Ravioli, A Yearly Holiday Tradition

homemade ravioli This is the time of year I love making ravioli just before Thanksgiving, it’s tradition in my house. I remember as a kid white sheets on top of tables all over our house that were filled with ravioli made together by my mother and aunt. I have their recipe and I hold it near and dear to my heart.

They always made two different kinds of ravioli, meat and cheese and that’s what I make to this very day, and I have to say that their recipe never ever fails me.

Although I like to use different fillings and be adventurous now and then, when I’m with my family and cousins on my side it’s tradition that we use their special recipe which stirs up great memories for all of us.

I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks over the years, many I have shared on this blog, like how to make ravioli for a crowd  (and not lose your mind!) It’s not as hard as you think especially if you have a few family members helping you make them ahead of time, plus it’s lots of fun and you’ll be creating wonderful memories together.

ravioli dough I’m all about being organized and having everything prepped. I like to make the dough the night before, for 400 ravioli that’s around ten batches of dough, if I’m making 200, five batches of dough. Sometimes I’ll get up early and make all the dough in the morning but I’m not much of an early bird I work better at night.

The dough must always be covered and resting at room temperature so if they were stored in the fridge overnight you have to take them out and let them warm up, the dough will be more pliable and easier to work with.

I always make my dough in the food processor, it’s so fast and works like a charm every time. Making the dough in a well is not for me, especially for large amounts, I was taught that way but I’m all about the food processor method now.

ravioli making tools They also rolled out their ravioli by hand with a rolling pin and crimped each and everyone with a fork, I did that too back in the day but times have changed.

As the years went by I graduated to a pretty red pasta machine and I also use ravioli forms, the forms allow the ravioli to come out uniform in size, and I rarely have any breakage when boiling.

When I first started making ravioli  as a young wife they would be crazy looking, some were long rectangles, short rectangles, big squares, short squares, thick dough, thin dough, not enough filling, air pockets all over, and many would break open when boiling, thank goodness I found the right tools!

ravioli doughravioli attachment But now fast forward to 2016 I discovered something even better and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my pretty red crank style pasta roller, I’ll have to pass it down as a family heirloom because I now have a new and powerful friend, my Kitchen Aid pasta attachment!

Well it’s not really new, I bought it a couple of years ago but never used it, I think I was afraid it wouldn’t give me the same results as my oldie but goodie crank style. The brand new and never used attachment was sitting in a box in my pantry for so long that I had to Google how to  properly place it on the machine and use it.

You don’t realize how fatiguing it is to crank out 400 ravioli, when making so many we would take turns, but it’s a breeze with the pasta attachment because the machine does all the work for you, the power of that motor makes the most uniform dough, always consistent and smooth as silk, plus there’s a bonus, you’ll have both of your hands free and you won’t feel tired at all.

It’s amazing and I highly recommend it if you like to make a lot of fresh pasta, and I’m not being compensated to say it!

prepping ravioli  This past weekend I made 200 ravioli by myself and I wasn’t the least bit tired, I could have made another 100, no problem, the pasta attachment changed my life!

I prepped the fillings the night before because it’s a little time consuming and I like to get that out of the way. I made cheese, meat and butternut squash filling. I also love using piping bags for a more clean and efficient way of filling the ravioli forms, works like a charm and it’s much, much neater than using a spoon.

The forms have to be well floured all over including the zig zags before placing the dough on top, dusting them with flour will help them to seal and fall out of the forms without getting stuck.

making ravioli At this point you can also brush some water lightly all around the edges then the top layer of dough goes on. I use a small rolling pin and roll over all the zig zag lines and the surface of the dough, that will also help in getting the filling down into the holes.

homemade ravioli When it’s time to release the ravioli I turn the whole form upside down and grab a corner with my two fingers tugging a bit until the ravioli just fall out onto your work surface.

making raviolihomemade ravioli Then I’ll use a pasta crimper shown above, and score it through the zig zag lines which helps them come apart easy, one score usually does it.

homemade ravioli I always freeze mine by taking a cookie sheet, lining it with parchment paper and placing the ravioli single layer, never on top of each other or touching. When the pan is filled up I’ll put another piece of parchment on top then stick the whole pan in the freezer.

