Four Cheese Ravioli with Herb Embedded Pasta

herb ravioli

I don’t know what it is but as soon as the weather turns cold I get the urge to make homemade pasta of some sort. Once a year I usually make my traditional ravioli, two different kinds, a meat and cheese version which is a family recipe that has been handed down to me.

This time I wanted to change it up by making a four cheese ravioli with a twist on the dough.I’ve always loved the look of herbs embedded in pasta dough. In fact I’ve done two different posts regarding that technique way back in my early days on this blog. One was a guest post I did for a blogger friend, it was known as silhouette pasta, stained glass pasta and windowpane pasta but now you see it described as laminated or embedded dough.

When I did the guest post and created the recipe I just cut the dough it self into ravioli sized noodles, I never actually made filled ravioli with the dough as I did here on this post.

pasta sheet

If you follow me you know that I have several posts on making ravioli on this blog, when I first started out making ravioli they were all made by hand, I even used only a rolling pin to roll the dough. Then as time went on I used a crank style pasta machine which is a staple in many homes along with ravioli forms.

We would get together as a family and make hundreds for holiday parties and by using the forms it helps you get a more uniformed shaped ravioli which has it’s place when you’re cranking out so many and there’s different people with their own techniques.

Fast forward to today, I have graduated to using my Kitchen Aid attachment for rolling the dough and I’m never going back, I love it! No fatigue in cranking, it’s hands free and it puts the perfect amount of pressure on the dough and it comes out perfectly smooth every time. I can easily make a couple of hundred myself and never get tired!

For this herb embedded batch I tried using my ravioli forms but didn’t like the way they looked, the dough didn’t lay right when placed over the holes because of the shape of the herbs I guess, so freeform was the way to go, besides I think the imperfectness of doing them freeform makes them look just perfect!

You can read and see the ravioli forms and the machines I use, how I prep the dough and the fillings in this post, it will help you get a visual when doing this version here on this post.

layered herbs

To embed your pasta dough with herbs you’ll want to roll out two pieces the same size, keeping it thin but not completely see-through. Pick herbs of your choice, make sure they’re clean and dry and pull the stems off. I used parsley and sage here. You would never want to use a woody herb like rosemary or thyme they will break through the dough, stick with the more leafy herbs like cilantro, basil and the ones I used.

Lay your clean herbs just on one sheet of the two sheets you rolled out, covering the area of the pasta sheet up nicely filled with the herbs.

herb pasta dough

Then you’re going to take the other piece with no herbs on it and gently place it on top, pressing down gently all over with your hands to help the herbs stick to the dough underneath.

Now take that whole sheet and roll it through your pasta machine, maybe on number three of the roller. You don’t want it to be too see -through so much so that the herbs rips through, but you don’t want it too thick either, you can be the judge on that as you’re doing it in your own machine.

 

herb pasta sheet

One thing to keep in mind is that the herbs will stretch as you put the sheet through the rollers and that’s fine, you just don’t want it to rip.

folded pasta dough

Now you’re dough is ready to fill. I always use a disposable pastry bag when piping out my fillings, the post that I linked above will show you a visual.

cheese ravioli

I used a mix of four cheeses for my filling this time, ricotta along with fontina, parmesan and romano. Then place your dollops along one side of your sheet of herb embedded dough that you ran through the rollers.

Take a mini brush and lightly brush the edges with a touch of water to ensure sticking and that no cheese mixture will leak out when boiling.

forming ravioli

Next fold the other half over the dollops of cheese pressing the edges down and pressing in between the cheese mounds with your fingers. Then take a ravioli cutter and slice between the mounds to create the individual ravioli.

making ravioli

Once that’s finished you’ll want to crimp all four sides with a fork that you keep dipping in flour so your crimping it won’t stick.

herb embedded ravioli

And that’s it! You’ve now created you own special ravioli, each one different in it’s own special way.

ravioli

You can cook them as is immediately or you can place them single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until hard then transfer to a freezer proof container.

