I love fresh ravioli. I love it so much, but it’s a love/hate relationship with it. Every time I make it, I’m reminded why I don’t do it very often, it’s time consuming, and by the time I get down to sealing the little suckers, I’m usually too drunk or too exasperated to care whether each one seals properly. That’s my problem with ravioli.
That’s what happened the night before I took these photos. My friend Mellisa came to visit, and we ended up getting pretty far into a couple bottles of wine, all the while trying to prepare the elaborate meal that I had so thoughtfully planned out for us. I finished the ravioli shortly before deciding (at around 10:30) that there was no way we’d finish preparing dinner in time and we’d better head to Wendy’s for some junior bacon cheeseburgers(thanks for being such a wonderful chauffeur Craig!). I awoke to find a sheet pan covered in overstuffed and partially sealed ravioli coated in dog hair haphazardly thrown into the freezer.. At some point I dropped them and instead of putting them in the garbage decided that it made sense to put them into the freezer anyway. Who knows.
After such a troubling discovery the following morning, I decided to try again. We used equal parts ricotta (ri-got if you’re a New Jersey Italian), cream cheese, crab, and 1/2 a part of grated asiago cheese for the filling. I made a couple eggs of pasta, got it kneaded to a mostly even consistency, then let it rest for about 20 minutes while I worked on another element of the dinner that got put on hold. After letting the pasta rest, I ran it through my machine to the #6 roller, which on my machine, is the thinnest it will go, translucent. I placed SMALL blobs of filling on one side of the dough, rubbed the exposed dough with a wet finger, and folded it over. It’s important to put less filling into your ravioli than you think you should, or else they’ll end up like corpses in the everglades, all split open with their guts spread out around them in the water. Aren’t you hungry?
After you fold the understuffed ravioli over, make a point of trying to squeeze every last bit of air out prior to squishing down around them. The way that I judge a ravioli-maker’s skill is by whether they have air in them. Not that I have lots of chances to judge people’s ravioli-making skills, but you know, on the internet. Once your air is out, go ahead and cut them with your ravioli cutter. What, you don’t have one? How do you make your raviolis the right size? Anyway, after you’ve sealed them, and cut them, seal them again by squishing the two halves together with your fingers.
Cooking them is a cinch, bring a big pot of water to a boil, salt the heck out of it, and carefully slip a few at a time in. Give them a few seconds, when they start floating to the top, they’re done. Pull them out with a slotted spoon or something sufficiently unspikey so they don’t become perforated and end up like corpses. I put mine on a plate with a small pool of Diane’s Pomodoro sauce because a) I had just made some, b) it’s delicious, and c) Craig will actually eat it. The cream cheese was just what these ravioli needed. It made them so creamy and smooth and wonderful, and contrasted nicely with the acidity of the tomato sauce. The crab wasn’t really a forward flavor and next time I’d probably omit it entirely, no point in going to the added expense.