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For a memorable Valentine’s Day, skip the crowded restaurant and pricey prix fixe menus for an intimate evening at home with Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce. Homemade ravioli may sound intimidating, but with a little extra effort, you can make something that is miles ahead of store-bought pasta. Below are our four tips for perfect homemade ravioli:
1. Make Your Own Pasta Dough
The first step in making your own filled pasta starts with making fresh pasta dough. Fresh pasta dough is made by combining eggs and all-purpose flour into a dough, then rolled until it is thin. This delicate homemade dough dries out quickly, so be sure to keep the dough covered with damp cloth at all times throughout the cooking process.
2. Use Dry Filling to Prevent Oozing
Using wet ingredients, like raw vegetables, causes the fillings to ooze out during cooking. Instead, we like to use dry ingredients that will stay in place better, like cooked meats and vegetables. For our Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnut Butter Sauce, we used cooked and pureed squash mixed with Parmesan cheese, butter, and brown sugar to create a filling that is both sweet and savory.
3. Cook with Care
While dried pasta can be cooked at a rolling boil, a gentle boil with lots of water will keep the delicate ravioli from bumping up against each other and losing their delicious filling. Then, rather than draining filled pasta into a colander, they should be gently lifted with a slotted spoon and transferred directly to a warm bowl. If the contents of the pot are dumped into a colander, all that water can break open or crush delicate filled pasta.
4. Pair the Sauce
While chunky, heavy sauces pair well with dried pasta, fresh, filled pasta has a silky, delicate texture—and richness from being made with eggs—that makes it a good partner to smooth, velvety cream- and butter-based sauces. We paired our Squash Ravioli with a browned butter sauce with sage and hazelnut.
Want to learn more? Check out our course on Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce on the Online Cooking School, free through February 26, 2013.