The culmination of a week of preparation has finally ended, and ended well. Last weekend at our Sunday supper, Lia announced that she wanted to make ravioli at our house on Sunday.
I heard her say bacon ravioli but I was apparently the only one to hear her say that. I got out the Pasta maker on Monday morning and made sure it worked. Thea spent Monday night looking up pasta recipes and Tuesday and Wednesday nights making test batches. The first batch was 1:1 semolina and flour. It was too 'dumpling' for my taste. We switched to 3:1 and it was much better. I made the filling for Wednesday's test batch from a chicken thigh, ricotta and some buffalo sauce. It wasn't bad by my standards but there's something about buffalo sauce that Thea just doesn't like. Thursday, we confirmed with Lia that indeed bacon was the flavor she wanted so Thea cooked up a half pound of bacon on Thursday night. Friday was a wash. Saturday, we went to International Panties and bought another ravioli mold and a few other things. That gave us two molds each of a different shape so we could make bacon pasta for the carnes and sun-dried tomato ravioli for the veggies. The original plan was for Lia, Thea and Anne to get together and make all the pasta. I was going to do dessert. All good plans…
Sunday morning: Thea sends me to the store for supplies while she cleans house. Nothing fancy; ricotta, pesto, salad fixings, and dessert. I whiffed on the dessert and bought a giant marked-down Mardi-Gras chocolate-chip cookie. I bought some things to make lunch. At International Panties, we found some clam-like ravioli or won-ton presses. They are like those joke clacking dentures, only they serve a useful purpose. I bought one big enough to make a lunch. I used the Pillsbury reduced-fat biscuits some pepperjack cheese and pulled port barbecue to make a sort-of homemade hot pocket. Lia came over at 1:00 while they were cooking. She couldn't resist and had one herself. I overfilled them and there are some other tweaks to make but it's worth exploring.
So Lia and Thea started on the pasta dough and created the sun-dried tomato filling and the bacon-ricotta filling. Then the food processor stops working. I say stops working because I know that the safety latch is broken and it is otherwise fine. I know the safety latch is broken because I opened it up two weeks ago and found that I had repaired it so long ago that I don't remember repairing it. I know that I repaired it because no one else in their right mind would use epoxy and paperclip pieces to re-weld a plastic lever. Aside from meaning that we need a new processor or I need to cut the safety out of the loop, it meant that Thea and Lia had to make all the pasta by hand. That really puts a strain on your timing. By 3:00 it was obvious that I was needed in the kitchen. It was taking a lot more rolling through the rollers since there was a lot less processing. I took the position of laying the pasta on the mold, filling the dimples with the fillings that were made earlier, and rolling and separating each batch into individual ravioli. At one point, Thea was working the dough on the counter and we heard a big crack. She was kneading the dough on a weak point where two boards joined to form the counter and cracked it. The laminate is fine and there's no real damage but we know that it's weaker there now.
By the time Anne arrived we were already a half hour off our 6:00 schedule. She was able to make the salad and help out with all the other things that needed doing with the bread and tapenades. Anna and David arrived on time and pitched in as much as possible. Everything was in high gear, just behind schedule. David and Brenda showed up as we were figuring out how best to get everything in and out of the boiling water as efficiently as possible. During the five minutes that the pasta was in the water, we were able to clean up the counter and set the sauces and serving bowls.
By 6:30 we had two heaping batches of homemade ravioli, red and white sauce, salad, tapenades and bread. Wine was being poured and everything was back to normal. Was it worth it? I think so. And any time that anybody wants to go to that amount of trouble for me, I'll be able to appreciate it for all the work that I know went into it.