April 21

Buffalo Ricotta Ravioli

I’m a swearing woman. I feel that swearing is a great way to get out all my frustrations, versus the alternative of punching something or someone. I have delicate little girl hands. They wouldn’t be very happy if I beat things up when I was angry. Swearing doesn’t hurt anyone if I’m yelling angry words at inanimate objects. The food processor doesn’t have feelings. Neither does the ravioli maker.

Buffalo Ricotta RavioliThat being said, I had some quite colorful words to share with my small appliances this afternoon while I was working on my ravioli. The last time I made ravioli, we were still living in the Bremerton apartment and I used a knife to cut out my ravioli squares and a fork to crimp the edges. I hated every last bit of that meal. It was decent tasting, but it wasn’t good enough for what effort I put into it. Having had such a bad time, I refused to make it. I’m fine with what Costco sells and making my own sauce to pour over it. Let that company mass produce the little doughy triangles, squares, and circles. They obviously know what they’re doing. Meanwhile, I’ll sit in the kitchen swearing at my dinner about how it better be #$!@ing delicious, and that I’m gonna go #$!@ing ape$#!@ if everything breaks out of their dough shells in the boiling process. I tried to contain my colorful anger, as The Fellow™ was on the phone with his mum and I didn’t want to interrupt their lovely conversation with my sailor mouth ;)

Anyway…

For Christmas this past year, a good friend gave me a gift card to Sur la Table and it took me MONTHS to figure out what I wanted to buy. It took an actual trip to the nearest Sur la Table store in Seattle for me to decide; I didn’t have to pick and choose items and worry about shipping costs. I picked up a couple little things, including a ravioli maker. I wanted to try making ravioli again. I wanted to try it a way I hadn’t tried before. Obviously this little press was going to make it easier and streamline the process a little, right?

NO EFFING WAY.

What a nightmare.

Some of the main issues I ran into included the dough not staying sealed. No amount of pushing on the ravioli tray form would make it stay shut. Half of them, I had no issue with; they came out easily enough. The other half. Ugh. Then there was the sticking of the dough to the tray itself. In trying to make them gently fall out or gently tugging them out, they’d burst open. The ricotta was starting to turn room temperature and was secreting cheese juices, which you would think would help the dough stick together, but oh no. Falling apart. Left and right.

The kitchen’s a mess, my back hurts, the dog feels neglected because I spent way too much time working on one meal instead of playing with him… but it tasted pretty damn good. Way better than my only other ravioli making endeavor (and not to mention my tastes have changed drastically since that time and I’ve learned to enjoy new flavors), but still a pain in the patoot. Maybe I’m missing something when it comes to making ravioli. Maybe there’s some streamlined process that I don’t know about that would make the next ravioli adventure so. much. easier. I would like to know these secrets, if so. Because the end product was tasty and I would very much like to try a different flavor combo, but not if I’m going to get all huffy and frustrated like I did tonight.

The fun aside to this meal was that I ground the buffalo myself. I bought about $5 worth of buffalo sirloin steaks last weekend and used my handy dandy KitchenAid grinder attachment to turn it into ground buffalo, which is going for about $9 a pound. I’d say I got about a pound of meat out of the two sirloin steaks, too.

Buffalo Ricotta Ravioli

dough source:  Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen, Basic Pasta Dough

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
5 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3-7 Tablespoons water, as needed
1/2 pound ground buffalo
5 ounces part skim ricotta
1/4 cup zucchini, minced
2 Tablespoons green bell pepper, minced
1/3 cup balsamic cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup pecorino romano or balsamic cheese

Directions

To Make the Dough

1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and olive oil together until they are smooth.

2. In a food processor bowl, combine the flour and salt and pulse several times to mix. Add the yolk mixture to the flour. While processing the wet and dry, add one tablespoon of water at a time until the dough becomes damp without being tacky and starts to form pea shaped crumbs.

3. Fold out the dough from the food processor bowl into a clean, lightly floured surface and proceed to knead with the heels of your hands until the dough is smooth. Shape into a flat disc and cover with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Store in a cool, dry place for 30 minutes.

In the meantime…

4. Cook the ground buffalo in a medium skillet, adding a bit of salt and pepper, to taste. Once cooked all the way through and any excess oils have been removed, set aside and let the meat cool.

5. In a small bowl, combine the minced zucchini, bell peppers, balsamic cheese, and ricotta. Add anywhere from half to three-quarters of the buffalo meat to the cheese and veggie mixture (once cooled), and stir. Add a pinch of pepper for additional flavor.

6. Unwrap the dough after 30 minutes and roll out to about an 1/8″ thickness. There are several different ways to make the ravioli:  use a ravioli maker, use a ravioli stamp, a pastry sealer, or a sharp knife and a fork for edge crimping. I used a 24-ravioli tray and the dough recipe makes more than enough.

7. Stuff the dough with the combination of veggies, cheese, and meat; seal, and carefully plop them into a pot of boiling, salted water.

8. When the ravioli starts to float in the water, they are ready! Strain them from the water, leaving them to sit in the bot they boiled in, and fold in the sauce (below).

To Make the Sauce

9. In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, pesto, and the 1/4 cup of pecorino romano or balsamic cheese. Let simmer on medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the remainder of the cooked buffalo meat. Pour over the cooked ravioli.

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