How to Make Ravioli with a ravioli tray

Hand making ravioli is a labour of love. There are more processes involved than other pasta making - the dough, the rolling, the filling, the cutting - before you’ve cooked it and fashioned a beautiful sauce.

However, your efforts will be richly rewarded. There is something completely magical about these little filled parcels and how the filling pools into the sauce as you cut into the silky soft casing.

One of the many virtues of ravioli making is the creativity it affords you. The sauce/filling combination possibilities are endless. You can even play around with adding ingredients to the dough to add flavour and colour.

Most ravioli recipes will guide you through rolling sheets of pasta, laying one on top of the other with dots of the filling sandwiched between, pushing out the excess air, and cutting out using a ravioli cutter. However, using a ravioli tray takes some of the work out of this for you and you can produce a much higher volume of ravioli in less time and with less waste.


What is ravioli dough made of?

Ravioli comes from the old italian word riavvolgere meaning to wrap and mastering the ravioli wrapping, or dough, is the place to start on your ravioli journey.

Ravioli traditionally uses an egg pasta dough with 00 flour. 00 is a very finely milled low-protein flour and, combined with eggs, creates smooth sheets of rich pasta with plenty of give which you need for housing delicious fillings.

Note: You can replace some of the 00 with semola flour for a slightly rougher texture with more bite.
ravioli dough

The general rule for egg pasta is 1 large egg to 100g flour. However, flour can be fickle and quantities may vary according to temperature, humidity and the moisture level will depend on the size of your eggs which can vary quite wildly.

The key is not to add extra liquid until you’ve given the dough a good knead for a few minutes. I’m repeatedly fascinated at how a shaggy, dry-looking mixture can turn into a smooth silky dough after a few minutes of kneading.

If it’s still too dry after kneading for a while, add water very gradually by wetting your hands and kneading until you have the consistency you want. I would always err on the dryer rather than the wetter side for pasta making. It should be soft, but not sticky.

It is vital that you rest all pasta dough for around 30 minutes in something airtight to allow the flour to continue to hydrate and for the gluten to relax ready for rolling out.


How to Make the Pasta Dough 

Egg pasta dough (for ravioli to serve 4):

Method

  • Tip the flour or flours out onto a clean, dry work surface, preferably wooden. The grain of the wood will do some of the work for you when kneading and shaping the dough.
  • Make a large well in the centre of the flour, either with your hands or with the bottom of a bowl.
  • Pour in the beaten eggs and use a fork to gradually incorporate the flour from the outside into the liquid in the centre.
  • Once it’s mostly incorporated, bring together into a dough and knead for around 10 minutes until you have a smooth, silky dough that is soft to the touch.
  • Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes wrapped in cling film or another airtight container.

How do I use a ravioli tray?


How to roll the dough for ravioli

  1. Once the dough has rested, it’s time to roll. A pasta machine is strongly recommended for this to save your arms, but you can do it by hand with a rolling pin and some elbow grease.
  2. Cut your dough into quarters and keep three wrapped up. Shape the first quarter into a rough rectangle with your hands then roll out to around 2cm with a rolling pin.
  3. Top tip: The closer to a rectangle you can get, the more even the shape will be when it’s rolled out.
  4. Pass the dough through the widest setting on the pasta machine, fold in half, and pass through again.
  5. Continue to pass the dough through the rollers, decreasing the gap by one setting each time.
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What happens if my rectangle isn't even?

When you get to the fourth or fifth roll, fold the ends in like a book, return to the widest setting and repeat the rolling process all the way down to the second or third to last setting. This is to get a nice even long rectangle, perfect for the ravioli tray.

How thick should my ravioli sheets be?

The thickness of your sheet depends on a few factors. If you’re new to making ravioli, or you’re planning for a wetter filling like ricotta, I would aim for a slightly thicker sheet to avoid the dreaded holes.  If you’re a dab hand or you know that your filling isn’t going to seep too much into the pasta, you can push it a lot thinner. Pasta will always thicken a little as it rests and relaxes after rolling.

