Michelle of Thursday Night Smackdown has invited all comers to jump into the ring with her by initiating a new monthly blog event called First Thursdays. Even though I'm kind of scared of her it sounded like fun, plus there's this scary dish I've been wanting to try forever, so... here we are.
I have to confess that I've broken the rules of Michelle's challenge, which CLEARLY stated we're to make a dish from our cookbook or magazine collection on the first Thursday of the month. I used an online recipe, and fortunately Michelle said she would let it go this time and didn't even swear at me. But I'm still scared of her.
I first saw ravioli filled with eggs yolks a few years ago on the egullet forum. I immediately added it to my list of things I ought to get around to trying and then ignored the whole idea for lack of a pasta machine. I managed to "forget" to buy a pasta machine forever, which went a long way toward justifying my neglect of the recipe, but then a friend went and gave me a damned machine.
But wait, I'd lost the recipe in the meantime, so I put finding it again on my list of things to get to and then ignored it. Reprieve! But the day of reckoning finally arrived last week while I was watching Martha Stewart, which I never, never do (and how this happened is a whole other story), and there was her guest, Odette Fada, demonstrating her recipe for Raviolo with Egg Yolk and Truffle Butter.
Damn. The game was up,the stars aligned, and a smackdown scheduled.
Making the filling was easy enough-- it's just spinach, ricotta and parmesan. But the thing is, I'd never made my own pasta before. Ever.So first I was insecure about the texture of the dough (was it too dry? Were my CSA eggs too small and should I have added an extra to allow for that?). Then, when we started rolling the dough out, I wasn't at ALL prepared for how long the sheets of pasta were getting. The recipe instructed us to keep rolling out a single piece of dough until we'd reached the sixth setting. Now, honestly, by the time we got to the third setting, the piece was over three feet long already! Who has that much counter space?! So we cut it in half and then rolled each piece alternately, but then we had TWO enormously long strips of pasta to contend with. All to make four ravioli! At one point I seriously considered just hanging a piece around my neck like Christmas lights.
I will say that I experienced a real thrill as I watched a lump of dough become beautiful thin authentic-looking strips of pasta. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to try this?
Mid-post disclaimer: Michelle always takes photos of her Smackdown prep and of the meal as it comes together and I wanted to do that too, but I had my hands full of pasta and there was no way I could coordinate the camera at the same time.
Making the raviolo was kinda fun. You pipe a circle of the ricotta filling onto the pasta and then nestle an egg yolk inside the circle. Easy!
Another disclaimer: I could have stopped to take a photo at that point but I forgot, in my excitement at seeing it all start to come together.
Placing the second strip of pasta over the filling and trying to get air bubbles out before sealing it was not so easy. We definitely had air bubbles, which manifested just as soon as we dropped the ravioli into the boiling water.
They only cook for two minutes, so we had a mad scramble to clean up the area we'd rolled the pasta out on, which is also our designated photo opportunity location.
Last disclaimer: So you get two photos of the finished product which are basically exactly alike and I don't want to hear any complaints. I'll do better next time.
Fortunately Jack had started browning butter while I was assembling the raviolo, and we'd made a salad while the pasta dough was resting, so THAT was all ready and waiting.
Of course we had no truffles handy but we did have some truffle butter in the freezer and added a dollop to the browned butter for flavor.
End result? As Jack said, "Oh my giddy God these are good."
We'll make them again, with half the amount of dough. And I'd like to try smaller ones with quail egg yolks, too. I'm thinking they could be assembled an hour ahead of time and covered and refrigerated, so I could serve to friends with a little less in the way of rushing around. I mean, there's no way these babies get made to order in a restaurant, right?
In case you missed it the first time, click the link to find the recipe for Raviolo with Egg Yolk and Truffle Butter.