Romancing the Ravioli
by Julia Rodack
While many New Yorkers battled for coveted Valentine’s reservations and scoured the city for last-minute cards (Barnes and Noble was most definitely sold out) and flowers, Mr. Smith and I hid away enjoying what was left of the snow leaving only for early brunch and to buy necessary supplies for our egg-yolk ravioli feast—like champagne.
We made the trek down to the ridiculously cheap East Village Cheese Shop, where if you haven’t yet been I highly encourage you to go, as always the pungent smell of ripe cheese and coffee knocked me back a few steps. The shop has a strictly enforced protocol: cheese can only be ordered by the half pound, it’s cash only and there is NO tasting allowed. I happen to find that last bit particularly obnoxious. We ended up with three fabulously smelly cheeses and then headed up to Eli’s for one of their mind-blowing fresh baguettes and what would end up being the best chocolate chip cookies I ever had.
After popping the champagne we were ready to start the ravioli making process. Having never made pasta from scratch before I was surprised at how easy it was. Two eggs, a cup of pasta flour and a pinch of salt was all it took to get things started. I commandeered kneading the dough and Mr. Smith set off to prep the ricotta filling. We found fresh thyme at Eli’s and combined it with homegrown basil, a red chili pepper, nutmeg, s+p, and parsley which, much to our surprise upon eating, ended up being cilantro.
The dough needed to chill for about 15 minutes which gave us enough time to dive into the cheese plate, an addition to the meal that did not disappoint, enjoy some Frank Sinatra and sip on that bubbly.
After a couple botched attempts, I let Mr. Smith takeover the rolling out of the dough since I had neither the patience nor the gumption to deal with such a sticky mess. Finally, it was time to make the ravioli. We quickly discerned that the 1950s ravioli maker we had was to small to hold the ricotta and the yolk, so, we set off to cutting them by hand. The process itself was laughably tricky and the most important lesson learned was, certainly, you got to love the yolk or you end up with a runny, cheesy, floury mess. Hunger won over work ethic and we ended up with three beautiful egg-yolk ravioli (which are HUGE by the way) and maybe five just ricotta ravs which we through into some boiling salt water for about 4 minutes, drained topped with melted butter and dinner is served.
Dessert was what was left of the red wine, Nonpareils—the better dark chocolate snack—and those chocolate chip cookies I mentioned before.
Despite the initial hangups and Mr. Smith’s insistence that people who have not actually made the recipe should not be allowed to comment on it, I found it really easy and incredibly fun. It’s definitely something I would only do with a partner-in-crime though, an attempt at this single-handedly could easily result in a too-quickly empty bottle of champagne and loss of sanity.