Normally, I do not have to do a lot of recipe testing. Pasta dough was giving me the business the other day. The first night I tried making these Hot Sausage Stuffed Ravioli, I just knew the dough was not right. So, I had to trash it and give myself a break. After talking to a friend of mine, she suggested I take a peek at this pasta making video from Guiliano Hazan. Very simple, flour and eggs! Definitely not as much flour as I was using in the batch I had to ditch!
Kneading by hand was for sure the way I wanted to go. As I was kneading, the dough felt a lot different, and way better than my first batch. Delallo has an amazing organic ’00’ flour that I prefer using in a lot of my recipes. Even though the video suggests all-purpose, I opted for the finer flour. Pure perfection!
Choosing a marinara sauce was super easy too. I went with one from Delallo that I received as a gift from them for sharing a recipe of mine. I found a ravioli mold and did use that for the majority of them, but also opted to make a few by hand. Which ones did I prefer? Handmade for sure! If you would like to use a mold, click here!
PREPARING THE PASTA DOUGH
One takeaway from the video, that I swear I shall never forget, is that pasta dough hates cold. Given the debacle of the day prior, and absolutely placing in the fridge, I now understand why the first batch was not so good. With this in mind, the work surface should be warm and your eggs room temperature.
Place the flour on a warm surface (a wooden board is perfect as long as it is wide enough to knead on). With your fingers, create a well for the eggs. First time around, my well was definitely not deep enough. Crack eggs in the well. Take a fork and start scrambling the eggs. Once the eggs have scrambled, start incorporating the flour into the eggs. Just a little at a time.
Push a bit of the flour to the side. You may not need it all. Once the dough has started to form, use your hands to continue to incorporate more flour. If the dough is sticky, add a touch more flour. The dough should have a nice feel to it. I was able to judge just by feel and probably did not use about a quarter cup of the remaining flour.
Start kneading the dough for roughly four to five minutes. The video I linked above is very helping in showing you how to properly knead the dough. When finished, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to set for at least twenty minutes.
HOT SAUSAGE FILLING
The hot sausage filling can be prepared in advance. A day ahead even works fine. Remove the sausage from the casings and brown in a pan. Breaking up as the sausage browns. Now, why do I use sausage in casings and not ground? More flavor!
Once the sausage is browned, allow to cool enough to place in a food processor. Pulse to grind to a paste-like consistency. Transfer ground sausage to a paper towel lined bowl to soak up any excess grease.
Place the ground sausage in a bowl with the remaining filling ingredients. Stir to combine well.
MAKING THE HOT SAUSAGE STUFFED RAVIOLI
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap. Cut dough in half. Flour surface (not too much) and roll flat with a rolling pin. A good judge of just how flat (see pic) is being able to see your hand through the dough. Try to get as thin as possible, but yet still be able to hold the filling. I got so super lucky and not one of the raviolis fell apart. Using a pasta maker attachment to a stand mixer will work also.
Start boiling a pot of salted water. As I mentioned earlier, I used both a mold and free hand to make the ravioli. If you are using a mold, place enough of the flattened dough over the mold to cover the entire surface. Fill each section with a generous amount of the hot sausage filling. Heaping is great!
Place another layer of pasta dough on top of the filling. Using a knife cut the excess dough from the sides and cut out each individual ravioli. One at a time, remove from mold and pinch the edges to seal the dough. Sealing with water is not necessary.
Filling the ravioli without the mold is super easy. Just place a strip of rolled pasta dough on a flat surface. Spoon a bit of the hot sausage mixture on top (spreading out basically as big as you want). Top with another layer of pasta dough and cut out ravioli shapes with a knife. Seal as you would above.
This recipe will yield about two dozen ravioli with plenty of filling leftover. What shall I make with that tonight? Boil the ravioli in batches. Once they surface to the top, allow to boil (soft boil) for about five to six minutes. Test one for doneness.
Heat up the marinara sauce in a pan while the ravioli are boiling. To kind of enhance the marinara, I added a tablespoon or so of olive oil and fresh parsley. Transfer the Hot Sausage Stuffed Ravioli directly from the pot to the marinara with a slotted spoon.
SERVING THE HOT SAUSAGE STUFFED RAVIOLI
Serve ravioli garnished with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. ENJOY with a side salad and homemade Focaccia.