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I can call this dish my “forte”; it is one of my favorites and always makes an awesome impression when I serve it to my guests.
Making fresh pasta doesn’t requires exceptional abilities, you only have to get used to it. The first time it will take you maybe 1 hour to make, the second time 45 minutes and so on.
Making stuffed pasta such as Ravioli, certainly requires some time. But it will be all worth it!
All the ingredients in this dish are well balanced: the aromatic smoked salmon with the ricotta, the tangy lemon with the cream and a sprinkle of chives and pink pepper everywhere.
The final result is so delicate yet so tasty. It’s a show stopper.
To make fresh pasta you don’t need to spend a lot of money in pricey machinery. All you need is a working space (a large cutting board or a table made of wood or marble) and a rolling pin. Of course if you wish to invest in the craft, you can buy a pasta machine (it will certainly save you a lot of time) and the pasta sheets will be of even thickness.
I have a beautiful classic Imperia pasta machine at home in Italy so I always refrained from buying a new one here in the Netherlands. But since it’s way too heavy to bring in my handluggage, after 3 years I decided it was time to get a new one (worst case scenario I’ll have 2 at some point which is not so bad). I first went for a cheap one in a local store thinking they would be all the same, but I brought it back the same day because the metal was dangerously sharp and the handle didn’t rotate very well. So I bought another Imperia pasta machine and it is as perfect as I remembered. You can buy one too on Amazon (affiliate link):
To cut the famous ravioli shape you can buy a ravioli cutter or you can use just use a wine glass to cut round ravioli (just make sure to drink all the wine first), cookie cutters with regular shapes or even just cut a square shape with a knife. These are the cutters I mostly use, other than the above mentioned tools (affiliate link):
Making Ravioli from scratch:
Make the dough as described in the recipe instructions and let it rest. When it’s time to roll it out, divide it in 4 parts and work on 1 by 1, keeping the remaining dough still wrapped to prevent it from drying.
Roll out the dough. If you’re using a pasta machine, start with the widest thickness and slowly roll it thinner and thinner until it’s almost translucent. Since the ravioli have 2 layers of pasta, the sheets should be quite thin so that the overlaying side it’s not too thick but also not too thin that will break during the boiling.
If you roll it by hand, make a square shape and place the stuffing only on the lower part of the sheet so it can be overlayed with the top part. If you’re using a pasta machine you can simply use 2 separate sheets.
The stuffing should not be too large nor too small. Leave enough space (as big as the filling itself) around it to make sure you can cut it out easily.
Cover with the other sheet of pasta and cut the ravioli.
It’s not necessary to seal the edges with a fork after the assembly but if you don’t want the ravioli to open during the boiling, make sure you slightly brush the edges of both sheets of pasta with water and press well down with your fingers to stick them together, making sure all the air gets out otherwise it will create a bubble. Let them rest at least 10 minutes before boiling, so the water dries and the pasta sheets stick well together.
Ricotta and Smoked Salmon Ravioli
- 180 g 1+1/2 cups Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 150 g 3/4 cup Ricotta
- 100 g 4 oz. Smoked Salmon
- 100 ml 2/3 cup Light Cream
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon or to taste
- Pink Peppercorns optional
For the Pasta Dough
- Have a large table or cutting board cleaned and ready to make the fresh pasta. Keep a clean towel next to you to rest the ravioli.
- In a large wooden board (or a large bowl) put all the flour creating kind of a mountain, make a hole in the center and break the eggs in. Add a pinch of salt and with a fork start mixing the eggs slowly.
- Still mixing with the fork, add the flour to the eggs a little bit at a time until it gets all mixed up together.
- When you've added already most of the flour and it becomes hard to mix with the fork, get your hands dirty! Mix well with your hands until it becomes a uniform dough, add some more flour to the board if necessary and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Now cover the dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes. Just enough time to make the filling.
For the Filling
- Finely chop the smoked salmon and mix it with the ricotta in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add the finely chopped parsley. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in the fridge.
To make the Ravioli
- Remove the plastic wrap and cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Take one and cover the others again with the plastic wrap.
- With a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll the dough until it gets really thin, almost translucent.
- Proceed with the same process also for the rest of the dough.
- With a teaspoon or a sac-a-poche place the filling in the center, brush with water around the filling and cover with the other pasta sheet. Pinch with your finger starting from one side and slowly all around to also remove the air from inside the ravioli.
- Cut the ravioli, then press again the edges with your fingers to make sure they're well stick together and then set the ravioli aside on the clean cloth to rest. Proceed with the same process for the rest of the pasta.
- Bring to boil a large pot of salted water, then toss the ravioli slowly one by one being careful not to open them.
- Let them cook about 3-4 minutes (the cooking time mostly depends on the thickness of your pasta. Taste one to make sure is al dente).
- Meanwhile in a pan bring to simmer the cream and squeeze in it the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper.
- When the ravioli are cooked, add them to lemon cream sauce and finally add the chopped chives and parsley.