I like all kinds of homemade pasta, but ravioli is my absolute favorite.  You can fill it with whatever you please, and top it with any kind of sauce.  There are just so many possibilities!  And once you have the pasta sheets made, the rest is easy as can be.

There are lots of tools you can use to shape ravioli, but you don’t even need a special tool.  You can just cut around the filling with a cookie cutter, paring knife or pastry cutter.  Of all the options I have tried, I like a ravioli stamp (seen here) best.  So, first you want to lay out a sheet of pasta on a lightly floured work surface.  If using a stamp, lightly press indentations with the stamp onto the pasta sheet to act as a guide for spacing the filling.

Place a small amount of filling in each space.  Make sure not to overfill the ravioli – a couple of teaspoons is plenty for each one.

Lay a second sheet of pasta gently over the top of the mounds of filling.

Starting at one end of the pasta, gently stretch the top sheet of pasta over the filling and press firmly around the edges to seal the pasta sheets together, making sure to press out the excess air before sealing.

Cut around each ravioli.  (If desired, you could try to rework the pasta scraps and reuse them.  I find that the dough has dried out slightly by being exposed to the air and anyway, one batch of pasta dough makes about 60+ ravioli without reusing the scraps which is plenty for me.)

Lay the finished ravioli out on another lightly floured surface.  As with regular strands of pasta, these can be stored.  I like to let them dry for about 1 hour before transferring to an airtight container and freezing.

In case you want to make tortellini instead of ravioli, you can do that too.  Start with a circle (or square) of pasta dough.

Add a small amount of filling.

Fold the pasta over in half and press the edges to seal.

Then fold the corners in towards the center so that they overlap and pinch gently to seal.  You made tortellini!

And there you go!  Now you can make all kinds of delicious homemade pastas.  This time I opted for a mushroom and cheese filling and topped the pasta with a spinach cream sauce.  I made them up on the fly but both were excellent.  Thankfully I took notes as I went, and the recipes are included below.  You can certainly use less cheeses in the filling if desired.  I used several just because I happened to have them on hand.  Happy pasta making!

Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli
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Yield: about 60 ravioli (depending on size)
1 batch homemade pasta dough
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
12 oz. baby bella mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp. shredded Asiago cheese
6 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese
¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Roll out pasta dough into thin, barely translucent sheets.  Keep covered with a damp towel until ready to use.

To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and most of the excess liquid has evaporated.  Add the garlic to the pan and sauté just until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine the Asiago, Parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.  Add in the egg, egg yolk and dried herbs and mix well.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the cooked mushrooms.

Shape and fill pasta as desired, using about 2 teaspoons of filling for each ravioli.  Transfer shaped ravioli to a lightly floured surface and let dry slightly, about 30-60 minutes.  Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 3-5 minutes.  Drain well and serve immediately.

Source: Annie original

Spinach Cream Sauce
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Yield: about 2 cups
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
½ cup milk
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour to make a roux.  Add in the smashed garlic.  Cook until the roux is light golden and fragrant, 1-2 minute, whisking constantly.  Whisk in the heavy cream and milk.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to bubble and thickens.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the Parmesan and spinach.  Remove and discard the cloves of garlic.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Annie original