I’m not a huge pasta fan. I’d never choose it in a restaurant and if I had to give up carbs, pasta would be the first to go. Second would be bread. So stereotypical Italian food is not my first choice of cuisine, however I do love the mediterranean diet and believe it to be one of the healthiest. Their flavours are so fresh and with all that olive oil, the fresh vegetables, and of course risotto, whenever I go to Italy I definitely do not starve.
Despite my nonchalance regarding pasta, at the weekend I had a fierce compulsion to make some. It was Eurovision night, so I thought I’d go continental, plus our pasta machine only ever sees the light of day when I need to roll out some gumpaste, so I thought I’d allow it to meet its destiny.
I had some Manchego cheese in the fridge which I really wanted to use rather than just eat chunk by chunk, so I decided to make Manchego and Ham Ravioli! And I am SO glad I did! It was SO cheesy and so rich and delicious, I wish I’d made double the amount.
Below is my recipe, and here are a few notes:
- Next time I make pasta (I really enjoyed it!) I want to try using semolina, but the simple recipe below is perfect for a beginner.
- After ten minutes of kneading, my pasta dough was still not smooth so I added a dash of olive oil and it instantly made the perfect, smooth dough.
- I just made the filling up – feel free to skip the white sauce part, but I particularly hate dry pasta so really wanted to avoid a dry filling.
- Rolling the pasta dough was much easier than I thought it would be. Have a pile of flour to hand so you can dust the pasta between rolls, otherwise if the pasta folds over it could stick to itself and be impossible to un-fold.
- You’ll probably have some leftover dough. It will keep well-wrapped in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or you can freeze it.
Per serving: 275 cals, 13g fat (0.7g saturated), 19g carbs (0.8g fibre, 0.3g sugar), 19g protein
For the pasta:
100g 00 flour
A dash of olive oil
For the filling:
50g ham – I used dry cured honey roast ham
50g Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
Butter, flour and milk, to make a white sauce
a pinch of mustard powder
20g Cheddar cheese, finely grated
1. To make the pasta, measure 100g 00 flour onto a plate or straight onto your kitchen surface, and make a well in the middle. Break the egg into the well and begin to combine the two ingredients using a fork. Mix the flour around the egg into the egg, and once that has started to combine, start mixing in the outer flour using your hands. Continue to mix by hand and once most of the flour is combined, begin to knead the dough. Depending on the size of your egg, you might not be able to combine all the flour, or you might end up with a sticky dough and need more flour.
2. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This could take around 10 minutes, but it depends on how strong you are! I ended up with an elastic dough that wasn’t very smooth, so I added a dash of olive oil and it seemed to do the trick! Leave the dough to rest for half an hour.
3. To make the filling, make a white sauce and whisk in some mustard powder. Melt the Cheddar cheese into the sauce. Then mix this white sauce into the other filling ingredients. I didn’t add any salt to my filling as it uses so much cheese and salty ham. But don’t forget the pepper!
4. Now it’s time to roll out your pasta dough!!
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a thickness that will allow it to pass through your pasta machine at its widest setting. You can taper the dough so one edge will fit through to start it off, and then the pasta machine can do the rest.
5. When rolling pasta it’s best if you can perform each roll in one go. If you stop turning the handle while half the pasta is rolled and half has yet to be rolled, you can easily tear or stretch the pasta.
6. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with flour, before adjusting the pasta machine to the next setting and rolling again.
7. Continue as in step 6 until you have a long strip of pasta dough at the desired thickness. I rolled all the way to the thinnest setting, and it didn’t tear or stretch at all.
I need a bigger counter!
9. Now to assemble the ravioli! I rolled balls of my filling and set them out on one half of the pasta sheet.
I was very generous with my filling and next time I think I’ll form the filling into flatter, mini-burger-shapes, as the filling is so rich.
10. Brush between each blob of filling with a beaten egg, to act as glue, and then fold the empty half of the pasta sheet over the top of the filling. Gently smooth the pasta down to touch the bottom part of pasta, to form a parcel.
11. Using the non-cutting side of a round cutter, ease the pasta down around the filling to remove any air bubbles. Ensure you press down hard enough to form a secure seal so that the filling doesn’t escape during cooking – but not too hard that you break the pasta!
12. Next, cut out the ravioli! I used the same cutter as in step 11 for mine, and then went round ensuring the parcels were still sealed using my fingers. You should use a bigger cutter (my next size up was way too big!), or cut them out freehand. I may invest in one of those zigzag rolling pasta knives…
13. To cook the pasta, bring a deep pan of water with a pinch of salt to the boil. Drop in the pasta and cook until it floats. For me this took about three minutes.
14. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and serve immediately.
I ate my pasta with a simple salad of rocket, basil and some amazing Pink Plum Tomatoes from Kent! I’d never seen them before, they really were pink and it made me so happy! I drizzled the whole plate in olive oil and sprinkled over some grated parmesan.
The pasta was so delicious, if I say so myself, and not at all heavy because I rolled it so thinly. The filling was very rich, so using less next time would be an improvement.
If you give this recipe a go, let me know what you think below!