Editor’s Note: My friend Susanne Jensen is a natural foods chef who’s had a long and varied career, including having been both a student and teacher at the Kushi Institute in Massachusetts. Currently, she teaches cooking at Willard Middle School in Berkeley. She’s the one responsible for the delicious ravioli we enjoyed at my open house last week. In this guest post, she shares her insights into making ravioli– her recipes and step-by-step photos are after the jump.
Making ravioli is something fairly new to me. It started a few years ago, when I had to find a fun and creative bean recipe for my middle school students. We had done bean soups, bean chili, bean burgers and beans for burritos, but needed a new recipe. I came upon White Bean Ravioli in Peter Berley’s book Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. I purchased a few pasta makers and off we went on a bean ravioli adventure. The students made dough, bean filling, rolled out the dough, stuffed the dough with filling, cut and cooked. At the end we all sat down to a feast of bean ravioli. Even the most reluctant bean eater enjoyed these raviolis. At home I have now expanded the repertoire to squash ravioli, cheese ravioli (for my daughter, who loves cheese) and the newest: fish ravioli, which was invented this week inspired by a piece of left over fish and some left over squash. There are really no limitations, other than the imagination, to the varieties of ravioli one can make. Bon Appetit!
In the recipe for Gary’s New Years open house, I used butternut, carnival and red kuri squash. Any variety or mixtures of squash can be used for this recipe. I prefer the sweeter kinds. I cut the squash in half, removed the seeds and roasted the squash on a baking sheet, open side facing down, for about 35-40 minutes at 400˚F. Once the squash was soft, I scooped it out of the skin and blended it in a food processor.
(Makes 20-24 raviolis)
For the filling:
2 cups squash purée
4 halves sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, finely chopped (save oil)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Generous amount of black pepper
Zest from ½ a lemon
•In a medium size bowl mix together all ingredients.
For the dough:
¾ cup unbleached white bread flour
¼ cup semolina flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large egg (optional, add ¼- 1/3 cup more water to get the right consistency)
¼- ½ cup warm water
•In a large bowl, stir together unbleached white flour, semolina flour and salt.
•Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the egg and water.
•Beat liquids lightly with a fork to break up egg.
•Using a wooden spoon, slowly incorporate the liquid into the flour. Use a hand to knead the dough, it will seem more stiff than bread dough, knead until all the flour has been in incorporated into dough.
•Place the dough on a table or cutting board. Spoon rounded teaspoons of the filling every 1 ½ inches lengthwise along one half of the dough, leaving a ½ inch boarder. With a damp pastry brush, moisten the area around mounds of filling. Fold the other half of the dough to meet the edge and gently press around each mound of filling to seal.
•Cut the ravioli into squares with the filling in the center of each piece. Set aside on a clean towel to dry. Do not let them touch or they will stick together.
•To cook, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil, add a table spoon of salt and add raviolis, cook 6-10 at a time, cook for 3-5 minutes or until floating. Gently remove from water with a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer.
•Add sauce and serve.