Start with AP flour, a lot of eggs, milk, olive oil and salt
Chef Klinger uses King Arthur Special Flour, which is only available wholesale. But home cooks: fear not. For many years, she used all-purpose flour in her restaurant and recommends you do the same.
For four servings, use about 1 1/4 cups flour, 5 yolks and 1 whole egg, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a large pinch of Kosher salt. (If you can get your hands on a duck egg, replacing one of the chicken yolks with a duck yolk will help add elasticity to the dough.)
In a wide shallow bowl, or directly on a flat work surface, create a well in the middle of the flour. Add the other ingredients into the well.
Nothing beats mixing by hand
It might be easier and faster to prepare the dough with a mixer, but in Al Di La’s kitchen, it's all done by hand. “It’s very difficult to gauge the consistency and moisture without working the dough in your hands.”
Klinger has a way of using her fingers both as a whisk and a dough hook, mixing up the eggs and then gradually incorporating the other ingredients.
Incorporate the flour until you have a solid mass that doesn’t stick to your fingers
If there are dry clumpy bits that form in the flour, do not try to incorporate them into the dough—they’ll just make the dough lumpy. When the dough begins to form a solid, malleable, and not terribly sticky mass, it’s time to knead.
Knead until smooth and somewhat elastic
This shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes for filled pasta. Klinger kneads the dough a bit longer for unfilled pasta, like her tagliatelle.
As you knead, incorporate additional flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
Rest the dough
When the dough feels smooth, consistent, and firm (but not hard), it’s ready for a rest. Wrap it snuggly in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for about a half hour.
You can also refrigerate it if you're not using it for several hours, but definitely finish the preparation within the same day.
Roll out the dough once and watch what it does
Dust your work surface and/or pasta roller enough to prevent sticking but do not incorporate the flour into the dough. Roll the pasta dough out slightly with a rolling pin and watch what it does. If it starts to shrink, the gluten has not relaxed enough—cover the dough and rest it a little longer.
Fold the dough over and feed it through the widest setting. Then fold it and feed it in again at the same setting, with the folded edge going into the roller lengthwise.
The dough should be smooth and rectangular and have the same thickness throughout.
Gradually roll the dough out thinner and thinner
Then, one level at a time, begin to roll the dough out down until it is quite thin. (On my Marcato pasta roller at home, this was about level 5 or 6.) To ensure the dough has been rolled out evenly, roll it through the last level twice.
The dough will be so long at this point, it’s easier to work with it if you cut it in half. Keep any portion that you're not working with immediately covered with plastic wrap or a towel.
If the air is very dry, brush a thin coating of egg wash onto the exposed side of the rolled out pasta.
Place a tablespoon of filling (see the accompanying recipe for Al Di La’s beet and ricotta filling) onto the upper portion of the dough. Leave enough room below each dollop so that you can fold the dough over the filling. Also leave enough space in between dollops to cut out the ravioli shapes.
Sealing and Cutting
If you have already applied an egg wash to the dough, you have all the sealant you need. If not, brush some egg wash onto the pasta around the filling.
Fold the dough over the filling, gently pressing it against the filling. Using a cookie cutter or the top of a cup, cut out the ravioli, making sure to preserve the folded edge. Double check that the seal is tight and squeeze out any air bubbles—if the ravioli leak as they cook, you’ll have an unappetizing mess on your hands.
From here, you can cook them or freeze them for another time.
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add salt, and carefully lower the ravioli in, one by one. They should have plenty of room to float around. After about 4 to 5 minutes, they should be done. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place directly on the serving dish.
As Klinger says, “you want to showcase the filling,” so keep the sauce simple. Some melted butter and parmesan is often all that is needed.