Fold the bottom edge up and gently press down on the seams to hold the pasta in place. Then using a fork, press long the seams to seal the edges of the pasta. Then slice the pasta into individual raviolis using the pizza cutter again and seal the remaining edges of the raviolis with the fork.
Cook the pasta for 3-5 min, or until they float to the surface. Serve with your favourite pasta sauce.
(The ravioli can be frozen in single layers in an air-tight plastic container for several months.)
Happy New Year!!
From 2011's Toasted Coconut and M&M Oatmeal Cookie, we rolled into the new year with some healthy, homemade ravioli!! We received a pasta machine a few years ago for Christmas but haven't used it much, mainly because we didn't have the counter space in our old kitchen to do it. Hubby had an itch to use the pasta machine over the holidays so we decided to make something we've never done before. Ravioli is just the Italian's version of dumpling and we made Chinese dumplings many times in the past; how hard could it be?
Well, the ravioli was a lot of work but it wasn't hard. The pasta machine made the whole process easier: the pasta noodles came out perfectly every time and they were easy to manipulate. We prepared one batch of noodles using 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 whole wheat flour and a second batch of noodles using only all-purpose flour. I personally prefers the noodles using only all-purpose flour because I don't like the texture of whole wheat. But I don't really like anything whole wheat; I only eat it in an attempt to make our diet healthier. So don't take my personal preference as a reference of how tasty the whole wheat noodles are. The other thing I find with our homemade pasta, whether it's flat noodles, spaghetti or fettuccine style, is that the pasta is very heavy, very filling. We tried to make our flat noodles thinner to reduce the heaviness of the final dish, but we were not successful because the the thinner noodles were harder to work with and they break easier during the ravioli making process.
We prepared two different fillings: one meat and one vegetarian. The beef and spinach was Hubby's idea and they were delicious when served with a regular pasta sauce. With the aid of a food processor, the meat filling came together really nicely. These ravioli are perfect for lunch at work because they re-heat very well in the microwave and they keep you filled up for a long time, so that you are not scrounging for a snack 2 hours later.
The vegetarian version only had 4 ingredients: butternut squash, garlic, cinnamon and olive oil. I roasted both in the oven and then simply mashed them together. I will have to post this recipe later because although the ravioli tasted great, it didn't go well with the tomato-based spaghetti sauce. I am thinking a light cream sauce or even a pesto might go well with it. However, that's an experiment for another time.
One of the best thing about these ravioli is that, just like the Chinese dumplings, we can store them in the freezer for the rainy days when we need a quick, last minute meal idea. They are fantastic to have for the kids too since it only takes 20-30 min to prepare a ravioli meal. The ravioli is super healthy and so tasty that the kids can't really complain. :)