Ravioli tray rolling

How to fill and cut ravioli using a ravioli tray

  1. Cut your just-rolled pasta sheet into two lengths. Dust the tray and one side of the sheet with semolina.
  2. Lay one pasta sheet, semolina side down, over the tray. You will need an excess of at least 1cm on each side of the tray.
  3. Gently compress each hole with your fingers then spoon or pipe in a little of your filling of choice.
  4. Brush a little water or egg white across the top of the bottom sheet then lay the second sheet on top.
  5. Top Tip: Be sparing with the liquid here or you’ll end up with a sloppy mess!
  6. Use a small rolling pin to press down onto the sheet and separate into individual ravioli.
  7. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
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How to cook ravioli

  1. Once you’ve pressed out a tray of ravioli. Transfer to a sheet dusted with semolina and arrange in one layer, uncovered so that they aren’t touching. 
  2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tip your ravioli gently into the pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pasta and your choice of filling.
  3. The ravioli will float to the surface when they’re nearly done, then leave them for a minute more to cook the edges of the pasta through.
  4. Fish out the ravioli with a slotted spoon and place into your sauce to cook for a minute more so that they soak up the flavour.
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How can I store my ravioli if I don't want to cook it immediately?

You can store ravioli in the fridge for a day or so but if your filling is on the wetter side they may start to break down. I find that it’s best to freeze them in a sandwich bag or tupperware, dusted liberally with semolina so they don't stick. Then, you can cook them from frozen.


Three ravioli recipes with the perfect sauce pairing

The success of a ravioli dish relies on the relationship between the sauce and the filling. Finding the right balance of textures, acidity, richness and heat has the potential to turn a good plate of ravioli into a life changing one. I’m not going to suggest that these three recipes are going to change your life but I can guarantee you’ll enjoy eating them.

1. Ricotta ravioli with nduja butter sauce

‘Nduja is certainly having a moment and it’s used here in a rich buttery sauce that contrasts perfectly with a cool, mild ricotta cheese.

2. Squid Ink and Prawn ravioli with tomato and fennel sauce

Squid ink, or cuttlefish ink as it is more commonly found, is mostly used here for dramatic effect. It does have a vague sea-like flavour to it but it smells much stronger than it tastes so don’t be put off by it. The sauce is vaguely reminiscent of a seafood bisque and, if you can lay your hands on shell on prawns with heads and you feel inclined, you could make a quick prawn stock with the heads and shells and replace it with the water in the recipe.

3. Smoked potato and sweetcorn ravioli with chilli butter sauce

This is a great recipe for when sweetcorn is in season and you can get beautiful cobs of plump, sweet kernels. The flavour profile in this recipe is loosely based on dishes I had when on holiday in Mexico a few years ago. You can leave out the smoking of the potatoes if you don’t have the equipment, time or inclination. However, I’d suggest adding an extra pinch of smoked paprika to the filling mixture or using smoked salt to achieve some of that smoky flavour. If you can’t get


Ricotta Ravioli with Nduja Butter Sauce

Ricotta Ravioli


    For the pasta and filling

    • 1 quantity egg pasta dough (see above)
    • 150g ricotta
    • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche (optional – adds a little freshness)
    • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • Pinch salt and pepper

    For the sauce

    • 25g 'nduja (or more to taste)
    • 50g butter
    • Handful basil leaves

     How to Make Ricotta Ravioli with 'Nduja Butter Sauce

    1. Spoon the ricotta into a bowl with the creme fraiche, parmesan and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
    2. Roll out the pasta sheets, fill with the mixture and shape the ravioli as described above.
    3. Gently heat the ‘nduja and butter together in a deep frying pan until the nduja has dissolved into the butter.
    4. Cook the ravioli as described above.
    5. Once cooked, add a large spoonful of the pasta water to the sauce along with the cooked ravioli.
    6. Cook over a medium heat for a minute or so until you have a shiny sauce that coats the pasta.
    7. Remove from the heat and add the basil leaves. Stir so that the residual heat wilts the leaves then divide between four bowls and devour.
    © Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