I normally freeze mine, after we sample some of course! They cook up beautiful from either the fresh or frozen state, just add a couple more minutes when frozen.

I do around eight minutes in the frozen state but honestly it depends on how thick yours turns out, my best tip is to take one out of the water, snip a bit of the edge off and taste if you think it’s finished or if it needs another minute or two.

boiling ravioli

With the herby pasta dough the best sauce to serve them with is a simple browned butter sauce, then shower the ravioli with some good Parmigiano Regggiano cheese! That’s honestly all you’ll need because you’ll taste the subtle flavor of the herbs coming through along with the cheese in every delicious bite!

cheese ravioli

Spend some time in the kitchen, have your favorite music playing in the background and I promise you once you get going you’ll get into a Zen- like mood and before you know it you’ll have a bunch of ravioli formed in front of you!

cheese ravioli

Making homemade pasta of any sort is truly a labor of love but worth every bit of the time and effort it takes, no store-bought pasta can ever compare, and besides you can taste the love!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

Four Cheese Ravioli with Herb Embedded Pasta
 
The pasta dough is a family recipe that never fails me and it's easily made in a food processor.
Author:
Ingredients
  • PASTA DOUGH
  • 2 cups of unbleached flour, my favorite brand is Ceresota
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon, olive oil
  • enough water just to get the dough together to form a ball
  • 4 CHEESE FILLING
  • 1 cup good quality ricotta, drained of all liquid ( I usually drain mine overnight) or buy it on the drier side
  • ½ cup grated fontina cheese
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ⅓ cup grated romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg beaten
Instructions
  1. FOR THE DOUGH, in a food processor add the flour and salt, pulse, then add the 2 eggs and and olive oil and process for a minute or two.
  2. As the machine is running slowly dribble water down the tube, keep processing until the dough forms a ball.
  3. It could be ¼ cup or water, maybe less, maybe more. Give it time to process, you will know when it's coming together.
  4. Open top of processor, dough should be moist and a little sticky, not dry with bits of flour, if so add a tiny bit more water and process again.
  5. If it's too watery just add a bit more flour and reprocess.
  6. Pull the dough out and onto a floured board, knead it a few times then form it into a ball and wrap it with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter for ½ hour before starting to roll it.
  7. The dough can be made 1 day ahead and at this point you can place it into the fridge, but you need to take it out and get it to room temp before using it the next day.
  8. Divide dough into 4 pieces and work with 1 piece at a time rolling it through the pasta machine.
  9. Then refer to tutorial above in the post on how to add the herbs and cheese.
  10. CHEESE MIXTURE
  11. Add the ricotta and all of the cheese into a bowl, mix well by hand, then add salt and pepper and taste it, you might want more grated cheese, do it to your liking.
  12. Then mix in the beaten egg and make sure everything is combined well.
  13. I like placing my ricotta mixture into disposable pastry bags for a clean and easy way of piping out the cheese, but you can use a tablespoon as well. ( I usually do a heaping tablespoon)
  14. Just like the dough this cheese mixture can be made a day ahead of time, this way you can be all prepped and ready to actually start forming the ravioli the day of.
  15. PLEASE REFER TO THE TUTORIAL IN THE POST TO SEE THE PROCEDURE IN FILLING AND FORMING THE RAVIOLI AS WELL AS BOILING AND FREEZING THEM.
  16. BROWN BUTTER SAUCE
  17. Melt 1 stick of unsalted butter over medium heat, gently swirl as butter melts, turn down if butter sputters too much, let it foam up and then the color will deepen with brown bits on the bottom and have a beautiful nutty taste.
  18. Spoon warm butter over cooked ravioli and shower with more Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, enjoy!

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Signature

Smashed Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan and Lemon Aioli

smashed brussel sprouts

If you think you’re not a fan of brussel sprouts I encourage you to try these crispy gems! This is my new favorite way to eat brussel sprouts, but I must warn you, they’re very addictive!

