Cheesy Ravioli in Tomato Sauce | Ravioli alla Caprese Recipe
This ravioli recipe hails from Capri. If you love the flavors of a Caprese salad, then you’re sure to appreciate this pasta which is stuffed with mozzarella and served in a cherry tomato and basil sauce.
How to Roll Ravioli Dough
Usually we recommend skipping pasta machines when making fresh pasta. Ravioli is an exception, as it’s very helpful to have sheets of dough with consistent thicknesses. Plus, a pasta machine naturally makes long sheets that are perfect for the purpose. With this kind of pasta dough, we find that a thickness of 1.5mm (#6 setting on a standard Marcato Atlas machine) works very well.
You definitely don’t need a machine, though. You can roll the dough out with a rolling pin until very thin, then cut into large strips (about 4-5 inches or 10-12.5cm wide).
Whether you use a machine or not, don’t worry too much about the length of your strips. After cutting the ravioli, you will gather up the scraps and repeat until all of the pasta is made so it doesn’t matter if you make three, four or five dumplings with any particular sheet.
How to Cut Ravioli
There are quite a few options for cutting the ravioli. You can use a stamp or press, a ravioli cutter, or even just a knife. You can also use a round stamp. Some cutters and stamps are designed to crimp the edges shut. Even if you have this kind of cutter, always pinch the edges firmly shut so that the stuffing doesn’t leak out.
If your dough gets a little too dry, the edges won’t seal properly. You can easily address this problem by brushing the edges of the pasta around the stuffing with a wet finger.
How to Cook Fresh Ravioli
Because this is a fresh pasta, it cooks very quickly. Carefully drop the ravioli, one at a time, into a large pot of boiling water that has been generously salted. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer into the sauce.
It’s important not to overcrowd the water pot or the pan where you will mix the pasta with the sauce. Either use large pots and pans that can accommodate up to 15 ravioli, or cook the pasta in batches.
How to Save & Store Ravioli for Later
Making fresh pasta is really fun, but it also involves some time and patience which is why you’ll likely find yourself wanting to make a big batch all at once to eat over time. It’s easy to save fresh ravioli for later. After making the dumplings, arrange them on a baking sheet or platter dusted with flour. Make sure the ravioli aren’t touching each other or they’ll stick together. Freeze them until solid, at which point you can transfer the pasta into a freezer bag.
Cook frozen ravioli directly from the freezer, don’t thaw them in advance. They’ll take slightly longer, maybe 30-60 seconds more than normal.
A Note on the Cheeses
Wet stuffings are the enemies of ravioli, as the liquid inside can make the dough fall apart. Prior to making ravioli, we recommend draining the mozzarella overnight in the fridge. Simply chop it and place it in a fine mesh strainer suspended over a bowl in a refrigerator for one day.
Traditionally, Ravioli alla Caprese are made with mozzarella and “caciotta” cheese. The latter can be quite hard to find outside of Italy. If you can’t get it, try using smoked scamorza or asiago cheese instead.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make Ravioli alla Caprese here:
RAVIOLI ALLA CAPRESE RECIPE
Makes: 12-15 ravioli
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours
For this recipe, you will need:
1 2/3 cups (200g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
100ml warm water
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 oz. (140g) mozzarella cheese, finely chopped or shredded by hand
2.75 oz. (80g) grated caciotta cheese, see above
1.5 oz. (45g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for topping
2 egg yolks
Fresh black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled
30-40 cherry tomatoes, halved
Pasta machine (optional, see above)
Ravioli cutter or stamp (optional, see above)
On a large work surface, pour the flour into a pile and use your fingers to hollow out the center so that it resembles a volcano. Pour the water and 1 tbsp. of olive oil into the hollow. Using a fork, begin whisking the water and gradually incorporate the surrounding flour. When the mixture has thickened into a paste, you can begin folding in more of the flour and kneading by hand.
As you knead the dough, gradually continue to incorporate the remaining flour. The pasta dough should be fairly firm and springy, but soft enough to knead smooth. It definitely shouldn’t be sticky. If it does become sticky, simply dust it with more flour as needed.
Knead the pasta dough until it is smooth and even. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
While the pasta dough rest, mix together the cheeses and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Season with a generous pinch of marjoram, salt and pepper.
After the dough has rested, it’s time to roll it out using the pasta machine. It's best to do so in batches. Cut the dough in half and keep the unused portion wrapped in plastic.
Flatten the dough beneath your palm into a small pancake and lightly dust both sides with flour. Set your pasta machine rollers to the widest setting (#0 on a standard Marcato Atlas machine). Press one edge of the dough between the rollers while cranking the handle so that the pasta is pulled inward. Press the whole piece through and pull the resulting sheet of dough out from the bottom.
Adjust the rollers one setting narrower (from #0 to #1, for instance) and press the sheet through again. Repeat until you have rolled the pasta through the #6 setting (1.5mm). If your pasta, at any time, sticks to the machine you can lightly dust and rub it with flour. Cut the finished dough sheet in half so that you have two equal pieces of the same length.
Place heaping teaspoons of ricotta stuffing down the middle of one sheet, keeping about 2 inches (5cm) of space in between. Drape the second sheet on top and carefully press it down around the stuffing to push excess air out. Use a ravioli cutter or knife to cut the pasta into squares (or circles with a round cutter), with about a 1/2 inch (1.25cm) border around the stuffing. Press the edges firmly shut with your fingers so that they are completely sealed. Place the finished ravioli on a surface dusted with flour. Gather the dough scraps and repeat the rolling and shaping process until you’ve used up all of the pasta and/or stuffing, including the unused dough you set aside initially.
Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it generously. While the water comes up to temp, heat 3 tbsp. of olive oil and the peeled garlic clove in a large pan. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook the tomatoes until they are tender, then mash them with a fork. Add a few fresh basil leaves, salt the sauce again to taste if necessary, and turn down the heat to low.
Carefully drop the ravioli one at a time into the boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then transfer into the tomato sauce pan with a slotted spoon.
Turn up the sauce heat to medium and gently toss the ravioli until they are completely coated. Serve immediately, topped with extra sauce from the pan and grated Parmigiano cheese on top.
If you enjoyed this cherry tomato sauce, be sure to try the Campanian classic: Pasta allo Scarpariello!