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Freezer ravioli from scratch

Making pasta is easier than you think. Back in grad school, we used to have ravioli parties where everyone would bring a filling and we'd sit around a big table folding little pockets of deliciousness. Alas we are now in different times, but ravioli is also a great family (or solo) activity when you're wondering if you really want to eat ramen for the 46th time in a row during your social distancing. I can answer that - no you do not.

I never saw a reason to write this recipe down because it's so simple, but here it is for all of you wondering how ravioli are made. Let your imagination go wild with potential fillings; I've included two easy ones but the possibilities are endless!

Dough - makes enough for ~3 dozen ravioli (depends on how thick you roll it out)

4 eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2.5 cups flour*

1. In a bowl, place 1.5 cups of your flour and all of your salt and make a wide, shallow hole in the middle with your fingers.

2. Crack your eggs and pour your oil into this crater and begin beating the eggs with a fork, slowly incorporating the surrounding flour.

3. Eventually you will need to use your hands to knead the dough instead. If it is too sticky, incorporate more of your remaining 1 cup of flour until the dough is soft, firm, and does not stick to the bowl.

4. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 mins, or up for 24 hrs.

Butternut squash filling

1 roasted butternut squash (cut in half, de-seed, oil, and bake until fork-tender at 375°F)

1 small onion, sautéed

0.5 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (preferably freshly grated)

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Spinach feta filling

2 cups spinach, cooked (can use frozen or fresh, just drain as much water as you can first)

0.5 cup feta, crumbled

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: add cooked sausage

Forming the ravioli

1. Take the dough out of the fridge and flour your clean workspace and hands generously. Divide the dough into four pieces and cover the remaining pieces while you work with the first one so they don't dry out.

2. Using a pasta roller, slowly roll out your dough to the setting 5 thinness - you should be able to see the light through the dough, but there should not be holes. If you don't have a pasta roller, no problem! Use a rolling pin (or a clean wine bottle) and some elbow grease. Make sure your workspace is heavily floured so that when it gets super thin, it doesn't stick.

*Pro tip: laminating the dough during the first few rolls helps with the integrity and strength - while it's still on the first setting, fold the dough into thirds and pass it through a few times until you get a smooth result that doesn't have holes or doesn't catch on the roller ends. Same advice for hand-rolling.

3. Now you're ready to fill! Take your pasta pieces and place tablespoon-sized dollops of filling about 1 inch apart.

4. Get a small bowl of water and use your finger to wet the pasta in between all of the filling.

5. You can either fold the pasta piece over the filling or use a second piece to cover it. After covering your filling with another pasta piece, lightly seal the filling in by pressing your fingers around it, making sure to get rid of any air pockets - these will explode during the cooking process and destroy your ravioli!

6. Use a knife, pizza cutter, or fancy pasty cutter to cut out your ravioli. I would stay at least 1 cm away from the filling when cutting so that they don't explode during cooking. Take the excess dough and reincorporate into the remaining dough that you're going to roll out.

7. Repeat with remaining dough!

8. FOR FREEZING: Place completed ravioli on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper so that they are not touching. You may have to do multiple layers. Freeze this baking sheet for a few hours, and then transfer the frozen ravioli to a bag. Voila, they don't stick together!

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