This recipe assumes two things: 1. That you’re familiar with the process of making ravioli from fresh dough. If not I suggest this fine little tutorial from All Recipes. (I will give directions for mixing pasta dough at the end of this recipe because I didn’t find any online directions I liked all that well) and 2. That you either know how to make a good chicken broth or are willing to use one of the fairly decent store-bought varieties (I use Pacific Foods’ chicken broth when I’m in a serious time crunch but this is NOT the same as fresh broth.
For about 4 to 6 servings of this dish, which is essentially a soup, you’ll need:
1 batch (about 3/4 of a pound) of pasta dough made from 1 cup of flour (I use Caputo Double Zero flour (“pizza flour”) and 2 eggs
For the filling you’ll need:
2 eggs, lightly beaten2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme1/4 teaspoon nutmegsalt and fresh ground pepper to taste1 pound Manouri cheese (a Greek “ricotta salata” made with cream and whey)
And, of course, you’ll also need:4 quarts Chicken broth
And for garnish (well, these are really more important than garnish, I suppose) you’ll need:3 ripe roma tomatoes4 scallions
To make the filling lightly beat the eggs in a bowl with the next four ingredients. Break up the manouri into the bowl and blend thoroughly. If the filling seems too sticky to work with you may either add a bit of (JUST ENOUGH) flour, leftover mashed potatoes or bread crumbs. The mashed potatoes are probably the nicest choice, but the flour is probably the likeliest.
Make your ravioli fairly small. About 1 inch square or so is best. This is, after all, soup. Folks won’t be able to cut the pasta up very easily. Bite-sized is the answer (and remember pasta swells when cooked. Allow the pasta to dry for about 25 minutes before cooking.
Bring 2 quarts of the broth to a boil. Have a greased cookie sheet near the stove to receive the pasta as it cooks. Working with 6 ravioli at a time, or so, cook them for about 6 or 7 minutes (at which time the pasta will usually start to float pretty freely).
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the garnish: slice the tomatoes about 1/2″ thick and slice the scallions quite thin.
Bring the other two quarts of broth to a boil. When the pasta is done, fill each bowl with 5 or six ravioli, at least a couple slices of tomato and a good sprinkling of the sliced scallion. Then cover those bowls with the hot clear broth.
Sometimes I’m moved to float a medium-or-soft poached egg on the surface of each bowl of soup. It’s a little over-the-top but it’s DELICIOUS.
You can use the broth you cooked the pasta in to flavor all kinds of dishes. I don’t serve it here only because the clear broth is a better thing from a presentation standpoint.
Finally: that promised instruction on how to mix pasta dough:
Make a little mound with the flour in the center of your work surface. Prepare a nice, deep well in the middle of that mound. Crack the eggs into the well. Using a fork, lightly beat the eggs, incorporating a bit of the flour into the beaten eggs as you go until the eggs are no longer completely runny. Draw the edges of the flour into the eggs with your fingers. Push aside any flour you don’t think you’ll need. Work the flour and eggs together until the flour is completely incorporated. When you push your finger into the center of your dough ball and then pull it out again, if your finger comes out clean, the dough is about right. If it comes out a little moist or covered with bits of dough, you probably want to add flour a small bit at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Set aside the dough ball for a moment while you scrape your work surface clean. Then knead your dough ball on your freshly-scraped work surface. You do this by pushing the dough with the heel of your palm into the surface. Turn the dough a half turn and push it down again with the heel of your palm. You repeat this for about 8 minutes or so. The dough should be nice and springy. Wrap the dough ball and let it relax for about 25 minutes. Then you can roll it out as shown above.
YES, you can do this all by machine, but I promise you there’s something wonderfully satisfying about doing it all by hand.
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