1. Before you begin, have your ravioli filling already prepared and your dough kneaded and ready to cut. Start by rolling out your pasta dough into at least two very thin sheets; cut them to a manageable length, if necessary.
2. Lay a pasta sheet onto a lightly floured work surface. One sheet will be the bottom half of the ravioli, and another sheet will be the top. Cover the dough that you're not using right away with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out.
3. For our filling, we used leftover mashed potatoes mixed with two different kinds of cheese. Depending on the consistency of the filling, you can use a small ice cream scoop to create perfectly consistent balls; a spoon will also suffice.
- For small ravioli, use smaller portions of filling and drop the filling close together.
- For larger ravioli, use more filling and place the filling a good distance apart.
The filling should be spaced far enough apart so that each dumpling has a clear border; you'll need extra dough on top to ensure a proper seal.
4. For an egg-based pasta, use an egg wash to seal the two sheets of pasta together. For eggless pastas, use water or milk. Use a pastry brush to work around the filling and thinly coat the entire surface of the pasta sheet.
5. Gently lay the top sheet of pasta over the layer covered with filling. Make sure that the two sheets match up evenly.
6. Work out any air bubbles by gently but firmly pushing the air from the edge of the filling to the edge of the pasta with your fingers. Continue pushing the air out until there is no more air trapped in the ravioli. (Trapped air will expand during cooking and can cause the ravioli to burst.)
7. To create beautiful ravioli, the filling should be shaped into a uniform size. A small cookie cutter or shot glass is a good way to shape the dumplings. Place the dull side of the cookie cutter around the filling, and press down lightly. Don't cut through the pasta dough--you're just shaping the ravioli.
8. Some people make circles, other cooks prefer squares: the choice of shape is up to you! A sharp kitchen knife, ravioli cutter, or pastry wheel can be used.
9. Use a cookie cutter to make more complex shapes. For holiday ravioli, try trees, hearts, or stars. We used a circular cookie cutter to make circles and a knife to make squares. To make indentations around the edges, press a fork down firmly to crimp.
10. Fresh pasta will cook in minutes, so refrigerate your ravioli, wrapped in plastic, until you're ready to cook them. Top filled pasta with a fancy sauce, browned butter and herbs, or simply drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
11. More sauce ideas:
12. Ravioli filling recipes: