Mezza Luna Cheese Ravioli

ravioli di formaggio mezza luna
mezza luna=crescent or half-moon

Mezza luna cheese ravioli is really simple to make. When all the ravs are a uniform shape and size, it’s simple to gauge portions and makes presentation pretty on the plate. The dough is your basic pasta dough with a creamy, ricotta filling. This is my favorite filling for ravioli – it’s rich, smooth and simply delicious with homemade pasta dough.

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RICOTTA CHEESE FILLING for Mezza Luna Cheese Ravioli
Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes filling for approximately 30 cheese ravs
You’ll probably have some left over.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint whole milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon each – garlic powder, fresh or dried oregano and basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese

Preparation:
Put ricotta in a medium size bowl.
Add all other ingredients and stir until well combined.
Be sure and taste this, especially if you don’t use whole milk ricotta. The whole milk adds a wonderful richness. So adjust to taste if it isn’t really tasty and flavorful.

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BASIC PASTA DOUGH for Mezza Luna Cheese Ravioli
Prep time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Makes 30 ravs – enough to serve 4 people (I figure 6-8 ravs/person)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose, unsifted flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A few drops of water

Preparation:
Time to get your hands dirty! This is the way my grandmother taught me how to make my dough and I find it works the best. 🙂
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On a floured surface or flour bread board, mound your flour and create a ‘well’ in the middle.

Break one whole egg into the ‘well’ you’ve made in your mound of flour.

Add your egg white, oil and salt to the well and fill up/cover the well with flour pushed in from around the edges of the mound.

Gather up the flour and begin to knead, adding drops of water if the dough is too dry. Knead together until dough becomes smooth, shiny and elastic.

Divide dough into 2 or 3 smaller parts.

If you have a pasta machine, begin working each part separately through your machine. Start with the thickest setting and gradually reduce until you’ve reached setting 3 or 4, depending on the desired consistency of your finished ravs. Setting 3 is a bit thinner than setting 4. Be careful tough, too thin and the ravs will break apart during boiling.

If you don’t have a pasta machine to do the kneading for you, take each dough part and roll into thin sheets about 4 inches wide.

Layer your strips of ravioli inside some damp flour sack towels so they don’t dry out.
When you have all your 4 inch wide strips made, take one strip at a time and use a small round cookie cutter or small glass and cut out rounds from the dough strips. If you keep them close together, you won’t have must waste.

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Moisten the rounds with a pastry brush dipped in water.

Place small dollups (approx. 1/2 teaspoonful) on one side of each round and fold the dough over the filling.

Seal the edges with your finger or the tines of a fork.

Set aside on a cookie sheet. At this point you can freeze them for future use or set aside for boiling when all are prepared.

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This is good with just about any kind of sauce you want. I traditionally serve it with my homemade gravy (tomato-based sauce). You can serve it with your favorite homemade sauce, favorite store-brand or any yummy white sauce.

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