So my first Daring Baker's challenge went down a treat which got my excited about what the month's Daring Cook's challenge was going to be...
Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!
The concept of noodles for this challenge was applied loosely and we were encouraged to use flavours and textures from our cultural background. I spent quite a few days wracking my brains trying to figure out a do-able Malaysian noodle dish. I was tempted to make rice noodles from scratch but at the last hour chickened out and decided to stick to making pasta instead!
This was the first time I've attempted making pasta and what a success it was! I was torn between making beetroot fettuccine and ravioli and ended up going for the latter. I stuffed the ravioli with spinach, ricotta and five spice and made a simple olive oil, garlic and sage sauce to go with it.
The ravioli had such a lovely bouncy texture and tasted so fresh! Will definitely be making it again, but not before I attempt beetroot and spinach fettuccine!
Ingredients for Pasta
200g pasta flour. I used Very Strong Canadian White Flour
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tablespoons cold water
Ingredients for Filling
3 garlic cloves, chopped
300g fresh spinach
200g ricotta cheese
Zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon five spice
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ingredients for Sauce
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Mix flour and salt and pile on to a flat surface, making a mound. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and olive oil (as shown in the picture above).
Using a fork, slowly start a whisking motion, incorporating the flour and eggs. When the dough starts coming together, knead the dough using both hands, pouring a little water, every so often to maintain slight moisture. Do not be tempted to add more flour!
Kneading the dough should take about 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic and not sticky. Wrap in cling film tightly and leave to rest for about 30-60 minutes. I left my dough to rest for an hour.
In the meantime, you can choose to take a break, as kneading pasta dough is hard work(!) or you can move on and start preparing the filling.
Start off by heating oil in a pan and add the garlic to it. Sauté for about a minute or so and add the spinach leaves. Continue cooking until spinach leaves are just wilted. Transfer spinach leaves to a colander and let drain excess liquid.
In a separate bowl, add the five spice, salt and pepper to ricotta. Chop the drained spinach leaves and add to the ricotta mix.
To assemble the ravioli, cut the dough in pieces slightly bigger than golf balls. If you have a pasta machine, lucky you! Otherwise using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a heavily floured surface. At this point, use as much flour as you want, it won’t affect the texture of the ravioli. Also keep the remaining flour covered to prevent it drying out.
Roll until you get thin layers (as thin as you can get them) and set aside. Roll out another layer of a similar size.
Spoon spinach mixture on top of one layer, making sure you leave sufficient space between each dollop. Lightly wet the dough around each filling with water and place the second layer of dough on top.
Press the dough down gently with your fingers to seal the filling in and also to remove any air trapped (It will prevent the ravioli from bursting when cooked). I used a cookie cutter to cut my ravioli pieces but you can also use a knife or espresso cups!
Repeat with the remaining pasta dough and filling.
To cook the ravioli, bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Add the ravioli and cook for about 4-5 minutes until al dente.
For the garlic oil sauce, simply heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan. Add crushed garlic, sage leaves and chilli flakes and fry for a few minutes until sage leaves are crunchy. Remove the crushed garlic and pour on top of ravioli. Add a sprinkling of cheese.