    Squid Ink and Prawn ravioli with tomato and fennel sauce

    Squid Ink Ravioli


     For the dough


     For the filling

    • Handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
    • Zest of one lemon
    • 300g raw tiger prawns
    • 2 tablespoons double cream
    • Large pinch salt and pepper

    For the sauce

    • 4 large, ripe plum tomatoes
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large or two small banana shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    • 100ml white wine, water or prawn stock
    • Teaspoon salt

     How To Make Squid Ink Ravioli

    1. Make the dough using the method above, but replacing one egg with the squid ink. Beat the squid ink into the eggs before adding to the flour.
    2. To make the filling, blitz parsley and lemon zest in a food processor until finely chopped.
    3. Then add the prawns and blitz again, briefly so that you have a rough paste with small chunks of prawn remaining.
    4. Note: You want to avoid chopping the prawns in the food processor for any length of time as the heat from the motion will start to cook them.
    5. Then add the cream, salt and pepper and very briefly blitz for the last time.
    6. Roll out the pasta sheets, fill with the mixture and shape the ravioli as described above.
    7. Top Tip: You may need to dust the ravioli tray with extra semolina as it's a wetter dough and more liable to stick.
    8. To make the sauce, start by peeling your tomatoes. Cut a small cross in the bottom of each and place in a pan of boiling water for about a minute. The heat will allow the skins to slip off easily. Roughly chop the peeled tomatoes and set aside.
    9. Gently heat the olive oil then add the shallot and garlic. Cook over a low heat until soft. You don’t want any colour at all on them.
    10. Bash the fennel seeds to split them in a pestle and mortar or press with the flat of a knife and add to the pan.
    11. Cook for another minute or so then add the chopped tomatoes, wine, stock or water and salt. Cook with the lid off over a medium heat until the tomatoes have broken down.
    12. Cook the ravioli using the method above then add to the sauce and cook for a further minute. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil.
    © Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

    Smoked potato and sweetcorn ravioli with chilli butter sauce

    Smoked Ravioli


    For the pasta and filling

    • 1 quantity egg pasta dough (see above)
    • 2 medium baking potatoes
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 sweetcorn cobs or 250g tinned sweetcorn
    • 2 tablespoons double cream
    • Pinch smoked, sweet paprika
    • ½ teaspoon salt

    For the sauce

    • 100g butter
    • Teaspoon chilli flakes
    • Handful fresh oregano or marjoram leaves (optional)

     How To Make Smoked Potato Ravioli

    1. Start by baking the potatoes for around an hour at 180C.
    2. Note: Baking the potatoes, rather than boiling them draws a lot of the water out so that you have a drier filling.
    3. Once baked, scoop out the filling and mash with the butter in a bowl. Smoke using a smoking gun for 2 minutes until they take on a mild smoky flavour.
    4. Cook the sweetcorn in boiling water until tender. When cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off the cob, place in a food processor and blitz until you have a rough puree.
    5. Add the puree to the smoked potato mixture along with the cream, paprika and salt and mix well.
    6. Roll out the pasta sheets, fill with the mixture and shape the ravioli as described above.
    7. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a deep frying pan until foaming. Add the chilli flakes and remove from the heat.
    8. Cook the ravioli as described above.
    9. Once cooked, add a large spoonful of the pasta water to the sauce along with the cooked ravioli. Cook over a medium heat for a minute or so until you have a shiny sauce that coats the pasta.
    10. Remove from the heat and add the oregano leaves (if using). Divide between four bowls, spooning the extra butter sauce over the ravioli.
    © Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024



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