Meat ravioli usually take around a half hour to freeze, when they’re all frozen I’ll place them into freezer bags and they won’t stick together at all, you’ll be able to take out as many as needed.

butternut squash raviolibutternut squash ravioli Butternut squash as well as the cheese filling will take a good hour to freeze because of the softer and wetter filling.

homemade raviolihomemade ravioli Be sure to mark your bags!

Keep in mind you don’t have to make as many as I did, I don’t want to scare you off from doing this but if you’re going to embark on this adventure you might as well go big!

They taste at optimum freshness and flavor for at least four months in the freezer, so you have plenty of time to make them before a big event.

homemade ravioli

Like I said I have some other good tips and tricks in my archives here and here. In those posts and the other link above I”ll give you a visual on how I did it for a crowd, how much sauce to make for 400, the shallow disposable pans I used and of course pictures of the cooked ravioli.

I hope you give this a try someday, there’s nothing like homemade ravioli and just think of the fun memories you’ll be making!

Recipe is upon request, just send me an email.

You can also follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week and especially all through the holidays.


Butternut Squash Ravioli and Scenes from our Annual Ravioli Making Day

Each year we get together as a family and spend one whole day making homemade ravioli, I’ve written about it before and shared pictures of past years on my blog.

Before our day gets off and running we assemble all our tools. This year along with our ravioli we were also going to making cappelletti as well.
What are cappelletti? They look like little baby tortellini, tiny “little hats” of pasta each one stuffed with a savory filling, something I haven’t ever made myself but had the privilege to learn this year by way of a master, my daughter-in-law’s nana who was in for a visit.

I’m devoting my next post to our cappelletti making so for now, back to the ravioli!

The first thing we always do is to make all the dough at once before we get to rolling it out, it’s always done in a food processor, fast and easy! Then we wrap each ball up and let them all rest for awhile before we begin.

We always make meat filled ravioli and the meat filling is always prepared in advance, this is Nana Lena’s special recipe and all I can say is that it’s fantastic!! It’s a mixture of 3 different meats, cheese’s, spices and herbs all of which have been passed through a meat grinder.
Along with the meat ravioli we also make cheese filled and I’m in charge of the filling for that. This year I got adventurous and also made a butternut squash filling for us to try.

Even the kids get involved, my two gorgeous granddaughters are here helping out.

Everyone usually settles into their own specific jobs and the ones that they’re most comfortable doing.

We ended up making around 400 ravioli
that day along with 800 cappelletti, yes you heard me right, 800! Of course with all that hard work going on all day we had to nourish ourselves, so pizza’s and salads were ordered for lunch along with some decadent cupcakes for dessert!

Here’s the filling I made for the butternut squash ravioli, a mixture of roasted squash, buttery sauteed shallots, a touch of cream and lots of grated parmesan cheese all blended until smooth in a food processor which I did the day before and then placed in a piping bags. Piping the fillings out result in a very efficient, neat and all in all a much faster way of getting it all done.

When completed all the ravioli are placed single layer on sheet pans and then placed in the freezer until frozen, then eventually they go into freezer bags.
I recently took out a bag of the butternut squash ravioli to have for our dinner, I couldn’t wait to see how they turned out!

They held together perfectly as they were boiling in the water, I love when they don’t break open and not one of them did!

While they were boiling I made a quick brown butter and sage sauce, I just love the smell it brings into the kitchen.

I drizzled the sauce all over my cooked ravioli and then added more parmesan cheese.

It’s hard to describe just how good this was but I’ll try, cheesy, buttery, slightly sweet and creamy texture of the filling, nutty, earthy, decadent flavor of the sauce, and the fresh pasta? well what can I say, there’s nothing like fresh pasta!
If you haven’t ever tackled making fresh pasta why not give it a try, it’s so perfect for the holidays!
Buon Appetito!