Mom has always made homemade pasta for the ravioli, protesting that store bought dough was always too thick, too hard and there was never enough ricotta stuffing, much to the dismay of my brother who prefered that variety. However, since the dough was thinner and the stuffing thicker, mom's raviolis usually broke in the boiling water and the ravioli were cooked in a ricotta, cheese, fennel-infused water. Nevertheless, once you added that sausage and sparerib gravy, the taste didn't compare to anything you could buy even on Arthur Ave., especially if you got the occasional intact ravioli! Add some antipasto, the meat from the gravy and a vinegary salad and Palm Sunday dinner is a memory and tradition that I continue to try to duplicate every year.
And so my husband and I are on our trek today to purchase the ricotta, mozzarella and (sorry mom) pasta sheets from Arthur Ave. We will use a form to make the ravioli instead of the machine that flattens the dough and a fork to seal them but we will still celebrate next week's occasion in traditional style, sort of.
RavioliFor the filling:
2 3lb containers of whole milk ricotta
Grated parmiggiano cheese
2 tsps imported fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
Chopped spinach (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to stuff the ravioli. Press the pasta sheet into the form and place a teaspoonful into each ravioli section. Top with another pasta sheet and top of form to cut each ravioli. Press around the ravioli to seal.