Spelt Ravioli


Let's talk about pasta, one of my top 10 favorite foods. Ok, top 5. Maybe 3. Forget it, I love spaghetti nearly as much as my family.

I was spending some time with one of my dearest friends and her family, and after discussing ravioli making for a number of months were were finally getting to it.

I've always wanted to make ravioli. I mean, it's just so good. As her family tends to limit the use of bleached flour, we used spelt flour. Spelt is an ancient grain, and is higher in protein in fiber than regular all-purpose flour. It has a grainier texture, and I have found it to be less heavy in the stomach as well. I have used spelt flour in pasta before, but the whole ravioli part was new to me.


While ravioli makers certainly exist, I noticed that the basic ones are basically just a small egg tray. You lay a sheet of pasta down onto a piece of metal or plastic with ravioli shaped indentations, add filling to each little ravioli, then lay another sheet over the top and press down. There is a KitchenAid attachment that makes ravioli as well, but for my first go around I just brought over my pasta roller, as that makes rolling the dough thin a breeze.

The pasta itself was just a converted recipe from Homemade Pasta. Flour, egg, and water is all you need, but I used spelt flour instead.

We mixed a filling similar to the one I use in lasagna. Ricotta, shredded cheese (in this case, gorgonzola), and egg to hold it all together.

To make the pasta, I added the flour to a bowl, created a well in the very center, and added the eggs in there. I used a fork to mix the dough, starting out by stirring the eggs in the center with the flour just touching them. I then gradually incorporated more flour until all of it was mixed in. I added about a tablespoon of water to get the mixture moist enough to form into a ball. I covered it with plastic wrap, then let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.

When the dough rests, it is easier to work with and cracks less. While making this very recipe, I ran out of dough and had to mix a small amount more. I did not let it rest due to time limitations, and it was much easier to tear than the first batch.

I divided the dough into about 4 pieces. then used my hands to flatten each section out, until it was a long strip. I added some flour to the pasta roller, then pulled the dough through on the thickest setting. I then brought the roller down a size and repeated rolling each piece. One more time of repeating this at an even smaller size (I went down about 2 sizes each time) and I had some thin sheets of pasta.

My workspace had my dough, wax paper to work on, the filling, and a pastry brush with some water to seal the raviolis. I started with a few cheese raviolis, then mixed in some cooked ground beef to make meat and cheese ones.


I laid out a sheet and dolloped some filling every 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Then, I used the brush to spread water on the pasta, making a stripe between each dollop and on either side. I had a water square around each bit of filling.


Then, I folded the pasta over the filling and pressed on all the edges to seal the ravioli.


Finally, I cut the ravioli apart and pressed a fork onto each side to seal it completely. I laid them out on the tray after making them so that they could dry a little bit and not stick together while I finished the rest.


After I filled all of the pasta, I boiled the ravioli for 3-5 minutes, until they were floating at the top. It wasn't so difficult!

We served them with some homemade marinara (my pictures did not turn out so well here; I used my phone for all of this and lighting was a challenge). They held together well, with only some of the ugly first few I made busting apart. Hey, it's a learning curve! The last few came out the best looking. And flavor-wise, the whole gang called this a hole in one. The pasta was cooked nicely in just a few minutes, and had that ever-so-slightly spelt graininess I mentioned before. While still soft as spaghetti should be, spelt just makes a more complexly textured noodle. I call this one a win.

Spelt Ravioli Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups spelt flour
2 eggs
3-4 tablespoons water, as needed

For the filling:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese
1 egg
2 teaspoons parsley

1/4 cup water, for brushing

Instructions:

Add flour to a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the center and add 2 eggs. Use a fork to gradually mix eggs with flour, mixing in the inner layer with the eggs first then gradually working outward until all the flour is mixed in. Add water as needed until dough is well combined and not overly dry. Roll out on a floured cutting board using a rolling pin until around 1/8" thick (or thicker, depending on the width of your pasta roller). At this point you can either roll the dough thinner and slice by hand into noodles, or put through the pasta roller to thin out more. Repeat 1-2 more times, until desired level of thinness is met. Lay sheets out and add 2 teaspoons of the filling every 1-2 inches apart, moving lengthwise and remaining on one side of the pasta sheet. Spread water around the filling in a square shape. Fold other side of pasta sheet over and press on seam in-between filling. Cut along seam to separate ravioli. Boil for 3-5 minutes, then serve.

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