2teaspoonsfresh basil finely chopped or 1 tsp dried
Salt and pepper to taste
Homemade Tomato Sauce or sauce as desired
Additional parmesan and/or basil for garnish
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Make the fresh pasta dough and let it rest as directed. Spread additional semolina flour on a baking sheet and set aside to hold the finished ravioli pockets.
Make the filling: In a bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, basil, nutmeg, salt, pepper. Taste test to adjust any levels according to your taste. Set aside or in the fridge if not using right away.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, because this will take a while, I like to start it before or while forming the pasta so it's ready once the ravioli is formed.
Rolling out the dough: Take approximately 1/4 of the fresh dough ball (either cut it into sections or tear off a portion). Using your hands form it into a rectangle shape, just thick enough that it will fit into the largest setting on your pasta machine (use a pasta machine for best results, but a rolling pin will work, too). Roll it out on the largest setting, adjusting and folding into a rectangular shape again as needed. Each time you roll it out, it will expand how it was placed in, so making it a uniform rectangle as much as possible will help you later on.
Once you've gone through the largest setting and have a solid 'rectangle type base', thread the dough through each smaller setting, one by one until you've reached your desired thickness. I like to go with the second to last thinnest setting, however, if you're really brave you can go as thin as possible. Place the rolled out sheet on the countertop dusted with semolina flour to prevent sticking.
On one half of the rolled-out dough section, place approximately 1 to 1.5 tsp dollops of the filling spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. You want to place it on one half because we will be folding the dough up to create the ravioli pockets. I find that a small cookie scoop to place the filling gives the perfect equal amount for each pocket.
With the filling spaced on the entire length of your pasta sheet, fold over the other half of the dough on top of the filling. You may want to use your finger dipped in water and run it around the pasta edges before folding, to help the dough stick, if it seems a little dry.
Gently press around each filling to create the beginning of each pocket. Use a pizza cutter or pasta wheel to cut between each pocket. Press the edges down as needed, or use a fork to make sure they are fully pressed together). Place the pockets on your prepared baking sheet and continue forming ravioli with the remaining pasta sheets.
Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the ravioli pockets in batches. Be sure to not overcrowd the pan. The ravioli pockets will take approximately 2-4 minutes to cook to al dente, depending on the size of the ravioli. You'll know they're ready when they float. That being said, if you're going to finish them in the sauce for longer than a minute or so, you may want to remove them slightly early and let them finish completely in the sauce. Either way, remove them from the pasta water and place them directly into your sauce. Continue to cook all ravioli.
Serve immediately and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and basil as desired. Enjoy your creation!
This recipe makes approximately 48, 1 1/2 inch ravioli pieces.
Ricotta: if your ricotta has any excess liquid, drain it off or make sure it's thoroughly mixed in so that it doesn't make the filling too watery.
To freeze ravioli: lay out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer until completely frozen, then transfer the ravioli to a freezer bag. When ready to use, boil as directed above for about 2-3 minutes longer.
10/2020 Update: Suggested a range for the lemon zest per reader feedback; add 1/4 tsp and taste test, adding more as desired. It adds a nice brightness to the pasta, but you can omit if you so choose, too.