The best ravioli I’ve ever had (granted I’ve never been to Italy…yet) was in a fairly unexpected place – a little ol’ mountain town down south, you may have heard of it – Crested Butte. And yes, if you are an avid Mountain Mantras reader, you’ll remember that Crested Butte is also the home of my favorite pizza and my favorite place to ski. I just love that little town. Anyways, ravioli are probably my favorite pasta dish. I order them whenever we are going out for Italian. If there is a butternut squash or pesto ravioli on the menu, I’m in heaven.
Our first time in Crested Butte wasn’t for work (surprisingly, considering my previous job often required mountain town visits), but was a little weekend get away that Jesse planned. We went in-between busy seasons and totally fell in love with Crested Butte. Since it was pre-ski season, we spent the weekend hiking with the pups during the day, and stuffing our faces at night. We were having some happy hour beers, trying to decide where to get dinner, when a local suggested we try Gourmet Noodle ( I know, it sounds a little hokey). BUT if you get a suggestion from a local, you have to try it. And try it we did.
It was a Saturday night, but not peak-anything season, so we figured reservations wouldn’t be needed. Wrong. It was packed.This place was THE place to be for dinner. We sat at the bar for a few, deciding what to do, when the same local who gave us the recommendation appeared and somehow magically got us a table! He must have been friends with the manager/owner and insisted that the lovely couple who traveled all the way from Denver HAD to have a table and try the wonderful food. I call him my ravioli guru.
Anyways, the ravioli gods were smiling on me that evening. They had both a butternut squash and pesto ravioli on the menu. How is a gal to choose?? In the end I went with the pesto. Oh man. That pesto genovese ravioli put all other raviolis to shame. It’s like the Rupi Kaur poem:
You were not my first love
but you were the love that made
all the other loves
Yes, I was having a relationship with my ravioli. It’s a thing. Anyways, my love for that ravioli is still strong. I’ll probably order it every time we go back to Crested Butte. In the meantime, I’ve been fooling around with making my own ravioli. Quite successfully, I might add.
Don’t be scared. Homemade pasta is easier than you probably think, and it way WAY WAY better than that stuff you buy at the grocer. You can do this. I promise.
If you don’t already have one, you’re going to want to order a Ravioli Ejector Stamp right now.
Basic Pasta for Ravioli or Bow Ties
2 cups semolina flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon olive oil
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combined both flours. Create a well in the center and add warm water and oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Dough should feel wet but not extremely sticky. Knead for 2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let sit for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, it’s time to whip up your filling! If you opted to just make bow ties, you can skip this. What I love about homemade ravioli is you can use whatever you’d like for the filling – there’s no wrong choice. I’ll give you two options. One vegan, and one not so much.
Spinach Ricotta Filling
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup raw spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 cup 1 or 2% milk
pinch of sea salt
Roasted Broccoli and Garlic Filling
2 cups roasted broccoli
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened plain non dairy milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
For each filling option, simply place all ingredients in a high speed blended or food processor and blend until you get a creamy consistency.
After 30 minutes, remove pasta dough from plastic and knead on a floured surface for a minute. It should be elastic and smooth, not overly sticky. Before you roll out your dough, note that flour is your friend. I highly suggest you roll out your dough on either a highly floured counter top or on top parchment paper that is floured. There’s nothing more devastating than getting all your ravioli rolled, filled and stamped, only to have them stuck to the counter and ruined by scrapping them up. Trust me.
For Ravioli: Half the dough. Rolling out one half of the dough until it is about 1/8″ thick. Try to roll it out into a large rectangle. On one half of the rectangle, use the ravioli stamp to gently mark your ravioli. Do not cut all the way through the dough, just made indentations. Start scooping roughly 1 teaspoon of your chosen filling into the center of the indentations. Once they are all filled, gently fold the opposite side of the rectangle over the side with the filling. Using your fingers, gently press the dough down around the filling, then cut using the ravioli stamp. I recommend dunking your ravioli stamp in flour before cutting the ravioli – this just helps them not get stuck in the ejector. Once you have cut all your ravioli, combine scraps and repeat the process until you can no longer easily roll out the dough. Repeat process with second half of the dough. Yields 40-50 ravioli, depending on how determined you are to keep combining scraps and rolling out.
For Bow Ties: roll out dough until 1/8″ inch and use ravioli stamp to cut as many squares as you can fit. Using your thumb and pointer finger, gently fold and press 2 opposite sides of the cut squares together to form the bow ties. Combine scraps and repeat until you can no longer roll out the dough. Yield roughly 80 bow ties, aka, A LOT.
To cook, bring a pot of water to a gentle boil. Gently place ravioli (or bow ties) in boiling water and use a wooden spoon to stir gently to make sure none of stuck to the bottom of the pot. Boil for 4-5 minutes or until they float on top of the water. Drain water and add ravioli (or bow ties) to your choice of sauce.
For the sauce, here are 2 recommendations, based on the filling choices:
If you opted for the Spinach Ricotta Filling, use a lovely red marinara sauce.
If you opted for the Roasted Broccoli filling, use a pesto sauce or just a simple garlic and olive oil mixture.