homemade spelt ravioli

If you’re like me, the thought of making homemade pasta is right up there with the thought of knitting your own clothes or building your own car: Sure, theoretically, it’s good. Other people might try it, and when they do, you might think it’s a little cool. But let’s be honest, it’s unnecessary, over-involved, time-consuming and, mostly, way out of your league. Besides, that’s why there are shopping malls! And car dealerships! And hello? Grocery stores with ready-made pasta you only need to boil. Listen, I know.

At first glance, making homemade pasta seems daunting. The very mention of it sends some of us out to buy the latest pasta maker or KitchenAid attachment or, in an even more likely scenario, reaching way back in the cupboards, where our existing pasta maker or attachment has been hiding. We know making pasta takes time, and it might be messy. I know that. Last weekend, I did it anyway.

And when I did, I learned something: when you make it from scratch, the results will be worth it.

rolling the dough

The first thing I should tell you is that I hardly ever eat pasta anymore. Partly, that’s because a lot of those boxed pastas are made with flours I avoid; partly, it’s because there’s something I’ve always hated about regular pasta, namely that heavy feeling that comes after you eat it. You know what I’m talking about? You finish your plate, pat your stomach and roll onto the couch, stuck in a motionless overstuffed spaghetti coma? Yeah. I’m not so into that.

rolling pin

So right off the bat, I can tell you two things my very old-school, totally made-from-scratch pasta has going for it: It’s made with spelt flour (remember spelt flour?) and so it’s so much easier to digest, so much less likely to leave you feeling overstuffed. It’s also about a hundred times easier than I’d expected it to be: make the dough, let it rest 20 minutes (while you make ravioli filling!), split it up, roll it out, BOOM: homemade pasta ready to boil.

I made mine into ravioli because, of all the pasta shapes out there, I’ve always liked best those little pillows of ricotta goodness. Here is what happened:

shanna making ravioli

After my dough had rested, I split it into fourths, took one section to a floured surface and rolled the heck out of it. When it was thin enough to see light through (almost like a window pane!), I used the lid of a mason jar to cut out little circles.

putting ricotta in ravioli

I dolloped about a teaspoon of ricotta filling onto each circle and then brushed the edges of the lower halves with water, creating a glue that holds the dough together when you fold the circles in half.

ravioli on baking sheet

At this point, you could place the raviolis in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stick it in the freezer, then throwing them into a Ziploc bag to use later (what I did with about 20 or so at the end). Otherwise, they are ready to be plopped into lightly salted boiling water and cooked.

boiling ravioli

The raviolis take between five and ten minutes to cook, depending on how al dente you like them. I topped these with that meaty tomato sauce from last week (finished it off, in fact!), but next time I’d like to do a brown butter sauce, maybe with sage.

finished ravioli

After I’d finished, while I was eating soft, cheesy bites off my plate, I had the most amazing sense of accomplishment. I made ravioli! I can make ravioli! And it tastes like ravioli! It tastes good! That alone is worth the hour or so of work, no kidding. When you make it from scratch, you’ll see.

(Special thanks to my brother, Adam, for taking most of the above photos!)




Homemade All-from-Scratch Spelt Ravioli
Adapted from Recipe Zaar’s Spelt Pasta and Food Network’s Ricotta Filling

Ingredients:
2 cups spelt flour
3 eggs, at room temperature (although mine weren’t)
1 heaping pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
*Ravioli filling (recipe below)


Directions:

Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl or on a work surface. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the oil. Make a well in the flour and then stir in the eggs and oil with a spoon. Finish mixing with hands and then knead on a lightly floured surface until it comes together into a small ball of dough. Cover in cling wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes (good time to make the filling!).

After letting the dough rest, divide it in half, then in half again. Take a quarter of the dough and roll it with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface until it is as thin as possible. It should still be stretchy and pliable. Cut out circles using a cookie cutter (or in a pinch, the lid of a mason jar works nicely).

