I'll let you all in on a little secret that maybe I've mentioned before: Cooking, while often time-consuming and labour intensive, is not really all that hard. At least many forms of it aren't very hard to do. I'll grant you that trimming the membranes off a piece of foie gras or slicing a perfect cut of sashimi are probably pretty damn difficult, but who really wants to do that at home? But I'd say most forms of cooking have their root in simple methodology and cleverly matching ingredients.
One form of cooking that I think we tend to overlook as being something to do at home that's dead easy, and allows for a great deal of creativity, is making pasta from scratch. As happens so often, Kari and I were watching the Food Network and one of the chefs was making homemade ravioli. He made it look so damned easy that I figured we could give it a try. Kari had been in possession of a pasta making machine for a while but never took the time to use it. Now it was time. She did a bit of quick Internet research and found that pasta dough is a straight-forward recipe that involves a bit of technique, but is still dead easy. She used Alton Brown's recipe as follows:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
By Hand: On a clean surface make a well with the flour. In a measuring cup mix the eggs, water and oil and salt. Pour the wet mixture slowly into the flour and mix with your 2 fingers until all of the wet is incorporated. Do not force the dough to take all of the flour. If you are
going to use a pasta machine to roll out the dough you may at this point form the dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to rest.
So, really, if you're not too picky on how it looks, it doesn't take much manual dexterity to make a functional ravioli.
The next step is to cook the pasta and sauce it!
In this case, Kari wasn't feeling the standard tomato sauce, so she made this tasty mix of onion and butter. But I'll be damned if I can remember how she made it. In any case, basically you want to place the raviolis in a pot of boiling water, same as any pasta. But it should be noted that fresh pasta takes very little time to cook, no more than 5 minutes. Just use a slotted spoon to remove the raviolis and shake off excess water. Serve topped with sauce and grated parmesan, pecorino, asiago (or whatever other cheese you like).
|Dinner is served!|
Oh and in case you were wondering which filling was better, I'd say the chorizo-Emmenthal, but only by millimetres.