Ravioli with Five Cheeses
makes 50-60 ravioli
helpful equipment: a pastry bag or gallon sized zip lock, a ravioli mold, a rolling pin, a spritz bottle of water, a fluted pastry wheel
for the pasta:
3-1/2 to 3-3/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour or Italian "00" flour (about one pound of flour)
6 large eggs
for the filling:
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano
1 ounce Pecorino
3 ounces mozzarella cheese
2 ounces gorgonzola
8 ounces ricotta
salt and pepper
Make the pasta dough:
In a food processor or KitchenAid mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix most of the flour and the eggs. Process or mix until blended and keep adding the remainder of the flour until you get a nice dough that is not too sticky. If very sticky, add additional flour by the tablespoon until you get a dough that is not too sticky and not too dry. Form the dough into a ball and knead on a floured counter until smooth. Wrap the dough in a floured piece of plastic wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. While you are letting it rest, make the filling.
Make the filling:
Place your hard cheeses, the Parmigiano and Pecorino, in a food processor and process until fine (or just grate them if you don't have a food processor). Add the other cheeses, the egg and a pinch of salt and pepper and process until smooth. Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a large tip, with the mixture and refrigerate. (If you don't have a pastry bag, just use a gallon size zip-lock and snip off a little of one corner). You can also simply fill the ravioli with a spoon, without using a pastry bag.
Make the ravioli:
Cut the pasta dough into three pieces. Keep the dough you are not using wrapped. Make sure your pasta rollers are on the #1 setting, the widest. Flatten your piece of dough and run it through the rollers. Flour it, fold it into thirds, and run it through again. Do this three or four times. Set the rollers to #2 and run your dough through that setting. Do not fold dough. Keep running it through the rollers until you get to setting #4 or #5. I usually make my ravioli no thinner than these settings. I find that if the dough is too thin, the ravioli tend to burst when you cook it. If you like thinner dough, use #5. Keep in mind as you are making the pasta sheets, that you want them as wide as possible so that they cover your ravioli mold. (If you are not using a mold, don't worry about that.) Take the sheets of pasta and lay them on a floured counter top. If you are not very speedy and are going to take a while to make the remainder of the sheets, cover the pasta sheets with a towel or plastic wrap, so they don't dry out.
Repeat with remaining dough until you have made all your pasta sheets. If you have a ravioli mold, flour it well. Lay one sheet of pasta on the mold, making sure the entire mold is covered. Take your pastry bag and squeeze out about a tablespoon of filling into each well. Spritz the pasta sheet with a little water. Lay the second sheet on top and run a rolling pin over to seal. Turn the mold over and release the ravioli. They will not be separated. Use a fluted pastry wheel to cut apart. Lay the ravioli on a floured baking pan and continue making ravioli until you've used all the pasta sheets.
You can store the ravioli on baking sheets in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Cover with plastic wrap. You can also freeze them on baking sheets and then stick them in zip locks. To cook after being frozen, do not defrost first.
To cook: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli in batches of about a dozen at a time. Bring the water back to a gentle simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. (If ravioli is frozen, cook about a minute more). Remove with a slotted spoon or handled strainer to a serving dish. Continue cooking the remainder of ravioli. Serve with any sauce you like. Just some butter, olive oil, sea salt and chopped herbs is simple and delicious, too.
The Italian Dish