Plop a teaspoon of ravioli filling (see below for recipe) in each circle and brush the lower half of the edges with water, bringing the top half of the dough over to create a half circle/moon shape. The water acts like a kind of glue to help it all stick together. Place raviolis on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.

When ready to cook, boil salted water and drop raviolis inside for about five to seven minutes. Enjoy!
___________________________
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Ravioli Filling

Ingredients:
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1 egg
Generous teaspoons of salt and pepper
Any herbs desired (I just threw in a little basil)

Directions:
Mix ingredients together to form filling; chill until ready to use.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Kim Shenberger

    What a beautiful post! The pictures are charming and they make me want to make ravioli today! I’ve made it a quite a few times and you’re right, it really is worth the effort.

    The thing I love about ravioli is the versatility of the dish–I treat ravioli the same way I treat quiche: whatever I have on hand goes into the filling. Very un-traditional but fun and sometimes surprisingly delicious. As far as I know there are no ravioli police in my neighborhood so I do whatever I want with the filling.

    I like to make a brown butter sauce and then finish the plate with toasted bread crumbs. YUM!

  2. Maddie

    Sometimes, dinner needs to get on the table as efficiently as possible. But sometimes, the fun is in the drawn-out preparation. Everything has its place! Glad you got the chance to feel such a sense of accomplishment.

    I tried making pasta once, back in high school, and the cuts of linguine ended up thick and doughy. You’re inspiring me to call “do-over!” on that experience.

  3. Joanna

    I used to make pasta. I always made a huge mess and my mom would come in the kitchen, shake her head and then walk right out. I always cleaned it up though :) She never had any problem eating the pasta, but she hate to be around when I was making it. I don’t know how to make pasta I can eat though. I’ll have to check into it. I can’t eat spelt. It makes me less ill than regular wheat, but still can’t digest it.

  4. kate

    I’ve always found pasta making to be kind of zen- you roll and repeat and a few simple ingredients meld before your very eyes into pillowy soft pasta dough that tastes like nothing else. Time consuming, yes; but it’s a small amount of time in an otherwise overstuffed day that you create something wonderful. That concept alone should always make it worthwhile.

  5. Carla

    Do I dare confess that frozen ravioli has been my “convenience” meal for years? I’ll have to rethink that. Homemade sounds like fun actually! Thanks!

  6. kari

    yum! i love pasta and have always felt daunted at the thought of making it myself, especially since i own no crazy equipment. but this i can do! looks awesome… i’m definitely going to give this a whirl someday soon!

  7. jordan

    you did it! you go girl. i like that you used spelt and that you made ravioli…maybe i will try that on my next go round. i’m so so glad you did it an enjoyed it so much. i’m eager to try again…

    hope you’re enjoying working from home!

  8. Shannalee

    Whitney, Wow-ee was exactly how I felt when I made them!

    Kim, I just love that you’ve already made ravioli a few times. Such a good home cook you are, I can tell. (And hey, aren’t you in the area? We really ought to meet up sometime!)

    Maddie, Do over! Do over! You are so right that there is a time for everything, and our modern society allows us to not need this much work for every meal but: there is such a charm in the old-fashioned ways of doing things. I’d love to hear what you think!

    Joanna, What about buckwheat? Maybe I will try that next! We can compare gluten-free notes then. : )

    Kate, I totally know what you’re saying. It’s like, we work so often in concepts during the day, and it’s nice to come home, use our hands, and do something methodical!

    Tim, You are hilarious.

    Carla, Ha! Nothing to confess! I grew up on that stuff.

    Kari, Right? No equipment needed beyond your hands and the regulars like a spoon, something round, etc. Do it!

    Jordan, Thank you! I hope you do it again – it really was a fun experience. And ps – yes, I am! Thanks!

    Jacqui, Awesome! And yeah, using spelt was a nice option. I was so thrilled with how it all worked out!

  9. Vicki

    Great photos! I love my Barilla pasta (both regular and whole wheat) but I totally am adding the meat sauce from your last post to my never ending list of recipes to try.

