I got the pasta roller KitchenAid attachment for my birthday in November. The first batch I made was adequate, but I didn’t use a very good recipe and it was only mediocre. This time was a drastic improvement! I just got a book on making artisan pasta, and the recipe for roasted red pepper pasta dough immediately stood out. I never would’ve thought of it, but it’s a stroke of genius!
The roasted red pepper doesn’t have a super strong flavor, but the color is gorgeous. Because the pepper flavor is subtle, the book suggests not covering it up with an oppressive canned tomato sauce or heavy cream sauce. I whipped up a quick “sauce” of herbs, garlic, and olive oil, which is super flavorful but light enough to allow the pasta and filling to shine through. Speaking of filling: a ricotta and mozzarella mixture makes these ravioli plump, cheesy, and delicious (Ok, so it’s not health food. You’ll live.). Are you ready? Let’s do this thing.
First, you need roasted red peppers, 6 ounces. You can roast your own, but honestly, when I’m putting an hour and a half into making scratch pasta, I’ll splurge for jarred roasted red peppers. Drain them well and pat them dry with a paper towel—you don’t want a whole lot of excess liquid or your pasta will be too sticky.
Puree your pepper in a blender or small food processor (I tried doing this in my large food processor first and it just wasn’t pureeing smoothly, so I switched to my immersion blender). Stir in 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika.
In a mixing bowl or on a board, combine your flours (6 oz. all-purpose and 6 oz. semolina) and create a well in the middle. Add your pepper puree and your eggs. See the recipe below for a description of how to mix and knead your dough.
Once you have a nice, cohesive ball of dough, cover it with a damp towel and let it sit for about half an hour. This is a good time to make your filling and sauce.
For the filling, combine 8 ounces of part-skim mozzarella cheese, 8 ounces of lowfat ricotta, a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh basil, and an egg. Mix well for cheesy goodness. Not my lightest recipe ever, but oh so delicious.
For your herb sauce, toss about (this is really approximate; it’s not a scientific formula!) half a bunch of scallions (root ends cut off), 3 cloves of garlic, a few leaves of basil, half a bunch of parsley, and some salt and pepper in the food processor. While processing, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of olive oil.
Gorgeous photo, I know.
Now, back to the pasta. Form your pasta into a basic log shape. Cut it into 8 equal-ish slices.
Roll out one piece at a time into sheets (just follow the directions for your particular pasta roller; you can also do this by hand, though it’ll take a lot more patience—here’s a video that might help you).
Once you have a nice, smooth, solid sheet, set it down on a work surface dusted with semolina flour. I used to think that you should put a very, very small amount of filling in ravioli, but this book actually says the opposite! You want to make sure your ravioli are as full as possible. I used a cookie scoop to get an equal amount in each ravioli.
Scoop out fillings on half of your pasta sheet, leaving about an inch and a half between scoops. Whisk a beaten egg and brush a little around the outside of each scoop. Then, fold the sheet over and press down around each ravioli, sealing it. Make sure to get as much of the air out as possible, so press very close to your filling.
I got this cute little ravioli stamp for a couple bucks, but you can also cut them with a round cookie cutter or just slice ‘em with a knife.
Beautiful! Place your cut ravioli on another surface dusted with semolina flour (I use a baking sheet covered in parchment and dusted with flour). Cover them with a damp paper towel while you work so they don’t dry out.
Dunk these babies in a big pot of boiling water for just a couple minutes until they float and they’re done! You can also place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer until they’re hardened. Then, throw them in a freezer bag and you can store them for ages.
Top with your herb sauce, or just toss the ravioli in it.
Pasta-making, to me, is one of those things that is so worth the effort if you love to cook. It’s not difficult—just time-consuming, but the outcome is totally one of those, “Did I seriously make that?” moments. And it gets faster and easier every time you do it. So give it a whirl!
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Dough
Abridged and lightly adapted from Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green
Serves 5 to 6
6 ounces roasted red peppers
1 Tablespoon sweet red paprika
6 ounces all purpose flour
6 ounces semolina flour*
2 large eggs, at room temperature
*You can also use durum flour or a mix of the two. Alternately, you can use all all-purpose, or some brands make a pasta flour mix.
- Drain the peppers well and pat dry with a paper towel, rubbing off any stray seeds and bits of skin at the same time. (These tend to make holes in the dough when it’s rolled.) Puree the peppers in a blender or food processor, then mix in your paprika.
- Pour the flour into a large bowl or onto a work surface, preferably wooden, and shape it into a “volcano.” Add the eggs and red pepper puree into the crater.
- Use a large table fork to begin incorporating the flour, starting with the inner rim and working in the flour from the bottom up. Spin the bowl counterclockwise if you’re right-handed (clockwise if you’re left-handed) while working in the flour with the fork.
- Start kneading the dough once the pasta forms large clumps. When all the loose flour has been incorporated and the dough has formed a rough but cohesive mass, about four minutes, transfer it to the board to finish kneading. (If loose flour remains and resists incorporation into the dough, add 2 to 3 tablespoons water, toss with the loose flour, and incorporate into the dough mass.) Scrape up and discard any leftover hard bits of dough.
- Dust the board lightly with flour and begin kneading the dough. Use the palms of your hands to knead, pressing down and away from your body, forming the dough into a flattened oval. Fold the top edge over the dough and form it back into a ball. Rotate the dough ball a quarter turn (to the right if you’re right-handed and to the left if you’re left-handed) and repeat until the dough is cohesive and moderately smooth, about 5 minutes. The dough should stick lightly to your fingers but pull away cleanly.
- Cover the dough with a bowl or a damp cloth, or wrap in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
To make the ravioli
1/2 recipe roasted red pepper pasta dough
1 recipe cheese ravioli filling
1 recipe herb sauce
- Divide dough into 8 equal slices.
- Roll each slice out with a pasta roller (follow your manufacturer’s instructions) or by hand into a smooth sheet. Place sheets on a work surface dusted with semolina flour. Drop scoopfuls of filling onto half of each sheet of pasta, leaving about 1.5″ in between scoops.
- In a small bowl, whisk an egg. Using your finger or a pastry brush, dab a light layer of beaten egg close around each scoop of filling.
- Fold over the empty half of the pasta sheet and press down around each scoop of filling, taking care to press out any air bubbles and seal well. Using a ravioli stamp, cookie cutter, or knife, cut out each ravioli, leaving the seal in tact. If any tears or holes appear, simply patch with extra dough. Place each cut ravioli on a surface lined with semolina flour, and cover the completed ravioli with a damp paper towel while working.
- Place ravioli in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes or until they float at the surface. Toss with herb sauce and serve.
Cheese Ravioli Filling
Serves 4 to 6
NOTE: I didn’t do a full batch of ravioli, so this only filled about half of the dough in the recipe above—but it depends on how much filling you use for each ravioli. This is easily doubled.
8 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz. lowfat ricotta cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
1/2 bunch scallions
8 – 10 basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine parsley, scallions, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor. While processing, drizzle olive oil in through food chute.
*This is very approximate given the nature of the recipes, and is based on my amount outcomes. Yours may vary.