They’re made similar to the popular smashed potatoes but on the healthier side. They’re crispy and caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside, and because of their size they’re the perfect one bite wonder!

raw brussel sprouts

Let’s face it the holiday season is upon us, brussel sprouts are hanging out all over in the produce sections of stores. It’s definitely a popular vegetable that seems to make an appearance on holiday tables served in many different ways.

Likewise if you do a Google search of smashed brussel sprouts you’ll see all the different ways you can change them up by adding different spices and cheese’s and even dipping sauces. I like the pairing of parmesan and lemon and those are the flavors I feature in mine.

 

boiled brussel sprouts

First you have to prep your brussel sprouts by rinsing and cutting off the hard tip, boiling them and then submerging them into an ice bath to cool down.

I found that depending on the size of your sprouts which very greatly, that’s going to determine how long for you to boil them, it could be anywhere from 10-15 minutes. The best way is to test one by smashing it, they should flatten easy but not be overcooked, mushy or falling apart, sort of al dente.

After the ice bath which cools them down and helps retain their color, drain in a stainer.

Even with straining they always seem to retain some water, so a great tip is to smash them inside a tea towel covering the top of the sprout with a portion of the towel as you press down, ( I used the palm of my hand ) the sprouts will release their retained water right into the tea towel and they’ll become super dry and perfect for crisping up in the oven, the drier the better.

smashed brussel sproutschessed up brussel sprouts

Then place your smashed sprouts on a parchment lined baking sheet, I drizzled mine with garlic infused olive oil which added so much flavor and I think is a key ingredient as well as grated parmesan and a light sprinkling of shredded mozzarella for added crunch when melted but the mozzarella is optional.

Now they’re ready to be put into a hot oven for roasting.

 

crispy brussel sprouts

Half way through the roasting process you flip them over so the other side can crisp up as well.

crispy brussel sprouts

Then stick them on a platter, scatter lemon zest all over and have a bowl of lemon aioli for dipping and watch them disappear!

smashed brussel sprouts

Make these smashed brussel sprouts for your friends and family now and throughout the holiday season.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Smashed Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan and Lemon Aioli
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • brussel sprouts, tip trimmed, rinsed and ready to go
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • lemon zest
  • garlic infused olive oil
  • FOR THE AIOLI
  • real mayonaise
  • lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon zest for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place prepped brussel sprouts in salted boiling water and boil for 10- to 15 minutes according to their size and thickness. You want to be able to smash them easily without being overcooked or mushy, so test one out for doneness.
  2. When finished boiling scoop them out and place them directly into an ice bath to cool down and retain nice green color.
  3. Drain them in a strainer when cooled down.
  4. Preheat oven to 425F
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment and drizzle with olive oil ( preferably garlic infused)
  6. One by one take a cooked brussel sprout and stick it inside a tea towel covering the top also with the towel then with the palm of your hand flatten it, you will see moisture come out onto the towel when you remove it, and that's a good thing.
  7. Place them onto the baking sheet and one by one sprinkle grated parmesan on each along with a light sprinkling of mozzarella which is optional and not needed.
  8. Drizzle the tops of each one with garlic infused olive oil.
  9. Roast for around 20 minutes or so until charred to your liking, turning them on the other side adding more cheese and crisping to your liking.
  10. Place on a platter, scatter lemon zest all over and serve them at room temperature.
  11. FOR THE AIOLI
  12. Scoop full fat real mayo in a bowl, add lemon juice to thin it out along with the grated garlic clove and salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Garnish with lemon zest and serve on the side for dipping.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Signature

Slow Simmered Beef Braciole

braciole

Braciole is a popular Italian dish, it’s usually preserved for special family gatherings and not something you would normally eat during the week. Beef is the most commonly used meat and it’s typically flank or a top round steak. The meat needs to be pounded thin to tenderize it before it gets stuffed with a flavorful filling.