  10. Gemma

    Home made pasta has been on my must do one day list forever – maybe soon. I like pasta but do have the post pasta slump if I eat it in the evening and hate that sluggish sleepy feeling, maybe time to try spelt?

  11. Megan Gordon

    I eat pasta less and less these days for all of the reasons you mentioned, but darn it I’m going to have to try these. I’ve been experimenting with lots of different flours in baked goods lately, but I’ve actually never experimented with spelt. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. radish

    so lovely and sounds delicious. i agree with you on pasta – hence very few pasta recipes on my site. unless i make it. which means the apt is covered, and i mean covered in flour. btw, i love your apron! so cute!

  13. Shannalee

    Vicki, I’m so glad! Mom would be thrilled! : )

    Gemma, I tell you, it was on my to-do list forever, too! When the time is right and you finally get to try it, I hope it makes you as happy as it did me.

    Kim, Bless you for asking that! I need to update the post! It was my brother – he’s such a good sport about hanging out with me in the kitchen. And he’s a natural with the camera!

    Megan – The funniest thing is now I am reading your comment again and seeing you said darn it instead of damn it. You must have loved my e-mail, am I right? HA! Well darn it is just as enjoyable. And I agree: you do need to try this!

    JessieV, Ha! I always feel that way when I read blog posts. Happy to know I’m not alone!

    Radish, Thank you so much! I love that you noticed the apron; it was my grandma’s, and I love thinking about her when I wear it.

  14. Lan

    sigh, the slow removal of processed sugar and white AP flour has me slightly depressed. i’m actually on my way to wegman’s soon to purchase some spelt flour. oh but the things we must do to keep our bodies and spirit whole.

    i’m looking fwd to trying this recipe tonight.

  15. Shannalee

    Lan, If you should happen to see this before you go, buy the white spelt if you can. The whole grain spelt is better, but the white spelt gives results exactly like AP. I honestly can’t tell a difference! Good luck!

  16. redmenace

    I love making pasta from scratch. It’s fun because I employ my husband to run the pasta through the machine. It’s one meal where we actually work together. Your ravioli look great! I hope you’re still loving life!

  17. Jen

    I just wrote a post this weekend with the same thing in mind–that making food from scratch is time consuming and labor intensive but in the end is so so worth it. Your ravioli looks beautiful and tasty.

  18. Susan

    I love this! An old neighbor that used to watch me when I was a baby when my mom worked made her own pasta. She made it like she was knitting – she did it all the time. I don’t think I ever saw their kitchen table without one of those contraptions that actually turn the dough into spaghetti.

    The end results are worth it though.

  19. Shannalee

    Anne, Way to see the glass-half-full side of chilly summer nights. I hope you love this!

    Redmenace, That sounds like so much fun! I love that you guys do that together. And by the way, yes, I am loving life. Thanks!

    Jen, It is indeed. Thank you!

    Susan, What a great memory to have – so cool to hear about people who did things like this regularly. Love it!

  20. Cenk

    I love unnecessary, over-involved and time-consuming! So I guess this recipe is right up my alley :) By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog. You have a wonderful blog. Will be back for more.

  21. Kasey

    Beautiful! Matt got me an attachment for our Kitchenaid for my birthday and we’ve been making homemade pasta ever since (we always end up making a ton and freezing it). Tonight we cranked out homemade light wheat pappardelle with bolognese. It’s truly stupendous. There’s just no way you can compare it to store-bought pasta. Your ravioli look amazing! I haven’t tried using spelt flour in pasta, but I’m certainly intrigued.

  22. Anne Zimmerman

    Oh oh oh I am getting serious about making this for a very special birthday next week. I need sauce instructions — it seems you need something delicate for this pasta, yes? Can meat be involved for a birthday man/meat lover? Anything else I need to know to make this fool proof?

  23. Shannalee

    Anne, Well, to be honest, I used a heavier meaty tomato sauce with these, and it was great! So feel free! And as far as making them foolproof, I swear they’re so easy. Just take your time with the folding maybe. Good luck!

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