Tony's birthday as Sunday, but we celebrated on Saturday as I abandoned him again to travel through Nova Scoatia's small towns.
In my family, the birthday boy or girl always gets the birthday dinner of their choice- eating in or out, whatever they want. Interestingly, the favourite dinners are usually less expensive than you might think. In this case, Tony asked for cheese ravioli, an old favourite of his that I hadn't made in ages. The plastic twist handle of the vise that holds the pasta press to the counter had broken, so I just hadn't made any pasta for ages. And yet, it's not such a big deal to use my fingers instead.
My pasta recipe is pretty basic- sturdy enough to hold fillings, and easy to work with. I use a simple ratio system per one serving: 1 C all purpose flour, 1 pinch of salt, 1 egg, and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. I increase it as necessary.
Make a well in the flour, spinkle the salt, add the oil and egg. Mix the egg with your fingers or fork, gradually adding in the flour. Knead into a smooth elastic dough. Fold and press your pasta into sheets.
My cheese filling is just smooth ricotta mixed with a healthy does of ground nutmeg to freckle it nicely.
I don't actually make ravioli- I make agnoletti: half moons of filled pasta. That way, I just lay out my spoons of filling on the top half of one sheet, and fold the bottom half up. I use a biscuit cutter to cut them out. These are perfect bite sizes.
For a quick marinara sauce, I use canned tomatoes, mashed with a fork. Add herbs of your choice and stew on a low heat. This freezes well too.
I usually make my ravioli-agnoletti in batches and freeze them for future use. I lay them out on a floured baking sheet and freeze them. Then I transfer them to a freezer bag for longer term storage. They cook in minutes from frozen, as opposed to seconds fresh.
And there you have Tony's favourite meal.