Eggs-treme Cooking Part II: Homemade Ravioli

13 May

Dear Girls,

Now that you’ve finally recovered from the cliff-hanger at the end of my last post, I give you the conclusion of the egg saga.  Don’t worry, there’s a happy ending!

-Emma

See...happy ending!



Ah, the dark side.  Just like in Star Wars, everything that is good in the world has an opposing evil force.  In this case, the incestuous tale of murder and revenge is told by the egg.  Egg whites are pure and good, while the yolk holds dark secrets and lurks in alleyways.  While I’ve always suspected this (the force is strong in me), I never knew the extent of the yolk’s evil until recently, when I found myself with a surplus of 12 yolks after making an angel food cake (See Part I).  In search of something creative to do with my seemingly innocent yolks, I went to google.  What I found was shocking; the discussion board conversations on uses for egg yolks went something like this:

“Oh, I just love eating plain scrambled egg whites in the morning!  But what to do with the yolks?  I like to make desserts that are high in cholesterol, then give them away to people who’s health I care about less than my own.  Any new ideas to add novelty to my egg-separation routine?”

Responses invariably include recipes for custards, brulees, and hollandaise sauce.  But in between is something far more insidious.  Something along the lines of:  “Why don’t you just eat them, you snobby ignorant flavorphile!”  Apparently there exists some serious animosity toward people who don’t eat egg yolks.  Welcome to the dark side.  I mean, some of these forums turn nasty.  Even I was slightly perturbed by these egg white omelet eaters who are clearly not up to date on the latest research into the nutritious benefits of eating whole eggs.  Pro-egg-whiters recommend everything from face-masks to feeding them to the dog.  In other words, do anything but eat them yourself because they’re evil.  But I had to bite my tongue–because here I was, asking Darth Vader for his favorite use for egg yolks.

Having ventured recently into the world of bride-to-be weight loss, I was less than interested in making a triple batch of chocolate pudding than I might normally be.  But finding something sugar-free to make with my egg yolks was harder than I suspected.  Mainly because I’m a picky woman when it comes to my cooking adventures, and hollandaise sauce just wasn’t going to cut it.

I decided to poll my friends (people who, in general, would never recommend making a face mask with left over egg yolks) for ideas in the savory, sugar-free category.  If there was the potential for vegetable involvement, all the better.  With the help of my brother and sous-chef at Leaf Kitchen, I finally settled on homemade pasta.  The last time (which also happened to be the first time) that I made fresh pasta was with his help–and my memories of that activity are slightly traumatic.  But, no matter–this was for the good of the galaxy.  If the project was a disaster, at least I hadn’t fed the delicious orange blobs of omega fatty acids to my dog.  (By the way, if you ever have one stray yolk instead of a jar or 12, feeding it to your dog is really not the worst thing to do–it will taste yummo to him, and make his fur shiny!)

I thankfully stumbled upon a recipe for pasta dough which involved only yolks (the irony in my decision to make pasta dough is that traditional recipes call for whole eggs, and I only had yolks!) on my favorite recipe site, epicurious.com.  The entire recipe is for Soft Egg Ravioli, which amazingly involves cooking a whole egg inside each ravioli.  While this sounds amazing and delicious, not only was I not in the mood for the intricacies of this recipe, I was out of whole eggs (another reference to the irony of needing more eggs in order to use up my yolks).  The pasta dough alone calls for:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons (or more) water
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil

Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl; make shallow well in center. Add egg yolks, 6 tablespoons water, and oil to well. Using fork, whisk water, egg yolks, and oil. Gradually work in flour from around egg mixture to form crumbly mixture:

Crumbly, indeed!

Knead in bowl until dough comes together, adding more water by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if dry. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes:

Another of my famous "action shots"

Divide into 4 equal portions. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest on work surface 30 minutes.  While the dough is resting, prepare your filling.  I chose to make a ricotta and basil pesto filling for mine, but there are many good simple combos to try: sausage and veggies, spinach and ricotta, even sweet potato or butternut squash is divine!  My filling was an imaginary recipe, but generally contained:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg (oh, the irony…)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt to taste and lots of fresh ground black pepper

Cheese + pesto = yummo!

The next part of the original recipe describes rolling out the dough with a pasta machine.  Uh…yeah, I don’t have one of those.  Rolling out pasta by hand involves more patience, but works just as well.  Roll out the dough using a rolling pin, allowing the dough to rest for a few seconds at a time between rolls (this has something to do with elasticity that I clearly do not understand).  Try to achieve a rectangle that is about 1/16 inch thick.

Filling the pasta is the most fun, and you can let your creativity shine here (although I clearly did not).  The finished ravioli can be square, round (use a juice glass or biscuit cutter), or edged (use a fancy pastry-cutting wheel), big or small…the possibilities are endless!  The general rule is to put down generous blobs of filling every couple of inches on half of one sheet of pasta, such that you can fold the other half of the sheet over top:

Ready to go!

To close the pasta, use a pastry brush (yeah…I don’t have one of those, either.  So I just used my fingers…) to brush the edges of each soon-to-be ravioli with water or an egg-wash (a little egg and milk whisked together).  Then, fold the pasta over and press down around each blob of filling.  The final step is to cut out each ravioli; here I just cut down and across to make square pastas.  Crimp the edges of each ravioli with a fork…and tah-dah!

(tah-dah)

At this point in the process, if you have not already opened a bottle wine for dinner, you had better get popping.  Boil up a generous pot of water with a dash of salt and olive oil.  Carefully drop each ravioli into the cooking water, and cook for just a few minutes (fresh pasta cooks way faster than dried).  For ravioli, I’ve always believed that they’re done with they float to the top.  So keep an eye out for floaters!

Ok.  It’s finally time to eat your evil egg yolk creation.  Cheese-filled ravioli go well with tomato-based sauces, so I whipped up a batch of simple marinara.  Dig in!

Triumph over evil!

There is an important lesson to be learned from my eggs-treme adventure into cooking:  food and eating is an inventive process; you should not despair when confronted with leftover egg parts (just like Luke in the swamp!).  You certainly don’t have to feed them to your dog, if you are up for the challenge.  And, it’s also ok if you just want to make a gallon of chocolate pudding.

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One Response to “Eggs-treme Cooking Part II: Homemade Ravioli”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I have a lot of questions for you, also some excuses, and also I made mayonnaise « The People v. Picket Fence - May 26, 2011

    […] week, Emma had a great suggestion for using excess egg yolks in homemade ravioli.  If this option had been available to me at the beginning of March, my life might be different […]

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