Last Saturday was quite idyllic. I spent the day with my BFF Kristin (pictured above). We went to a pasta class at Whole Foods, walked around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, went shopping and went on a garden tour. Later that evening I had dinner on a patio with good friends Libby, Biffer and my sister Katie. The weather was perfect, one of those days that makes us crazy Minnesotans actually proud to live here.
The class was a highlight of the day. We learned how to make homemade pasta and it’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to try but have been way too intimated. Guess what? It’s super easy! And fun, too. I’ve included step by step photos so you can give it a try. The recipe for the homemade pasta and how to make classic cheese ravioli with pesto is at the end of this post.
Ani Loizzo, the culinary director at Whole Foods is pretty purist about cooking. She doesn’t use fancy equipment like pasta rollers/cutters, just a bowl and her hands and some simple tools like a roller and pizza cutter.
The ricotta filling is easy and delicious. You can swap it out for any filling of your choice.
Basic homemade pasta (recipe credit to Ani Loizzo of Whole Foods)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 – 2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine flour and salt. Make a mound of the flour on a clean countertop. Make a hollow or well in the flour. Crack eggs into flour and beat with a fork. Use your hands to mash flour and egg together until well incorporated (this will take a few minutes). As soon as you have a shaggy but solid mass, start kneading. If the dough is too sticky, add flour a 1/4 cup at a time, until it is tacky. If the dough is too dry, add an egg. Once dough is a solid ball, set it aside and scrape any bits of dough from the counter and re-flour. Knead your dough for six minutes, re-flouring as necessary. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Re-flour counter if necessary and roll out with a rolling pin until 1/8 inch thick or as desired. Dust top with flour, cut into desired shapes with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Boil in salted water for 4-5 minutes or until it floats. Toss with olive oil immediately upon draining so it does not become sticky.
Classic cheese ravioli
2 cups fresh ricotta cheese, well-drained
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon each garlic powder and dried basil
A pinch of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 recipe’s worth of pasta dough
Take your pasta dough and divide in quarters. Roll our each quarter into a square. Cut your big squares into two inch squares. Mix together ricotta, parmesan, egg, garlic, nutmeg, basil and salt. Add one rounded teaspoon to half of the ravioli squares. Wet your finger or a brush with water and brush onto edges. Seal with another ravioli square, crimping with a fork. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add ravioli. Boil until they float. Set aside. Served 2 as a large main course or 6-8 as a first course.
Classic basil pesto
2 cups basil leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
Place basil, parmesan, pine nuts and garlic in the food processor and chop until finely ground. Add lemon juice and turn food processor back on. Steam in olive oil until a smooth paste forms. Season to toaste with salt and pepper. Makes one cup.