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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

11.06.2000

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holy ravioli!  
an illustrated guide to making homemade ravioli |
1 2 3

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, and especially when cool, damp weather makes the outdoors mean and unwelcoming, I like to be in my kitchen, which is airy and happy and warm. Like pretty much every twentysomething I know, I tend to forget, during the stressful work week, that cooking a dinner doesn't have to mean looking for the fastest and easiest way to get a decent meal on the table. It always feels like a little surprise when I get caught up in concocting some elaborate meal and realize that, oh yeah, I really love doing this. I don't just cook because I love to eat (although I do, which is why I don't believe in diets); I cook because I love to cook.

Growing up in a Chinese-American household, I was lucky enough to learn early on that the act of preparing a meal can be as much fun as enjoying the tasty results. Whether it was scallion pancakes, or zong zi (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, a sort of Chinese version of a tamale), or pork dumplings, I'd find myself getting lost in the repetition of hand-crafting these complicated little food packets, one-by-one. It's soothing, calming, almost meditative, once you get into the rhythm of it. A sort of food therapy, if you will.

Lately I've discovered the joys of homemade ravioli. It all began with an amazing butternut squash ravioli that my boyfriend ordered from Elle, our nearby fancy eatery of choice. In the past, I'd been unimpressed with filled pastas, which have a tendency to be over-stuffed with grainy ricotta and suffocated in a heavy cream sauce, but this ravioli was pure heaven: light, simple, and with just the right balance of sweet squash filling and savory sage brown butter. The next weekend, I set out to make my own.

Making ravioli is essentially the same process as making Chinese dumplings, and if anything, slightly simpler, since there's none of that folding and pleating that dumplings require.  Once you've gotten the hang of rolling out the dough to just the right thickness -- essentially, as thin as you can get it without riddling it with holes -- you can easily churn out 40 or so ravioli in under two hours. And if you're making ravioli for guests, you can easily mix up the filling a day ahead, stuff your pasta the morning of, then pop those little suckers in the fridge until your guests have arrived. Fresh pasta is super-fast to cook up, and your friends are sure to be impressed with how little fuss it seems to take to get that ravioli on the table.

Ready to give it a try? Check out our illustrated directions.

this way please ...

 

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