It was my senior year when the fine work that is what the world knows as The Sopranos touched down into my living room. I remember soaking the first two seasons up and when each season ended, I was hungry for more.
Unfortunately, what comes after high school for most is the inevitable poor life of a college student. Laboring through books and classes during the day and staying up late at night.
I don’t really remember much from those days in terms of what I would do at night besides college parties, but what I do remember is that The Sopranos no longer existed much for me anymore. As you can imagine, what did exist was a TV with bunny ears and no cable and lot’s of potatoes and Ramen.
Which now brings me to my early thirties (Okay, that journey begins in two weeks, but don’t get me started on that one) and the wonderful creation that is Net Flix. My husband and I have been devouring through every season recently. Especially since the only season’s I did see was 1, 2 and the last one. Which leaves four seasons of Tony Soprano unaccounted for and that obviously is a lot of missing juice.
Since we have embarked on re-discovering Hollywood’s take on the Italian Mafia, I have been bombarded with dreams of gravy, pasta and lot’s of cheese. I have been craving ravioli and fresh pasta for a while and now I will share with you this wonderful recipe with step by step directions for making homemade pasta as well as a wonderful crab ravioli that you can make with that pasta if you choose. This is a far cry from your college days. Utterly delicious and so utterly Tony. Enjoy!
Making Fresh Pasta
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cooking School
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
3 Large Eggs, room temperature
Pinch of coarse salt
Semolina flour, for baking sheet
1. Mound the all-purpose flour in the center of a clean work surface or in a large wide bowl and form a well in the middle. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and salt with a fork until smooth, then pour into the well.
2. Begin to the work the flour into the eggs with the fork.
3. Then use your hands to work the rest of the flour into mixture, a bit at a time, just to form a sticky dough (don't force all the flour to be incorporated; it's okay if some remains on the work surface)
4. Start working the dough with your hands to form a rounded mass for kneading. Knead dough about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Scrape any loose bits of dough from the work surface with a bench scraper.
5. Form dough into a ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 1.5 hours at room temperature.
6. Use a bench scraper to cut dough into 8 equal pieces (four for filled pasta shapes and lasagne) Working with one piece at a time (keep remaining pieces covered with a clean kitchen towel), flatten dough into an oblong shape somewhat narrower than the pasta machine's thickest setting (number 1) Very lightly dust with AP flour and feed through the machine.
7. Fold dough in thirds and rotate 90 degrees.
8. Pass through two more times on the same setting to smooth dough and increase it's elasticity. Adjust the setting to the next level (number 2) and pass dough through two more times. Gently supporting it with the back of your hand as it emerges. Continue to pass through ever-finer settings, once on each setting. End with the next-to-thinnest setting for pastas and lasagne; thinnest setting for ravioli (lasgne should be slightly thicker, filled pastas, thinner, almost transparent) If dough bubbles or tears, simply pass through one or two more times to patch the dough (dust lightly with AP flour if dough is sticking) As each sheet of dough has been rolled to the desired thickness, immediately cut into desired shapes or strands.
9. To assemble the crab ravioli's for the recipe below, lay out one sheet of pasta and put one teaspoon of filling about one inch apart. To seal the ravioli, brush around the filling with the egg wash and place the other pasta on top and press down. Press down to make sure pasta is secured around the filling, making sure there are no air pockets.
10. I like to personally hand cut my ravioli. There are some ravioli molds that help ensure that each ravioli is perfect, however, I enjoy the artisan quality of hand cutting my own. I use a crimp pastry wheel to cut the ravioli.
11. Once they are cut, I place them back on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with semolina flour where they can easily be put into a pot of boiling salted water, or can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready. These also freeze well and are great to make ahead, freeze on a baking sheet and once frozen put into a freezer bag. Just remember that frozen raviolis take much longer to cook than fresh. Adjust the time. Usually it is anywhere between 7-8 minutes of cooking time for a frozen ravioli.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living February 2011
For the Filling:
1 cup ricotta cheese (8 oz)
1 cup lump crab meat (8 oz)
Coarse Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
For the Sauce:
1 Stick unsalted butter
2 Teaspoons lemon peel, very finely chopped, plus 2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Garnish; Finely chopped Italian Parsley
1. Make the filling: Mix together ricotta, crabmeat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and the red pepper flakes.
2. Assemble the ravioli (as mentioned above)
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in 2 batches, cook ravioli until they rise to the top, about 3 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt 4 Tablespoons butter and heat until just bubbling and frothy. Transfer first batch of ravioli to skillet using a slotted spoon, along with about 2 Tablespoons cooking liquid. Add 1 teaspoon chopped lemon peel and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and swirl to combine. Transfer to plates.
5. Repeat with second batch of ravioli. Garnish with the parsley.