Now before you discount this recipe as something you won’t make (because homemade pasta is required), let me stop you right there. Making homemade pasta is not something I do often, but it’s really not any harder than other recipes you make from dough (think pizza, biscuits, tortillas, breads). I simply put two ingredients in my food processor and let it do the work for me. Then I crank it through our pasta machine that I’ve owned for 15 years (still going strong!). This process takes me less than 30 minutes, not counting the “let the dough sit for 20 minutes” part.
Plus, not only is making homemade pasta a really fun kitchen project (for both me and my daughters!), but the outcome TASTES REALLY GOOD (like really, really good). Homemade ravioli is one of my most favorite dishes of all time, and there’s just no way to make it at home if you don’t make the dough. Now you’ll see that the sweet potato ravioli in my picture isn’t perfectly square or straight, and that’s because my daughters pretty much made these by themselves (see pics below)!
They’ve of course helped me make pasta many times before, but once you get the hang of it, it’s seriously easy enough for a child to do. All I did was give them each a ball of dough and the filling (both which I made) along with a little ravioli making tool, and in the end, they were both pretty darn proud of themselves (and I was too). :)
Now this is not meant to be a quick weeknight meal by any means. This is usually a Sunday dinner type of thing, and no matter how much I try to talk you into making ravioli, I just cannot lie about the mess. It does make a big mess. So just keep in mind this is the type of dinner you make just before you plan to sweep/mop the floor—not the day after! Enjoy!
Homemade Whole-Wheat Sweet Potato Ravioli
- To prepare the filling, roast the potato by piercing it with a fork in a few places, placing it on a small baking sheet, and baking it in a 400° F oven for 45 to 60 minutes (until it's tender when pierced with a fork). Alternatively, if you are short on time, you could peel and dice the potato and boil it to make mashed sweet potatoes (don't forget to drain the water). Either way, you either discard the peel or use it for another dish (although I am not sure what, LOL). Mix the mashed sweet potato filling with 2 teaspoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with a dough blade, combine the flour and eggs. Turn on the machine and run until the dough turns into a ball chasing itself around the bowl (should only take a couple minutes to come together). If the dough is too dry (i.e. falling apart), add water a teaspoon at a time until it comes together. If the dough is too sticky (i.e. sticking to the sides), add a teaspoon of flour until it comes together without sticking to your hands.
- Wrap the dough ball along with a little pat of flour on the top and bottom in a piece of plastic wrap and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. I like to skip steps in recipes when it's not necessary, but as I've learned from experience, the sitting of the dough is necessary in this recipe!
- Set up your pasta maker and divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces. Start cranking the first piece through the machine on the thickness setting (keep the other pieces wrapped in the plastic wrap so they don't dry out). Fold the dough over and keep running it through the first setting until it looks like a nice big rectangle (or so). If the dough is sticking to the counter or your hands, pat both sides with a little flour. If it's crumbling, add just a touch of water. Keep running the piece through the machine as you gradually decrease the thickness setting. I usually give it a little pat of flour on both sides each time I change the setting. I don't run ravioli dough all the way through the thinnest setting. I stop at the second to last setting so it doesn't break too easily once the filling is added.
- Once the dough has been thinned out enough, lay it flat on a lightly floured counter (don't forget the flour here or you'll be sorry!). Cut it in half and add little dollops of filling across one of the two pasta sheets. Dip your finger in a little bowl of water and trace a square around each spot with filling. Carefully lay the other sheet of pasta over top and gently push it down with your (dry) fingers around the filling. Use a handheld ravioli wheel (and a table knife to help if necessary) to cut and seal each piece. We own this ravioli wheel, which works fine but doesn't always do the best cutting job, hence the need for a knife. This one looks like a better choice (minus the sharp blade for kids), but I have not tried it personally. Place on a floured plate and divide layers with plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can make half moon raviolis with little handheld dough presses. That's fun to do too!
- To cook the ravioli, boil in water for approximately 4 minutes (fresh pasta doesn't take as long as the packaged stuff)!
- To make the sauce, cut the fresh sage leaves into little strips and then melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the sage leaves. This part doesn't take long, so don't walk away! Stir the sage leaves in the butter until it begins to brown, about a minute or so. As soon as the butter browns and the leaves are crispy, take it off the heat, pour it over the ravioli, garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired, and serve. Yum!