To those who celebrate, happy Easter! To those who don’t, hope you had a great weekend with beautiful weather! To be honest, I don’t have the fondest memories of this particular holiday. There’s a photo that my parents keep prominently displayed on our bookcase at home where the little toddler-me is sobbing hysterically in the embrace of a giant bunny-man. I guess they find it funny or something.
Also, I seem to remember Easter egg hunts as mostly involving lots of running and not much egg-getting. I would spy a target, madly dash toward it, and just as I would get close enough for the snatch someone would scoop it up right before my startled eyes. Maybe that was the real reason I was crying, not the staring plastic eyes and bunny teeth the size of my head?
But the egg, I will agree, is something to celebrate. I have mentioned before my reverence for the glorious egg – nature’s recipe for a nutrition explosion, able to be cooked or baked just short of a million different ways – it’s right up there with my appreciation for the magic powers of some simple salt and pepper. I know I’m not the only one either; clearly, someone loved the egg enough to compose a whole song in honor of it.
Recently, I’ve become a little addicted to the TV show Worst Cooks in America…I’ve actually memorized every episode available on Netflix 😛 For some reason I expected it to be really corny and dramatic, but instead it’s all funny and heartwarming and also really educational – it’s really fun to pick up little cooking tips from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay while they’re teaching the recruits.
This fantastic egg-centric recipe was featured in one of the season finales and has been on my mind ever since watching it – Raviolo al Uovo, “egg in ravioli”. The mere thought of a runny, ooey-gooey egg yolk just makes me weak in the knees. Add to that the winning combination of silky homemade egg pasta and fresh creamy ricotta – be still my heart!
This weekend also gave me the perfect opportunity to take my new pasta machine for a spin. Now don’t stop reading thinking you can’t make this recipe without a pasta machine – homemade pasta is definitely possible to make by hand, otherwise how would those Italian great great great great grandmothers have done it all those centuries ago? The pasta machine just makes things a little more efficient, and also gives me cool new toys to play with like fettuccine and angel hair spaghetti cutters. The recipe for the dough should be modified slightly if you’re making by hand though, so I’ll include instructions for both. If you’ve got a subscription to America’s Test Kitchen (I don’t, but the free membership gives access to the most recent posts so I save them when I can), here’s their superb explanation of the different needs of a homemade pasta dough when rolled out by hand vs. machine.
Anne Burrell has a recipe up for her version of Raviolo al Uovo, but I actually went with Serious Eat’s recipe because they have never failed me before in the realm of food science – read here for the their analysis of the best ingredient ratio for homemade pasta. I also didn’t have any bacon on hand so went with a simple sage-butter sauce – feel free to use whatever sauce you like, though something lighter than a tomato-based sauce would go best with these ravioli.
If you’re still a little intimidated by the thought of making homemade pasta but still want in on the delicious runny yolky goodness, maybe try cutting out rounds from premade lasagna sheets? But I hope that you try your hand at fresh pasta eventually – it’s so much simpler than you’d think (literally just eggs and flour – how magical!), and got a beautiful richly smooth texture you simply don’t find in dry box pasta. Impress your next date by proving you’re at least as good as the Worst Cooks of America! 😉
Raviolo al Uovo (Runny Egg Yolk Ravioli)
adapted from Serious Eats
makes 10 ravioli, about 4-5 servings
low(er) carb, low sugar
gluten free and dairy free suggestions available
pasta dough – for gluten free pasta, try this recipe by Serious Eats
- about 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg *fyi – if looking to half the recipe, you can whisk the egg in a bowl, use half, save the rest for the next time you make an omelet/scrambled eggs – or just make the whole dough recipe and only use half of it, using the rest for noodles or some other type of ravioli
- if rolling by hand, add 1 more egg yolk and 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 egg yolks
- 10 oz fresh ricotta – I like Trader Joe’s brand as it doesn’t have unnatural thickeners – or vegan ricotta (yes, it exists and actually isn’t bad at all!)
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- optional: pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- sage leaves
- reserved pasta water (the water you use to cook the ravioli)
- First, make the pasta dough. Dump the flour out on a clean work surface, mix in the salt. Make a “volcano” out of it (make a well in the center). Put the egg and egg yolks, as well as oil if rolling by hand, into the well. Use your hands or forks to gradually mix the wet ingredients with the sides of the well until a very sticky dough forms.
- Use your hands to gradually add more flour from the sides of the well to the sticky dough until it becomes less, well, sticky and kneadable into a soft smooth dough. You likely will not use all of the flour, so don’t let the dough get too dry – it’s fine if the dough is actually a little tacky. A test to see if the dough is done, cut into it and if you see lots air bubbles (a few is fine), keep kneading. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature. If using the machine a shorter rest time is fine, but if rolling by hand then let rest for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. This step allows the gluten network to relax so that the dough does not snap back when you roll it.
- Meanwhile, make the ricotta filling. Press the ricotta filling between paper towels for about 5 minutes. Put the drained ricotta in a bowl and mix in the parmesan, lemon juice, and nutmeg if using. Salt and pepper to taste; refrigerate while not using.
- if using machine: divide dough in half; cover one half and shape the other into a rectangle. If at any point the dough seems too sticky, lightly flour before rolling through the machine. Roll through the widest setting on the machine. Fold one third over, then the other. Roll again through the widest setting. Repeat this step (called lamination) about three times total. Then decrease one setting in width and roll through – do not laminate. Continue decreasing until the second-to last setting (ie, do not roll out to the thinnest last setting). Cover rolled out sheet while repeating the rolling step with the other half of dough.
- if rolling by hand: divide dough in half; cover one half and roll the other into a square roughly 7-8 inches each side. Always rolling the rolling pin (or bottle if you don’t have a pin) out from the center to the edges (so not from edge to edge), roll the dough out as thin as you can, about 1/16th of an inch thick, keeping the short side about 7-8 inches long. Cover rolled out sheet while repeated the rolling step with the other half of dough.
- Use a roughly 3.5 inch diameter circle cookie cutter (if you don’t have a cookie cutter, find a can or water/wine glass of roughly that size) to cut out rounds for the ravioli. If you haven’t gotten enough, then you can ball up the scraps and re-roll.
- Cover any ravioli rounds you are not working on to keep them from drying out. Use a piping bag fit with piping tip or ziploc bag with end snipped off to pipe a ring of the ricotta filling about 1 1/2 inch in diameter (so leaving about an inch away from the edge of each dough round). Pipe another ring on top of the first ring, to increase the height. Repeat with half of the ravioli rounds.
- Carefully separate an egg yolk using shell-halves or your fingers. Gently slip the egg yolk into one ricotta nest. If the egg yolk breaks, scoop it out and use anothe roneLightly brush one of the unfilled dough rounds with egg white. Gently press the unfilled dough round over the filled one; do not press directly over the egg yolk to avoid it breaking, but press out any air bubbles and gently seal the edges. Cover and repeat with all remaining ravioli
- Bring a pot of water to boil. While waiting, melt the butter in a large saute pan and fry the sage leaves until crispy and the butter is slightly browned. Take off heat.
- Cook the ravioli in the boiling water for 90-120 seconds, no more. Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer to a separate plate. Add lemon juice and as many ravioli as you can fit to the saute pan and put back on medium heat. Add the pasta water a tablespoon at a time, about 4-8 tablespoons, until the sauce is as loosey goosey as you like. Cook the ravioli for a few minutes more, remove, then add the rest and cook those too. Add more pasta water if the sauce gets too dry.
- Serve immediately, salt and pepper to taste. Leftovers will last a few days in the fridge, but unlike most ravioli they do not freeze well because egg yolk acts funny once defrosted. Reheat in a pan with sauce for best quality leftovers!
Nutritional description: these are not normal ravioli – one or two of them is more than enough to keep you full. Dairy and eggs are a fantastic source of protein, as well as vitamins B, D, and calcium among other things. One thing to note is that egg yolks have been vilified in the past for their high cholesterol content, but recent research suggests that dietary cholesterol particularly from a nutritious source like eggs do not have a strong link with high serum cholesterol. Still, not saying you should eat 10 of these – due to saturated fat content, keep your portion in moderation.
Nutritional information (without gluten free or dairy free substitutions, using machine-rolled pasta recipe): Calories 180, Total Fat 11.3g, Saturated Fat 5.6g, Cholesterol 256.4mg, Carbs 10.8g, Fiber 0.2g, Sugars 0.3g, Protein 9.2g, Sodium 199.6mg
Nutritional information (without gluten free or dairy free substitutions, using hand-rolled pasta recipe): Calories 198, Total Fat 13.1g, Saturated Fat 6g, Cholesterol 274.8mg, Carbs 10.8g, Fiber 0.2g, Sugars 0.4g, Protein 9.4g, Sodium 199.6mg