Friday, August 30, 2013

Homemade Sauce and Pasta

My tomatoes have not produced much this year; whereas, last year was 'mater palooza. My neighbor was kind enough to let me pick her garden since she doesn't can. In exchange I send her over some of the stuff I can. It is a win-win for both of us. 

 I had to do freezer sauce because I was out of jars. It was definitely much more easy to ladle sauce into ziploc bags, lay flat and freeze. I have been able to put  up 15 quarts of tomato sauce (and 7 pints of sloppy joe sauce). The sauce is a tad thinner than I typically like but I didn't have very many Roma or paste tomatoes but is it ever flavorful from all the varieties of tomatoes (Roma's, Purple Cherokee, Black Krim, Brandywine, Rutgers, and Golden Jubilee). Had I been thinking properly, I should have separated  my batch into juice and sauce.  Oh well. I don't like to simmer my sauce more than 2 hours because it turns bitter tasting (to me anyway). As it was cooking away it smelled so delicious, all I could think of  is I REALLY wanted some homemade pasta to go with the sauce.  So as a last hurrah before the kitchen is tore out this week, I decided to go all in and make homemade 4 cheese ravioli.

This is the first time I have ever made from scratch pasta. After reading what seemed like 1000 recipes on how to make pasta, it was a challenge to decide because pasta can be made with a variety of flours, eggs or egg yolks, oil or not and water or not., I decided to go with Durum flour for a sturdier pasta. Durum pasta dough is harder to work (coarser grain) but it will hold up well to handling and filling.
1 of my eggs rolled off the counter as I took this picture, haha
Basic Pasta Recipe
2 cups of semolina durum flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons EVOO
4 medium eggs
sprinkle water as needed (you do not want a wet dough just enough moisture  to form a a dough ball)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough will slightly tacky but not sticky. As you knead you will begin to feel the change in texture and see the difference in appearance. The dough will become more elastic, have a softer feel and look slightly slick. After kneading is complete wrap in plastic wrap that has been very lightly oiled with EVOO. Let rest for 30 minutes.

I pulled my ziploc bag of sauce from the freezer and had it defrost while I made the filling.

Cheese Filling**
30 ounces of Ricotta
8 ounces of cream cheese
6 ounces of parmesan
8 ounces of italian cheese blend
2 eggs
1-2 teaspoon(s) of italian seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
pinch of kosher salt

Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). 
**This makes more than what is needed for this recipe. I portion the extra  amount in 1/2 cup portions into freezer bags, label and freeze (up to 3 months) for other recipes.

I tossed my sauce on to simmer while I began  to roll out the  ravioli's.

I don't have a pasta maker so I went old school with a rolling pin.  Pull off 1/3 of the dough and rolled on a lightly floured surface. The remainder of the dough was re-wrapped and returned to the fridge. I rolled the dough as thin as I could get it without tearing.

I used my biscuit cutter for my ravioli rounds

I added a small dollop (teaspoon) of filling to the center of the dough

Crimp and seal the pasta. It is a little "rustic" looking but that's okay as long as it tastes good!

The ravioli were dropped into salted boiling water and cooked for about 2 minutes. The ravioli's float to the top of the water when they are ready. I removed them using a slotted spoon (to drain the water).

A ladle of sauce, some cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and  it was paired with a crisp cold salad. All that was missing was a glass of wine.

"Mangia bene, vivi felice"
Eat well, live happy


  1. What a great way for both you and your neighbor to end up with sauce!
    I've always wanted to try to make homemade pasta. It all seems pretty easy, but yet, I've still not made the attempt. This winter, definitely!!
    Have a great weekend, Tonya

    1. Hi Sue! I am so lucky my neighbor shared with me her garden bounty. It beats it going to waste any day! I think next time I make my pasta I will do a blend of the semolina with regular flour to lighten the texture a bit and I won't have to knead for q0 minutes, haha

      The food was scrumptious. If my taste buds could sing, they would gave been singing Halleluiah! lol

      have a great weekend!

  2. Beautiful! This season I had a tomato palooza, last year, not so much. You definitely have a win-win with a neighbor who enjoys gardening too.

    I have been putting homemade sauce in Ziploc bags too. I find that I can lay them flat in the freezer....then stack them high and let them fly (smile).

    Great post.



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