A search for meaning

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Our ravioli cutter

We’ve been experimenting with ravioli.

It started with one of those little rollers you use to cut pasta. We found it at a garage sale, and it looked home-made – a charming wooden handle with a hand-cut disk of wood for a blade. It cost all of fifty cents. Fifty cents! A small price to pay for home-made ravioli.

Once we had the roller, though, we needed the pasta attachment to our KitchenAid stand mixer, and that set us back $150.

My very first attempt at ravioli was last winter, in the middle of oyster season. I wondered what would happen if you put a raw oyster (along with some other things) in a ravioli, so I gave it a shot. What happens, it turns out, is that you end up with a cooked oyster in a ravioli, and it’s delicious. I’ve tried a few kinds of ravioli since, and they’ve all been relatively successful.

This past weekend, it was Kevin’s turn.  For our Every Other Friday dinner (on Sunday, but we’re flexible) he tried a recipe for lemon and goat cheese ravioli from Yotam Ottolenghi, who writes for the (UK) Guardian. It took a while for him to get the hang of putting the dough through the pasta maker to make thin, even sheets, but in short order he was making beautiful, regular little raviolis.

At the end, though, there were some raggedy pieces of dough and he was using the pasta roller to make free-form cutouts. One of them came out like a heart.

A symbol for all time. Or until dinner.

“Look, honey,” he said to me, holding out the ravioli.

“Aw, isn’t that nice.” My husband made me a ravioli heart because he loves me.

Then, of course, he had to confess that it was unintended, that he just happened to have a heart-shaped scrap left over.

“That sort of drains it of its meaning,” I said. “It was better before I found out it was an accident.”

“Well,” my husband said philosophically, “At least you didn’t find out it means I really love pasta.”

True.

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Comments

  1. I love your ravioli cutter! Way, way cuter than mine. (Can I say that?)

    How odd that you’re writing of ravioli making, because that is exactly what I was doing yesterday. I guess the thing I like about ravioli is that you can make fillings out of practically anything, and the second thing I like about ravioli is if you’re going to the trouble to make a few, you might as well make a boatload and freeze them. Ravioli are great to have in the freezer when you’re too pooped to make a decision about what to have for dinner, much less actually have to prepare it.

  2. I have really enjoyed the last few entries, but this one made me laugh out loud when I got to the end!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading for a few months now, but haven’t written before.

    I feel I’m being disloyal to my own KitchenAid mixer, but as a lifelong maker of pierogi (the Polish equivalent of ravioli, which I, too, have stuffed with all manner of things), I can safely state that you DON’T need the pasta attachment on your mixer to make good pasta. I started making pierogi as a kid, and didn’t get the mixer until my wedding — in my 30s. I use it for many things, but never for that.

    That said? Cute ravioli cutter, and absolutely worth the 50 cents.

  4. I’ve yet to make anything more than barely edible pasta. Maybe I need a fetish object like the ravioli cutter to invoke the spirits of the wheat, the egg, and the water.

    Or maybe I just need a mixer with a pasta attachment.

  5. Saralee Perel says:

    Fantastico post.

    I’m so glad I’m a subscriber.

  6. We were given a pasta ‘machine’ as a wedding present many years ago – but not something that attaches to a stand mixer; ours clamps to your worktop and is manually operated. Hours of fun were had and then it got shoved to the back of a cupboard and we moved house several times. It’s probably in one of those yet-to-be-unpacked boxes in the basement … or is that a never-to-be-unpacked box? Wonder if I can find it!

  7. Paula — Again, we’re on the same wavelength. Weird. Next time, I’ll make enough to freeze. I love the idea of a ready-made meal in the freezer.

    Tracy — I love readers who are easily amused! You’re welcome here any time.

    Stephanie — You’re a better man than I am. There’s no way I’m doing pasta without my mixer attachment. Pasta dough is so stiff, and the idea of rolling it out by hand would be enough to make me order in Chinese. Now you know the limits of my fortitude.

    Jen — See above — I would never try it without the mixer attachment. It needs to be a stiff dough, and it needs to be rolled thin. Stephanie can do it, so I’m sure you can too — it’s a question of how much effort you want to put into it. The fetish object is just for show.

    SP — Thanks! Very glad to have you.

    Fiona — Time to go excavating! The manual kind is still too much work for me, but if it’s fun for you, and results in ravioli, I’m all for it. Dig it up! Report back!

  8. Stephanie says:

    When the rolling gets to be too much, I call in reinforcements: My husband, the stonemason. He gets it thinner than I do, anyway. :) Or, if we’re doing a “pierogi day” with friends (the best way, really …), I hand off the rolling pin to whoever is at hand.

    Last fall, a friend used my pierogi dough recipe to make pumpkin ravioli. Oyster sounds great, if only the husband were not allergic.