flank steak

I like using flank steak, if it’s too thick you might have to ask your butcher to butterfly it open for you, or you can easily do it yourself at home. When and if you need that done then the next step is to tenderize it with a meat mallet, pounding it to about 1/8 of an inch thick

You can cut your meat in half lengthwise for smaller rolls or you can keep it large as one big roll, I’ve done it all different ways.

braciole stuffing

The fillings for beef braciole can be a number of things, some families add slices of prosciutto, pine nuts, raisins, spinach, I could go on and on. My version is pretty straight forward using fresh parsley, garlic, chopped hard boiled egg, grated Pecorino, some provolone or fontinella cheese and depending on whom I’m making this for I’ll add either dry breadcrumbs or torn pieces of soaked day old Italian bread.

Lately everyone seems to be watching their carbs or someone is gluten free so I make a version minus the bread/ breadcrumbs and I must tell you it’s equally delicious, you won’t be missing anything but the carbs!

un-cooked braciole

Some use toothpicks to secure their braciole after you get it rolled up, I use to do that in the past but found that often they would break open, either on the sides or middle and the filling would seep out into the sauce making a mess of it.

large braciole

I prefer using butchers twine I find it really holds the filling tightly inside and your rolls are more uniform.

browning braciole

Once rolled up and tied securely you’ll want to give the braciole a good sear on each side then deglaze the pan with some wine.

cooking braciole

Then it’s time to let them cook by submerging them into some good quality marinara sauce allowing the braciole to simmer away in a heavy bottom pan with the lid slightly ajar. Simmering is a process that you can’t rush, you’ll know they’re done, they’ll be nice and tender and the tip of a knife should go through them like butter!

large braciole

You can easily make braciole a day or two ahead of time, I’ve done that many times especially for parties.

 

sliced baciole

If I make them ahead of time for a party I also like to take my time removing the strings and cutting the rolls while they’re cold.

I then layer the slices on a platter, so I can easily warm them up adding more warmed marinara.

Just remember this tip, after you fill them, you roll them up in a jelly roll style with the grain, but when you cut your slices it’s always against the grain.

 

cooked braciole

However creative you get with the fillings inside is up to you. This”fancy”comfort food can stand alone, eaten with just a salad, served with polenta or a favorite pasta of your choice, it’s all good!

Follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

Slow Simmered Beef Braciole
 
You can get creative with your filling adding prosciutto, raisins, pinenuts, spinach if you wish. Below is my tried and true version.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ to 2 lbs flank steak, butterflied if to thick then pounded with a meat tenderizer to ⅛ inch thickness.
  • 2 to 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • breadcrumbs, enough to spread all over your meat, or (soaked in water and squeezed out ) day old Italian bread, enough to spread all over meat
  • a handful of parsley, enough to sprinkle all over
  • grated pecorino romano spread generously all over the meat as well as grated provolone or fontinella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a good drizzle all over the layered filling on the meat
  • wine for deglazing (optional)
  • 2 quarts of marinara
  • basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. After meat has been tenderized, salt and pepper it then rub the minced garlic all over.
  2. Sprinkle a good amount of pecorino all over.
  3. Add your bread crumbs or soaked bread and spread it all around, or eliminate this step all-together if making them gluten free.
  4. Spread your chopped eggs all around, along with the chopped parsley.
  5. Then end by scattering your shredded provolone or fontinella cheese.
  6. Lastly generously drizzle meat filling all over with olive oil.
  7. Tightly roll the meat up jelly roll style with the grain of the meat.
  8. Secure with butchers twine all over the roll, this process takes a little time but it's worth it.
  9. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a heavy bottom pan that has a lid
  10. Sear well on both sides.
  11. Deglaze with wine, (optional).
  12. Then pour in your marinara with some torn basil.
  13. Put the lid on and slow simmer on top of stove until they become tender and the tip of a knife goes in like butter!
  14. Let the braciole rest before you remove the string and begin slicing them against the grain, or all this can be done the day before, cutting them cold as stated in my post.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Signature