Ravioli can tempt the taste buds. Ravioli are perfect pillows of pasta filled with cheese or other ingredients. Ravioli can be dressed with many different sauces, or even be battered and fried for a savory appetizer.
This recipe for “Brown Butter-Balsamic Ravioli” from “Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life” (Ballantine Books) enables home cooks to be as invested in their ravioli meals as they care to be. The abbreviated version of this recipe below offers the Brown Butter-Balsamic Sauce, which can be served on top of store-bought ravioli. Otherwise, you can make ravioli from scratch. The ingredients for a basic egg pasta follow.
Brown Butter-Balsamic Ravioli
• 6 tablespoons butter
• Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or 16 sage leaves
• 2 tablespoons balsamic drizzle (or reduce 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon [packed] light brown sugar down to 2 tablespoons thickened vinegar)
• 1 pound ravioli, homemade or store-bought
• Toasted pine nuts, chopped hazelnuts, or walnuts (optional)
• Grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook ravioli until desired tenderness.
2. While ravioli are boiling, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter in 1-tablespoon tabs and melt. Add the sage, if using, and cook the butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until nutty and deeply golden.
3. Remove the sage to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove the butter from the heat and add the balsamic drizzle or reduced balsamic. Add the sauce and about 1/2 cup salty cooking water from the pasta to the ravioli to coat evenly. Top with nuts, if using, sage or parsley, and pass more cheese.
Basic Egg Pasta
Makes 4 servings
• 4 cups super-fine Italian flour or 3 cups AP flour, plus more for rolling.
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt or fine sea salt
• 2 large eggs plus 3 large yolks, at room temperature
• About 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
• 1 to 3 tablespoons warm water
1. On a large work surface, mound the flour and season with salt, then use your hands to push the flour away from the center of the mound to form a well at the center. In a bowl, whip up the whole eggs, egg yolks, and EVOO and add to the well.
2. Using a fork and working around the perimeter of the well, slowly combine the flour with the eggs and oil until they are incorporated and absorbed. Start to knead the shaggy dough once you get to the outside of the well. If the pasta dough will not come together, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water.
3. When the dough forms, place it in a bowl and then clean the work surface. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface in one direction, away from your body, forming a wave or shell out of the dough. Ball it up, knuckle-knead firmly, then repeat, turning the dough at a 45-degree angle, then starting the knead all over again. Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. (It will look shaggy for a while; don't worry, it will get smooth. Just keep at it!)
4. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let stand an hour or so, or wrap and chill it overnight, bringing it back to room temperature to prepare. Use this dough to make your favorite pasta.