January 26, 2016, posted by Gina – Attached is my family’s secret ravioli recipe as given to me by my grandmother, Eanes LoBianco (we always called her by her first name) and great aunt, Rose Novarese. You may wonder how much of a “secret” it is if I’m sharing with you. I can tell you that the real recipe, or the recipe as either my grandmother or great aunt would have made it, actually remains a secret. Both of them always
purposely omitted forgot to include an ingredient or two and so this is the closest version of the original. For all we know they were bound by some Italian pasta omerta and if so, rest assured they never cracked. I can’t remember the year they decided to trap me in Aunt Rose’s dining room and confuse entrust me with this recipe me but it seems like yesterday. I wrote down every word they said as best I could as they loudly argued over the details excitedly shared the recipe while both talking at the same time.
Below is the recipe they originally dictated to me on which a few additional ingredients or directions were written in later.
I will admit that the dough was hard to get just right and I eventually acquiesced to an “actual” dough recipe (with measurements and all…imagine that) from my trusty Good Housekeeping Cookbook. I really think the most important thing is how you “work” the dough, as Aunt Rose told me. The filling recipe has always been as I remembered Eanes making it. I think I had the advantage of
staying out of her way helping her in her kitchen as she made this. I have always enjoyed making these mostly because it reminds me of the old Italian ladies in our family. The arguments about whether the dough was thin enough still fill my mind as I roll my dough out and the taste reminds me of Eanes.
Word to the wise…this recipe was made by an army of Italian women who would spend the day preparing a million dozen ravioli. If you attempt this, and I think you should one day, make a whole lot less of everything. You will need a pasta maker in order to get the dough thin enough. As Aunt Rose would say, “you want it paper thin”. You’ll also need a ravioli cutter and a melon baller.
If you intend to make 10 dozen or more of these, this is a four day process (this recipe makes about 10 dozen):
Day 1. make the gravy (That’s what we call meat sauce. if you care to wade into the Sauce vs. Gravy debate click HERE)
Day 2. cook the meat
Day 3. cook the vegetables, prepare the meat and the filling
Day 4. putting ravioli together
The Dough Recipe
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal (used later for the drying process)
Combine all ingredients and knead the dough until it is smooth. Break a small piece off at a time and roll out smoothly with a rolling pin. Now you may proceed to the pasta machine. I keep the unused dough covered with a damp kitchen towel.
The Filling Recipe
Vegetables for the filling
4 – 16 oz. packages frozen spinach – let thaw on counter
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped basil
½ cup chopped oregano
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
Sauté spinach, one bag at a time in olive oil until tender. Sauté herbs, garlic and onions in a tablespoon olive oil. Set all aside.
Meat for the filling
1 – 4 – 5 pound roast
2 – pork tenderloins or 1 pork loin
1 whole chicken
Lemon pepper seasoning
1- 16 oz container of grated parmesan
Place all three meats in one roaster and season with salt and pepper. I use a bit of lemon pepper seasoning on the chicken and place a lemon inside the cavity. Roast on 325 for 2 ½ hours. Let cool.
Once meat is cool grind it in a food processor and place it in a big bowl. Combine with the sautéed vegetables. Add 8 eggs and one 16 oz. container parmesan cheese. Mix until thoroughly combined.
MAKING THE DOUGH WITH THE PASTA MACHINE
First, cover a table with a lint free cloth and sprinkle with cornmeal.
For the dough – Begin on the largest notch to roll out a strip of dough. Put same dough back through machine on a middle notch and then put it through for a third time on the smallest notch. The dough will be very thin and I am told that is exactly as it is supposed to be.
You will end up with a long piece of dough. Place several scoops of filling about every two inches -use the small side of a melon baller to scoop the filling to ensure ravioli are the same size (this was decided after much
yelling and screaming discussion about me making them too big or too small or whatever!) Fold dough over and cut with a ravioli cutter. Press dough around filling making sure no air or bubbles are visible. Place ravioli on the table and sprinkle a bit of corn meal on top of each ravioli.
Let the ravioli dry; this takes a few hours. They will no longer be sticky to the touch. If you want to store them and cook them later, put them in freezer bags and separate them with wax paper. To cook (either from fresh or frozen), bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn heat down a little and very slowly boil ravioli for about 20 minutes or until dough is tender.